Remembering Our Roots
Millard, Nebraska's Oldest Church
The Union Pacific Railroad began building its main line west from Omaha in 1862. The first 40 miles were completed in 1865 through the village of Millard. As the village grew by offering services and supplies to the rural population, a German Lutheran congregation was founded in 1886 by Wm. Huesemann, pastor of the Missouri Synod church in Papillion (First Lutheran) along with eleven men from the Papillion congregation. The first church building was erected in 1887 which was destroyed by lightning four years later; in 1892 a new sanctuary was completed. The first English worship services were conducted in 1909 but German services were regularly conducted until 1952. As the congregation grew, a new brick structure was erected in 1929. Then the depression came. Both men and women worked to retire the remaining debt from 1940 to 1944; it was retired by using the God’s Acre plan whereby farmers agreed to set aside one acre of crop and give the proceeds to the debt retirement fund. Merchants and patrons living in Millard agreed to contribute a like portion of their earnings.
Growth and Expansion
In 1961, an enlarged and remodeled church sanctuary was dedicated. During the mid 70's the former Millard Bank, adjacent to the church property, was purchased for office and educational purposes. Later, two more pieces of property were acquired. The parking lot was purchased by a church member and donated. Through a special agreement, St. Paul's purchased the Cottner building which housed the Hearts and Hands Preschool. The Cottner Street property was sold in 2014 and Hearts and Hands Preschool is currently closed with a hope to open it again in the near future.
Planning and construction of a new sanctuary began in 1985-86 which would join the old church building and former bank into one St. Paul’s facility. The new structure was dedicated in 1988. In 2000, we remodeled the sanctuary, a balcony was added and the altar enlarged. In 2007, the razing of the old sanctuary and the construction of the Family Life Center and Education Wing began. This facility was dedicated in 2009.
Today and Tomorrow
St. Paul’s has become a landmark on busy Millard Avenue and, over the years, our awareness to the public has increased. For several years, we have reached out to others around the world, the metro area and the local Millard area through numerous programs. Currently, our church facilities are constantly in use through the wide range of ministries offered by St. Paul’s, as well as meeting some of the needs of the community.