Victory Lutheran Church helps community in many ways A Mighty Spirit

Victory Lutheran Church, 2110 Glenwood Ave., Youngstown, will mark its 65th anniversary at a service at 4 p.m. Oct. 20 with the Rev. Terry Cripe, president of the Missouri Synod, as special guest. A dinner will follow.

The beginning: Victory Lutheran Church was founded in 1948 after two years of exploratory work by four vicars. The congregation met from 1946-47 at McGuffey Theater at McGuffey and Bennington street in Youngstown. From 1947-48, the group gathered at the home of Thomasina Walls on Myron Avenue in the summers and Thornhill Public School on Wardell Avenue. From 1948-51, it met at Peace Lutheran Church, which merged with Victory, on Myron Avenue. From 1951-60, Victory met in Reformed Presbyterian Church at High and Edward streets and bought the building. A city improvement program prompted relocation to 336 Breaden St., where the church was from 1960-2000. In 2000, it bought the property at its current location.

Pastors: Victory has had 11 pastors. The Rev. Robert King officiated at the Walls’ home then became pastor of Peace Lutheran then Victory. He is credited with naming the church from Scripture, 1 John 5:4, “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” The Rev. Hosea J. Ekong came in 1998 for a year vicarage. He then was ordained and installed pastor. He led the church in buying the current building.

Outreach: The church established Victory Lutheran Community Food Bank to serve needy residents in three ZIP codes, 44502, 44507 and 44511. The church also started Operation Learning Community Program Inc. in 2003.

Award: On Sept. 15, 1999, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod World Relief recognized the church with a “Making a World of Difference Award” for the church’s outreach efforts.

Evangelization: Harvesters for Christ ministry team visited twice and conducted evangelism in the neighborhoods around the church. The transient nature of the area undermined efforts to attract new members.

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