Prince of Peace Lutheran Church began in 1961 when the division of American Missions of The American Lutheran Church decided to begin a mission in the Kalamazoo area. The 6.7 acre site, where the church is still situated, was purchased and preliminary building plans were approved in May 1962. The Rev. Rex Heidmann accepted the call in December 1962 to become the first Pastor of the congregation. The first worship service was held March 31, 1963, with 215 people in attendance.
On May 19, 1963, Prince of Peace became a reality when 204 charter members formally organized. The building was dedicated on June 23, 1963.
On June 4, 1967 a long-range plan for property development was approved. Construction of an eight classroom addition began in October. Further property development was undertaken in 1977. Ground was broken on April 3 to add an additional 5,000 square feet to the existing building and to extensively remodel the sanctuary. Due to tremendous growth of the Prince of Peace membership more classroom space was soon needed and another addition was completed in 1986.
In its 25th year, three congregational dreams were realized:
To the glory of God, the new 13 rank Lauck pipe organ was installed in the summer of 1988. No debt was assumed for this endeavor with the entire cost of $38,000 paid through memorial gifts and generous donations from the congregation.
We continued to support a foreign missionary.
A “latch-key” program began in September 1988, under the auspices of the YMCA. It operated on the premises at Prince of Peace.
Beginning January 1, 1988, the American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and the Lutheran Church in America, with shared beliefs and missions, officially formed the ELCA. Thus, Prince of Peace became a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
In March 1994 a space committee was formed to determine facility needs and in December a task force on building was established. In May 1995 a congregational meeting was held and Prince of Peace purchased 12 acres of land and established a building committee for a new sanctuary.
In October 1996 a capital campaign began, “Building our Future: Piece by Peace.” A banquet was held with 390 in attendance. The cost of the new sanctuary was $2.4 million and over $1 million in pledges were received.
Groundbreaking for the new sanctuary took place in October 1997 and construction began in January 1998. The new sanctuary was dedicated on December 6, 1998.
Through the efforts of the congregation and two three-year capital campaigns, the mortgage was paid off in March 2009. A celebration of our future in mission and ministry took place August 30, 2009.
We give thanks that God has given us a place in which we worship Him and do His work. We thank Him that we are able to share our building with twenty-two community groups who have no other meeting place. We pray for God’s grace and guidance that this congregation will always be used to His glory; that we will be an extension of the community of believers in Jesus Christ; and, that we continue to grow in His grace.
Touched by the Gospel, we seek to be instruments of God’s peace, for the sake of the world.