kent Memorial History

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Chapel on Site of a Tragedy

In the Hurricane Deck region of the Lake of the Ozarks, this attractive native stone worship place has been erected on the same land where stood the new home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Zimmerman before it was destroyed by fire February 10, 1949, on the first night it was occupied by the family. Kent Zimmerman a 12 year old son, died in the fire. The new church is named in his memory, and will be dedicated tomorrow, April 27th, 1952 with formal dedication at 10:30 o’clock and a vesper service a 3 o’clock. The church is twenty four miles south of Versailles Mo. on state highway No. 5. The land for the church was donated by the Zimmermans, and community members helped in construction and in fulfilling more than $4,000 in pledges and labor.

As the construction progressed, the church attracted nation-wide attention. Architecture fits the woodland setting. Inside the stone walls, the interior is finished in native pine, cedar pews, and large windows with a sweeping view of the Lake of the Ozarks are features. The Rev. Clarence J. Hansen, mission developer, and now the church pastor, will direct services tomorrow. The principal speaker will be Dr. R. H. Gerberding, N.Y., executive secretary of missions board of the United Lutheran church. Officials of the synod of Kansas and adjacent states of the denomination also will participate. The vesper service will include choral music by the a capella choir of Missouri Valley college, Marshall, Mo., and the Gamboliers, Kansas City male quartet. The dedication day will conclude with a reception and social hour.


Kent Memorial as originally constructed in 1951
Dedicated April 27, 1952

Kent Memorial - Shows Fellowship hall addition completed in 1980
Addition Dedicated April 27, 1980
Photo taken Spring 2002

 Kent's Parsonage, located next door to the Sanctuary
Kent's Parsonage, located next door to the Sanctuary
Photo Taken April 2002

 Kent Memorial inside sanctuary
Kent Memorial former Sanctuary replaced in 2005

Photo taken April 28, 2002

 Kent Memorial as seen from the air!
Kent Memorial as seen from the air!  Prior to 2005 remodeling
Parsonage on left, Sanctuary in center, Fellowship hall on right
Photo by Don Brohm, From Bruce Bramon's plane

Kent Memorial today, showing 2005 building expansion.
New Sanctuary Dedicated April 24, 2005
April 2005 photos by Don Brohm
[Red arrow points to the original 1951 structure intact as part of the current facility.]
Click here for more photos of the building project completed in 2005

Kent Memorials Beginning

The congregation began in 1951 as a mission church of the Kansas Synod of The United Lutheran Church. Today it is a congregation of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


Kent Memorial Lutheran Church 65th Anniversary Celebration September 25, 2016


Sixty-five Years of History for

Kent Memorial Lutheran Church



The congregation began in 1951 as a mission church of the Kansas Synod of The United Lutheran Church. Our church-wide body, The United Lutheran Church in America, became the Lutheran Church in America through a merger in 1962, then the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America through another merger in 1988. As a part of the ELCA, Kent Memorial is included in the Central States Synod, an organization of 180 congregations in Missouri and Kansas.


From our 50th Anniversary Celebration brochure:  “On February 10, 1949, Harry and Dorothy Zimmerman along with their children, Carl, Kent and Gilbert, were occupying for the first night their new home in the Hurricane Deck area of the Lake of the Ozarks. During the night, a tragic fire completely destroyed the home. In this catastrophe, twelve-year-old Kent lost his life and Mr. Zimmerman suffered severe burns.

About this same time, an increasing number of permanent residents of the area saw the need for a House of Worship for themselves and the thousands of vacationers who came to this region each year. In 1950, The Synod of Kansas and Adjacent States of the United Lutheran Church in America showed an interest in this project and committed a gift of $3,500. People in the community committed an additional amount of $4,000 in pledges and labor.

A site for the church was needed. The Zimmerman family gave an initial three acres which included the place where their home had burned. It was decided to name this church in memory of Kent Zimmerman, and as a place to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ who brought life and immortality to light. Truly a church has risen out of the ashes to the Glory of God.

Ground was broken for the new church in December 1950. On April 22, 1951, the cornerstone was laid. Earlier, on Easter, March 25, 1951, the first service of public worship was held in the Oak Hill School. Pastor John Shirck, Cole Camp, assisted Kent Memorial as Mission Developer. Pastor Clarence Hansen arrived in November to be the first pastor of Kent Memorial. The date for organization was December 16, 1951, with 59 adults and a total baptized membership of 78 signing the charter.

The church building was dedicated on April 26, 1952. It was built of native stone, pine, cedar, and native oak. It stands like a lovely jewel in an incomparable setting. When it was finished, a total indebtedness of $10,000 was all that remained.

Throughout the years, the congregation was blessed and grew in number. This called for some changes. In 1980, the Fellowship Hall was added and the worship area was enlarged. Later remodeling of the worship area was completed during the 1980’s. Along the way, stained glass windows were added and new windows installed facing the lake.

In 1993, the Ireland Memorial Outdoor Chapel was added, which houses the early service during the summer months. It faces the lake in a most inspiring setting with a tree being used to form the cross. This area has already been enlarged.

The most recent addition was the enlarging of the kitchen, completed in year 2000. We Lutherans have to eat! A 1/8th mile paved walking trail has also been added.”

Much has happened at Kent Memorial since our 50th Anniversary celebration. In true Lutheran tradition, music continues to be a large part of the worship life. Vocal and Hand Bell choirs, soloists and instrumentalists, continue to enhance our worship and provide opportunities for service to our church. The “CIA” evolved into the Kent Krew, and we have graduated many fine young women and men from our youth program.

Richard “Hair” Brown, who died in 2014, left us a legacy of more than 10,000 handmade crosses given to visitors and campers over many years.

The women of Kent are active through the Women of the ELCA (WELCA) chapter, holding annual Rummage Sales, Soup & Chili Luncheons, Cookie/Candy Sales, Christmas Bazaars, and holding multiple fundraisers that benefit Kent, the wider church and the community. Bible study for both men and women continues to meet weekly. Our Social Ministry group has expanded their work in the community, and the Evangelism Committee reaches out to involve both members and friends alike.

Kent members volunteer at area schools, mentoring and reading to children, helping with back-to-school fairs, filling Buddy Packs with food that will last a family with elementary school-age students through the weekend or, during the summer, for an entire a month. we gather dental kits for the annual Festival of Sharing, make quilts for Lutheran World Relief and serve meals at the senior center. We ring the bells for the Salvation Army at Christmas time and we have ensured children from the Show Me Home and Citizens Against Domestic Violence shelter have gifts at Christmas. We lead community worship services, support local food banks and make stuffed animals and infant hats and booties for Lake Regional Hospital.

The Kent Klowns continue to share Jesus with the community at large through balloons, face painting and laughter. Every Halloween, we dress up, decorate our cars and trucks, and hold “Trunk or Treat” in the church parking lot, giving upwards of 300 area children a safe place to trick-or-treat. Blood drives, thanksgiving meals, disaster relief… The work of God is done every day at Kent.

The history of Kent Memorial Lutheran Church continues to be written. We trust that we will remain faithful to our mission and calling:


Hearing God’s Call & Responding in Love.

We Share Jesus With All!


+ + + + + + +

 Pastors who have served Kent Memorial under regular call:


John Shirck                         Mission Developer

Clarence J. Hansen              November 1, 1951 - June 30, 1953

Raymond E. Johnson            December 1, 1953 - November 15, 1966

Herbert N. Johnson, Jr.         March 1, 1967 - September 23, 1973

J. Glen Sandquist                 April 15, 1974 - July 6, 1981

Richard D. Dunning              November 15, 1981 - July 1, 1984

James J. Trutwin                 January 1, 1985 - May 31, 2000

Eugene A. Moll                    May 1, 2001 - June 30, 2006

David R. Beese                   February 18, 2007 - December 31, 2017

Highlights of Kent Memorial’s History

1949     Kent Zimmerman dies in a home fire trying to save his little brother.

1950     Ground is broken in December for Kent Memorial.

1951     First service held on Easter Sunday, March 25, at the Oak Hill School.

            Laying of Cornerstone on April 22.

1951     Pastor Clarence Hansen arrives in November as Mission Developer.

            Basement now used for services.

1951     Service of Organization held on December 16.

1952     Kent Memorial dedicated on April 27.

1952     Women of the Church organized.

1953     Pastor Clarence Hansen leaves in June and Pastor Raymond Johnson arrives in
           December and served 13 years.

           The parsonage is finished.

1961     Celebrate our 10th Anniversary

            A mission church in Camdenton was started. [Our Saviors Lutheran]

1962     Debt on Kent Memorial is liquidated.

            Lutheran Church of America is formed through mergers. Kent becomes part of the
            Central States Synod.

            Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Camdenton was built.

1965     Adopt a new constitution.

1966     Pastor Raymond Johnson observes his 25th Anniversary in Christian ministry and
            resigns as pastor of Kent Memorial, leaving in November.

1967     Pastor Herb Johnson arrives in March to begin his ministry at Kent.

1968     Community Easter Pageant “He Is Risen” begins at Kent.

1969     An addition is added to the parsonage.

1971     Celebrate our 20th Anniversary.

            Additional land purchased from the Zimmermans.

1972     Additional land between Old Highway 5 and the present Highway 5 is purchased from
            the Missouri Department of Transportation.

1973     Pastor Herb Johnson leaves in September.

1974     Pastor J. Glen Sandquist begins his ministry at Kent in April.

1979     Groundbreaking ceremony for new addition. They called it a “multipurpose” room. We
            now call it the Fellowship Hall.

1980     New Fellowship Hall addition completed and dedicated.

1981     Pastor J. Glen Sandquist leaves in July. Pastor Richard Dunning begins his ministry at
            Kent in November.

1984     Pastor Richard Dunning leaves Kent in July.

1985     Pastor Jim Trutwin is installed as pastor of Kent in January.

1986     Communion rail is approved.

1987     The “Sinking of the Church Mortgage” in the Lake is celebrated.

            Renovation of the sanctuary is approved.

1988     Completed renovation, new paint, carpeting, etc.

1989     New Organ purchased and a platform built for it.

1990     New siding is put on the parsonage and new roof on the parsonage and Fellowship Hall
            by the Kent men.

1993     The Ireland Outdoor Chapel is built.

1994     Renovation of the basement area is completed.

            Kent Klowns started.

1995     Garagnani Memorial Garden is dedicated.

1999     Engelstad Walking Trail is dedicated in memory of Orlyn Engelstad.

            New playground is built by the family of Steve and Linda Latham and dedicated in
            memory of their son, Nathan Kraviec.

            The kitchen is remodeled and expanded, including new appliances, cabinets, pass-
through for serving, and a new landing and steps to the outside Garagnani Garden and
            Ireland Chapel.

2000     Pastor Jim Trutwin and family leaves to accept another call to Trinity Lutheran Church
            in Golden, Illinois.

2001     Pastor Eugene Moll begins as pastor of Kent in May.

            A Building Committee is named for Kent.

2001-2  We celebrate our 50th Anniversary with monthly emphases and with retiring Bishop
            Charles Maahs beginning the celebrations and new Bishop Gerald Mansholt completing
            the celebrations.

2002     Cruise Worship began in June.

2004     Construction begins on new sanctuary addition.

2005     New sanctuary and altar are dedicated on April 24.

2006     Pastor Eugene Moll retires in June.

            Pastor Keith Lingwall serves Kent Memorial as an Interim Pastor.

            The Carol and Gene Gerschefske Memorial Columbarium is added inthe Garagnani

            Kid’s Klub was started in the fall by Diane & Jim Ziehl.

2007     Pastor David R. Beese is installed on February 18.

2008     Music Coordinator Jan Ellis conceptualizes a concert program featuring talent from Kent
            Memorial. An Afternoon With the Classics [Evening With the Classics] gave their first
            performance on June 23. The tenth annual concert will be performed in 2017.

2009     Participated in Partnership for a Missional Church (PMC) process with 14 other
            congregations in the St. Louis area.

2010     Renew, Revive & Rekindle was established to introduce new members of Kent and
            renew interest in our activities.

            Easter Garden established to celebrate Easter morning.

            Congregational vote to remain affiliated with the ELCA.

            Rededication of Kent’s Mission Statement.

            On Reformation Sunday, October 31, new Stained Glass Windows, installed on the east
            side of the sanctuary, were dedicated, along with new communion ware and the stone
            set into the columbarium garden.

            Kevin Gerschefske, Sara Peterson and the family of Helen Pragman were acknowledged
            for their contributions to these memorials.

2011     Stewart-McFaden scholarship fund established to assist graduating high school seniors
            headed for higher education. First scholarship awarded to Zoe Bibbes.

            Kent Constitution was revised to match the ELCA model constitution.

            Building loan was refinanced. Loan amount was $300,000.00.

2012     Started new mission with Hurricane Deck Elementary School and South School.

            Outdoor worship area refurbished.

2013     Participate in first “God’s Work. Our Hands.”, the ELCA’s dedicated day of service.

2014     Improvements to outside worship area, including a shelter for the keyboard platform, a
            memorial gift from the family of Ken Mueller.

2015     Grounds improved with new rock beds, trees replaced, trimmed and removed so the
            lake can be seen during outdoor worship.

2016     Mini Barn Quilt Trail created along the Engelstad walking trail.

            New carpet was installed in Fellowship Hall.

2017     Mortgage paid in full on new sanctuary and expansion of the fellowship hall.

            Pastor David Beese retired on December 31 after more than forty years in the
            ministry, the last eleven of which were spent here at Kent.

2018     Pastor Carl R. Gauck joined Kent Memorial on January 7 as our Transitional Pastor.

            50th annual performance of the Easter Pageant “He Is Risen!” was held on Easter
            Sunday, April 19, 2018

[As printed in the Sunday Bulletin, September 25, 2016]

Dear Members and Friends of Kent Memorial,

On our 65th Anniversary as a congregation we think about our church and community, our past, present and future. 

So on this Anniversary weekend we give thanks for those who first organized this congregation and who first built a place of worship here on this site.  We give thanks how for 65 years the Scriptures have indeed been read and the Gospel proclaimed.  We give thanks for this place where the risen Christ is alive and has indeed stood among us and spoken to his people.  And of course we can never forget Harry and Dorothy Zimmerman and their original gift of land to make this church possible.  As they grieved the loss of their son, Kent, in the fire of their home on this site back in 1949 they thought of the on-going work of the Lord.  From these ashes a Church was born.

We give thanks for the generations who have worshipped here, and heard the gospel proclaimed not only in word but in deed.  I think about all Kent’s members, past and present, who have witnessed to Christ’s love in the community we serve and beyond.  You indeed are a congregation focused on helping people in need.

As we continue to work together into the future, supporting one another, ministry will continue to happen in our part of the kingdom here at the Lake as we lift high the cross and serve Christ through our gifts of time, talents and treasures.  What a delight it is to serve Christ in this place we call Kent Memorial. 

I close with the words and encouragement of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:58:

“Therefore, my beloved brothers and sister, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”


Pastor Dave

Pastor Dave and Nancy Beese

50th Anniversary – Golden Jubilee

 Time Capsule Contents

¨ 50th Anniversary Jubilee Church service bulletin & Banquet Program.

¨ Map of the Lake of the Ozarks -1996

¨ Packet A-J and Packet Pages 1-27, with descriptive tabl of contents in each.

¨ The Small Catechism by Martin Luther in contemporary English, with Lutheran Book of Worship texts.

¨ Hymnals currently in use:

Lutheran Book of Worship

With One Voice

Singing His Praise (cover, contents page and general index only); most often used at outdoor service.

¨ 50th Anniversary Cookbook with autographs of contributors.

¨ 2/10/02 Annual Report of Congregation.

¨ Pictorial Directory

¨ Pastor Moll’s Presentation of Paraments with Narration.

¨ Two-paragraph sketch of annual Easter Pageant held on the grounds of Kent Memorial.

¨ Memorial Medallion.

¨ Evangelism Committee items of greeting to first-time visitors.

¨ Special Event Sunday Bulletins (2001 – 2002).

¨ Thanksgiving blessings and/or memories by congregation members.

¨ Copy of thank you letter sent to Kidwell-Garber Funeral Home for donating the time capsule container to Kent Memorial.



Packet A-J

A. Color photograph of Harry & Dorothy Zimmerman

B. Copy of Harry Zimmerman’s December 1993 recollections.

C. Original approved constitution of the Lutheran Church in America (1962). Amendments approved in 1964.

D. Constitution Bylaws (revised 02/14/93).

E. Original Dedication Booklet (April 27, 1952).

F. Original 20th Anniversary Banquet Program (April 17, 1971).

G. Copy of Service for Laying Cornerstone (April 22, 1951).

H. Original 25th Anniversary “Kent Challenger” Newsletter issue (October 1976).

I. Original 40th Anniversary Banquet Program (April, 28 1951).

J. Original 40th Anniversary Church Service Bulletin and Scripture insert.


Table of Contents

Packet Pages 1-27


1. Reproduction of hand-carved engraving by Mrs. Clarence (Lois) Hansen, wife of the first Pastor of Kent Memorial.

2. Black and white postcard of church upon completion, color postcard of church after completion with view of the Lake of the Ozarks inset.

3. 1992 view of church with new roof (no steeple). Original wooden steeple destroyed by woodpeckers. Photograph of church courtyard sign (erected 1984). Color photograph of State Highway 5 sign (built 1971). Engelstad walking trail (dedicated 1999).

4. New steeple newspaper article with two color photographs (dedicated 09/11/94).

5. Color postcard of original sanctuary with cedar pews (black hymnals), color photograph of sanctuary after 1988 renovation and color photograph of fiberglass nativity figures purchased by WELCA in late 1980s.

6. Color Christmas card of original sanctuary (red hymnals), 1957 black and white photograph of chancel, color photograph of chancel after 1979-1980 expansion & color photograph of sanctuary after 1979-1980 expansion (green hymnals).

7. Bulletin insert of Worship dedicated July 1998. Resurrection Window bulletin insert with color picture (1979).

8. Bulletin insert with color photograph of 5 stained windows (dedicated October 16, 1991).

9. Building Use Policy, note card picturing water color painting of Ireland Outdoor Chapel and color photograph of Ireland Outdoor Chapel (built 1993).

10. Color photograph of Garagnani Memorial Garden (dedicated July 25, 1997) and color photograph of Nathan Kraviec Memorial Playground (dedicated Memorial Day weekend 1999).

11. “Bound for Jubilee” lyrics and music score (signature song for year-long (2001-2002) Golden Jubilee Celebration.

12. Color picture of bell choir (1988); third octave of handbells dedicated on All Saints Day 1977; color picture of 1988 adult choir, color photograph of 1996 adult choir and color photograph of Kent Combo.

13. Copy of December 16, 2001 Sunday School Christmas program.

14. Color photographs of Sunday School children Christmas program.

15. Altar Guild guidelines.

16. Box tops of communion celebrant’s host and communicant’s wafers.

17. 1956 Women of the Church yearbook, 1972 Lutheran Church Women yearbook and L.C.W. Constitution and Bylaws.

18. Color sticker of WELCA logo, color photograph of WELCA’s “Red and Purple” meeting day, color photograph 1990 WELCA May Luncheon (Fiesta, Fiesta) and WELCA’s 2001 May Luncheon with insert (Famous People from Missouri).

19. WELCA Bylaws and 2002-2003 directory.

20. An explanation of the WELCA symbol with color photograph of banner made in 1988.

21. Copy of minutes of June 24, 2001 special congregational meeting.

22. Copy of Long Range Task Force evaluation and recommendations to the congregation on June 24, 2001.

23. Copy of minutes of congregational meeting (November 11, 2001).

24. Copy of approved 2002 budget.

25. Copy of minutes of February 10, 2002 congregational meeting.

26. 1953 black & white photograph of Pastor & Mrs. Raymond Johnson; color photograph of Kent’s “Holy Rollers” bowling league (1988-1989); color photograph of Caroling Family (department store mannequins) by courtyard church sign (1984); color photograph of expanded kitchen (1999); color picture of Lena Rice’s 100th birthday party (hot air balloon ride) and gold dollar coin.

              Harry & Dorothy Zimmerman                          Clarence Hansen, Pastor 1951-1953

Pastor Herb and Nancy Johnson

Reflections from The Johnson’s

We served Kent Memorial from March 1967 to October 1973.

These were years of rapid growth in our community and our church. By 1969 we began to expand to meet present and future needs. An addition to the parsonage provided a dining room, another bedroom and bath, plus a double garage.

At our 20th Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Zimmerman were present and we negotiated the purchase of their lot north of the church. Also, a permanent Nativity Scene was built. Then we purchased the property east of the church for a parking lot, new church sign, and the Easter Pageant.

An additional 7:00 a.m. Sunday Service was added during the summer as well as a once a month Mid-Week Communion Service for our members who had Sunday work obligations.

These were exciting years as our church grew at the same pace as the community. The parsonage family with two girls also grew with the birth of our son in 1968.

With kindest personal regards on your 50th Anniversary,

Pastor Herb and Nancy Johnson

T.S.S.B.S. – 1974 – 1981

(The Sandquists’ Sunrise Beach Saga)

Greetings to all of you, “survivors” of that era, and all who have been called by the Spirit to become Christians active in love in and through Kent Memorial Lutheran Church since that time.

For us, as a family, there are many highlights and some low-lights during that period of 7 plus years. That pastorate marked my longest congregational ministry in the churches I served; two before Kent and two after and in between, the 7 ½ years ministry as staff member of the Texas-Louisiana Synod, LCA. Please note our ministry at Kent was the longest parish ministry to date, as I have now served 6 plus years as visitation pastor for St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas.

From the date of March 7, 1974, when Bob and Elva Buelick met Sharlene and me at the Springfield Airport and the following opportunities for visiting with the Church Council and membership, through the delightful Farewell Dinner and Program at Millstone Lodge on July 12, 1981, our family was richly blessed to have been partners in ministry during those days of ‘yesteryear’.

Now, some highlights for us as a family during that time: Janice, 2nd grade, and Jennifer, 4th grade, enrolled at Hurricane Deck School on April 16, 1974; and Jeff, as a 7th grader, at Camdenton Junior High. Johanna returned to Austin for 6 weeks to complete her sophomore year; then enrolled at Camdenton High School in September 1974. Both Johanna and Jeff graduated from Camdenton High and both attended and graduated from Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg.

Sharlene served as an Elementary Music Instructor at Hurricane Deck, Osage Beach and then at Camdenton.

Some Parish Ministry Highlights –

As the Evangelist, St. John, writes in his gospel, slightly paraphrased, “If every event of these 7-1/4 years were written down, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

The shared ministry with the Sunrise Beach and Laurie churches was very special, noting here only the annual Vacation Bible School held at Hurricane Deck School, the youth roller-skating events, the development of Cochurmin Homes, the weekly meetings with the other clergy, and the combined Holy Week and Thanksgiving services.

In the wider relationship with the Lake of the Ozarks Ministerial Alliance, the highlight for me and many of the members, mostly youth, was the Vesper Cruises on the Tom Sawyer, docked at Bagnell Dam.

Within our own Kent ministry, the Wednesday Recreation Nights throughout the summer were exciting, wholesome times that were usually followed by the short walk to Grandma Lillie Root’s Ice Cream Parlor. Another ministry with youth was the Confirmation Camps at Tomah Shinga, Kansas, for 5 of the 7 years of my pastorate. On one return, with 7 of us in the LTD station wagon, as we drove up to the toll plaza on I-70 in Kansas City, the attendant was surprised by being greeted with a rousing camp song. (I had to pay the toll anyway.)

Perhaps the youth ministry that touched the majority of people was the Children’s Choir/ Sunday School Musicals, e.g. “100% Chance of Rain” and “Cool in the Furnace.” One of the special aspects of this was the children’s work on constructing and painting the sets.

Several highlights and some low lights were the conscientious work, over many months of study and financial planning that eventuated in the frosty, but festive, Groundbreaking Ceremony on Sunday, March 4, 1979, where the entire membership and friends present formed a living outline, of the soon to be constructed new building, as council members took turns attempting to break the frozen ground with the ceremonial shovel. However, all in attendance were warmed by and feted to a delicious pot luck dinner planned by the women.

One of the sadness’s of this period of growth and change at Kent, was the difficulty a few members experienced with the building program, causing a small number of them to transfer to other congregations. During this difficult time, I was reminded of the speech given by the late Dr. John Ogilvie, entitled, “Nothing is Constant but Change Itself.” This sometimes stressful time of 2 ½ years culminated in the festive Celebration of Church Blessing on Sunday, April 27, 1980, with a noon picnic following worship prior to the Church Blessing and Open House at 2:30 pm.

Concluding Comments –

In conclusion, some brief family notes. As of May 1, 2002, Sharlene and I have now resided in Lago Vista, Texas, almost 9 years. She serves as a Stephen Ministry Leader at Peace Lutheran Church, Austin, where we are members. Sharlene also serves as Organist/Choir Director at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, Lago Vista and accompanist for the Hill Country Singers, a 50 member volunteer choral group. As noted earlier, I serve as Visitation Pastor at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, Austin, and also serve on various committees/boards at Peace Lutheran. Our daughter, Johanna, and husband, Pastor Jim Erdman and their four children, live in Lake St. Louis, Missouri, where Jim serves at Lord of Life Lutheran Church and Johanna teaches elementary music in a neighboring school district. Son, Jeff, and family (two daughters) live in Rolla, Missouri, where he is the high school vocal music director. Daughter, Jennifer and husband, Alan, and two children, live in Bixby (Tulsa), Oklahoma, where both are with State Farm. Daughter, Janice and husband, Tim, are both veterinarians living in Stone Mountain, Georgia, with their two children.

As is evident in these “jottings”, life does go on, serene, stormy, joyous, sad, exciting, calm, but moving on in the days God gives us and the opportunities we share in that company of Easter People, who live with gratitude to God in the shared ministry of the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus. May all of us rejoice in God’s gifts as we celebrate the Golden Anniversary of one of our Lord’s ministry centers, Kent Memorial Lutheran Church, Sunrise Beach, Missouri.

To God be the Glory,

Pastor J. Glen Sandquist

A Letter From The Dunnings

Dear Members of Kent Memorial:

Esther and I are sorry that we are unable to be with you on this very special occasion, but we do send you our congratulations, best wishes and prayers as you celebrate your 50th anniversary. An anniversary celebration is a joyous occasion for a congregation. Enjoy!

I have been asked to write about my years at Kent. Perhaps some background as to how we got there might be helpful. After being ordained in 1958, my first parish was a small rural congregation in Lancaster, Kansas. About 1960 or 61 there was a district ladies meeting at Kent and I decided to take four

ladies from my parish. I fell in love with the little native stone church that overlooked the Lake of the Ozarks. Ultimately I wound up in northern Indiana. After seventeen years our children had flown the nest and we began to think about moving back closer to our Midwestern roots. I called Bishop Roger Gieschen and indicated my interest in Kent. As it so happened, it became available shortly thereafter. One thing led to another and in the fall of 1981 we arrived on the scene.

It wasn’t long before we discovered that there were problems. A recent building program had caused some hard feelings and division in the parish. The Bishop had indicated there was “some residual bitterness” due to the building program. After being there a while, I told him that calling it “residual bitterness” was like calling Attila the Hun “antisocial”. It soon became evident to me that if ever there was a situation that called for an interim ministry, this was it. With that in mind, we set about to hopefully heal some of the wounds and bring the congregation together again. It wasn’t easy but we were determined to do the best we could. Eventually things began to improve and progress was being made. Both attendance and membership began to increase.

We enjoyed our ministry and the people at Kent, and do have some fond memories of our time there. I remember that for the first few weeks Tom Porter kept referring to Esther as Ethel until Marge finally told him, “No Tom, its Esther, like in the Bible”. Tom said, “Oh, Queen Esther”, and from that time on she was known as “Queen Esther”.

I also remember sitting in my office one day and hearing the sound of bells. I didn’t even know they had a bell choir. I went over to the parsonage and brought Esther back with me. We sat and listened to them rehearse. Eventually Esther became a part of the choir and I would kid her about being “Esther one note” since she had no previous instrumental experience.

Speaking of the parsonage, I will never forget the problem we had with the furnace. For some reason when the gas turned on the pilot light would not ignite it for a short while and when it did ignite, it did so with a very loud “Bang!” I reported it to the council and they didn’t seem to be too concerned and no action was taken at that time. That is until one evening the council was meeting at the parsonage when the furnace did its thing. Needless to say, a new furnace was installed soon thereafter.

In 1983 the members of the parish had a surprise party for me on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of my ordination. They invited a number of old friends and former church members from my former parishes. Esther conspired with Jan Ellis to put together a scrapbook and the program was a sort of “This is Your Life, Richard Dunning”.  I still have that scrapbook and dig it out occasionally to renew fond memories, not only of my time at Kent, but my life up until that time. I shall always treasure it.

Well, I was asked to write a little bit about our time at Kent and not publish a book, but that is somewhat like asking a preacher to say “a few words”. There are other things I could write about concerning our time at Kent, but suffice it to say that we did have some good times there, met some wonderful people who were the backbone of the parish, and hopefully we were able to do some good during our tenure there.

As I stated earlier, we felt that the ministry there would be an interim one, a sort of buffer between what was and what would come. We honestly felt that now another pastor could come in and take the parish in a new direction and we feel that is what happened. It certainly was not an easy decision to make, but as things began to improve and the spirit of the congregation became more and more positive, we felt it was time to move on and let another assume the leadership. And even though it was a difficult thing to do at the time, I feel we were right in our assessment of the situation. According to the church newsletter and Christmas cards we receive, things seem to be going well at Kent, and Esther and I could not be happier for you and pray that things will continue on course. You now have a new pastor to lead you into the future and I am confident that together you will continue to do good things in the name of the Lord Jesus. Hopefully this celebration of your 50th anniversary will serve as a sort of launching platform to inspire you to do even more in His name.

Maybe some day we will get back down that way again. We would like to see your new outdoor worship area and renew some old friendships as well. I have been retired for almost four years now and do supply work in the area for vacationing pastors and for parishes that are without a pastor. Who knows, perhaps some day things will work out and I could supply for Pastor Moll when he goes on vacation.

Again, congratulations to all of you on this special occasion and may God bless you and your ministry at Kent Memorial. We think of you quite often and rest assured that we will be thinking of you especially on April 28th. Have a wonderful celebration. We wish we could be there.

With love and prayers

Richard and Esther Dunning

“More Gifts To Come”

I’ve been asked to write some “brief comments” about my years at Kent Memorial for this 50th anniversary booklet. But I’m wondering how brief I can be about fifteen and a half very interesting years in Sunrise Beach? And it’s difficult to describe in a few words the wonderful people Mary, Daniel and I came to know and love during those years.

It’s now been a year and a half since our move, but we still feel like the Lake of the Ozarks is home to us. We continue to miss friends at the lake and the unique quality of lake life. Daniel was four when we moved to Sunrise Beach January 2, 1985.  He would graduate from high school and be in college several years before Mary and I moved to Golden Illinois.

We will always be thankful for the wonderful church family we had in Kent Memorial.  My tenure as Pastor of Kent Memorial had some stormy times, but there were many, many more sunny, summery days. Early on, I remember the Sink the Mortgage drive to pay off the building loan.

Pastor Jim & Mary Trutwin

I will always remember the Thanksgiving Dinners in our home that ended with hundreds being served a Thanksgiving meal at the new Senior Center. There were the church softball and bowling leagues. Who can forget the May Day Luncheons, or when an idea turned into Kent’s wonderful clown ministry.  I remember young people born, baptized and confirmed. There were the Pastors in the area who became my friends. There was the dream . had that someday a tree might become a cross for an outdoor worship area, and it did. There were the many gorgeous sunsets overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks.  I will never forget the many wonderful worship times and opportunities to do Word and Sacrament ministry. There were those wonderful Saints of God, baptized into Christ Jesus, who went to be with the Lord during those years.  I remember a sleepy highway that became a busy one, 15 years later. And there were dreams to build a new church that somehow never caught on—yet.

These are but a few of the memories from our years at Kent. There are many more that come to mindQ but perhaps more than anything else,  I remember welcoming many new members over the years. Kent Memorial’s face changed often as new people joined the church, and .’m sure it will continue to change.  For some, so many new members seemed

disconcerting; however, I always felt that new people were like Christmas presents.  It was so exciting to see what new gifts God would send us with each group of new members.

I pray that you will always celebrate the gifts of each and of every human being as you seek to live as members of the Body of Christ at Kent Memorial Lutheran Church. As you celebrate and remember the past 50 years of Kent Memorial’s history, realize that this is only the beginning. God has so much more wrapped up for us and ready for us to open – when the time is right.

From our home to your home, may God be with you ‘til we meet again. And may God’s richest blessings be with you and your loved ones.

Pastor Jim, Mary & Daniel Trutwin

From the 50th Anniversary Bulletin —

From Pastor Gene & Gladys Moll

Fifty years of history as Kent Memorial! What a joyous occasion to pause and celebrate! We extend a gracious welcome to all of you as you come to celebrate with us today. Many of you are members. Some of you are returning from other places. Some of you are new to Kent. Welcome to all of you! 

Having the privilege of sharing this last year with the congregation [2001-2002],  I know what excitement there was as we celebrated the various events, marking things like the beginning of the building in April of 1951, the emphases on weddings, Memorabilia Sunday, Bible Camping Day, Old Time Gospel Day, Thanksgiving Memories, the 50th Anniversary of the actual organization on December 16, 1951, Winter Fun and Who’s Coming To Dinner Day, Time Flies Day with the naming of our items

in the Time Capsule, the dedicating of the quilts, and now the grand finale which coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of the original church building. Truly, this has been a memorable year.

Of course, none of this history would happen without the guidance and grace of God.  It is this which holds us together as a people. And, it is this same guidance and grace that will propel us forward into the next 50 years of life.

We can never celebrate without remembering Harry and Dorothy Zimmerman and their original gift of land to make this church possible. And we always shed a tear for them as we remember the fire of their home on this site in which their son, Kent, lost his life.  From these ashes a church was born.

May Kent Memorial remain as a place for people to gather and to worship their God, and a place from which mission and ministry can happen.

Blessings to each of you.
Eugene A. Moll, Pastor




Sixty-five Years of History for Kent Memorial Lutheran Church - 1951-2016

Above link opens a copy of the 16 page PDF dated September 25th, 2016, created for the 65th anniversary celebration