This is reprinted from the Dedication of the Sanctuary
Phase II—1987 During the 10th Anniversary Year
Through funds made available by the United Mission Appeal,. Pastors Walter Ruth and Clarence Beireis were employed by the American Lutheran Church to begin the North Fort Myers Ministry. In response to advertisements placed in the Fort Myers News Press and the Cape Coral Breeze 39 people showed enthusiastic interest in the ministry at a meeting held January 16, 1977 at the First Federal Savings and Loan building, 121 Pondella Road, North Fort Myers.
In time for a Good Friday service, 1977, the Ministry moved to a small store at 1661 Ixora Drive, North Fort Myers FL. Children's Sunday School was started. Pastor Ellwyn Goodsell donated his services as Adult Bible Study leader every Sunday and as secretary and printer for the ministry.
On December 10, 1977 a larger unfinished section of the building served as a place for the organization meeting and the Festival Worship held on December 11, 1977. Eastern District Bishop Gordon Huffman preached the sermon and Rev. Fred More of the Division of Service and Mission in America assisted. The congregation voted to be called MESSIAH LUTHERAN CHURCH. The first council was elected. On December 28, 1977 the ALCW accepted a constitution and elected permanent officers.
The ministry outgrew the space and moved into a larger corner store in the same building. The small store was kept for the Pastor's study and Sunday School. In February, 1978 a building committee began work for the first permanent worship center to be built on the 6.36 acres of land located at Corbett and Pine Island Roads (78).
Pastor Perry Hanson accepted the congregation's call and arrived in August, 1978 and was installed by Rev. David Wolber, Dean of The Southern Region of the Eastern District on September 17, 1978
On May 18, 1979 Nu-Cape Construction Company of Cape Coral was engaged to build the first unit. Groundbreaking took place on June 17, 1979. Dedication of Phase I was held on March 2, 1980. Dr. Walter Wietzke, Director of the Division of Theological Education and Ministry of the American Lutheran Church delivered the sermon. Pastors Hanson, More, Ruth, Beireis, Bliese, and Goodsell assisted. In 1983 a group of volunteers enclosed the under roof drive-in area which became the Pastor's Study and the Secretary's office in order to make more space available for Sunday school.
On Palm Sunday, 1983 Pastor Perry Hanson announced his acceptance of a call to Melbourne Beach, Florida. He and his family left Lee County in June. During the interim Pastor Archie Baldwin served the congregation.
Pastor Harold Popp arrived in January 1984. He was installed by Dr. David Wolber, Bishop of the newly formed Southeastern District of the American Lutheran Church.
Pastor Arthur Bliese, Sr. has been asked to serve on a part time basis to assist with visitation. The congregation looks forward to the arrival of the new vicar from the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Hermannsberg, West Germany in August, 1987.
Due to the rapid growth the congregation decided to expand and groundbreaking was held on April 13th, 1986. The congregation is pleased to plan the Dedication of Phase II of the Sanctuary on March 22, 1987 during the 10th Anniversary year of Messiah Lutheran Church.
Editors Note; The building at 1661 Ixora Drive, the first church, still stands today. It is across the street from the Domino’s Pizza at the Corner of Bayshore and Ixora.