The History of Shepherd of the Sea Lutheran Church
In 1973, an initial survey was made of the South Strand Area under the direction of Rev. David Johnson, Regional director of the board of American Missions, Lutheran Church of America and clearance was given to enter this area of ministry. On September 11, 1974, Rev. Bob Tutas received an appointment as Mission Developer and moved to Surfside Beach with his family. A small store front was rented in Pavilack Square, Surfside Beach, and the Planning committee was organized.
Our first worship service was held February 2, 1975. By the end of the year, the first Church Council was elected and a Constitution adopted. On November 30, 1975, Shepherd of the Sea Lutheran Church officially organized.
As we grew, the need for a new building was urgent. Through the foresight of Rev. Johnson and the Board of American Missions, a piece of property had been purchased between highway 501 and 544. However, a survey indicated the population would expand along the coast rather than westward and the plot was traded for a lot in Garden City, a few miles from the original location. A two year building campaign began in 1977 and ground breaking for the new church took place on Palm Sunday, March 19, 1978.
Pastor Tutas resigned in May 1978, as construction continued. Pastor Darrel Golnitz accepted our call in December of 1978, and served until 1986. In January of 1979, we began worshipping in the fellowship hall and then in the new sanctuary.
From 1980 to 1984, we continued to grow and it became necessary to expand facilities.
Construction began in August of 1983 and the newly completed education building was dedicated on February 5, 1984.
Rev Ruben Olawsky became our pastor on January 1, 1987. The membership grew in numbers and ministry causes. Plans for expanded facilities were again underway as Pastor Olawsky resigned in October of 1990.
On September 8, 1991, Rev, William Cobb began his ministry. Following his untimely death in August of 1992, Rev. Carlo Grossman served as the interim pastor as he had done previously following Pastor Olawsky’s resignation. Rev. Gary Loadholdt accepted our call on August 1, 1993. In January of 1995, the congregation began offering a Saturday evening service in addition to Sunday services. The Long Range Planning Committee completed studies started in the mis 90’s and it became evident that we needed a larger worship facility. Ground breaking took place on October 11, 1998 and the new Sanctuary was dedicated on October 22, 2000.
In August of 2001, Pastor Loadholdt resigned and the following January 1, 2002, Rev. Richard Webber began his call to be our next Pastor.