History of St Paul
St. Paul Lutheran was formed as a mission congregation by Rev. Rick Schliepsiek in 1999/2000 with LCMS members living in the Pinehurst area. A worship site was obtained by renting the old Sacred Heart Church . After vacating the rented Roman Catholic church, the congregation purchased a metal building in West End, NC. This was a commercial building in back of a business park.
St Paul was given a wonderful opportunity to purchase a new facility in March 2013. The sale was finalized on November 13, 2013. We now have a church located in the growing community of Whispering Pines only a few miles from Pinehurst and Southern Pines. Our new church has space to expand our service to the community by providing Sunday School and Youth Programs. It is also home to the Learning Tree Preschool and a local girl scout troop.
Rev. John Melms
Pastor Melms was born and raised in a northern suburb of the city of Detroit, in a town that was East Detroit but has since been renamed Eastpointe (the southern border of town is Eight Mile Road). In 1954 his mother transferred from St. Marks LC (now ELCA) in Roseville, MI to St. Peter’s LC, East Detroit so that he could attend St. Peter’s Lutheran School. He went through the 8th grade there, and then attended East Detroit High School. Upon graduation from high school, he began work in the computer industry as a Customer Engineer (repairman) with IBM. This led to other positions within the computer industry in which he remained until 2001, when he left to attend the seminary in Fort Wayne.
Upon completion of the traditional 4-year program at Concordia Theological Seminary in 2005, he was called to serve as Pastor of a dual parish: Grace English LC in Pine Bluffs, WY and Zion LC in Grover, CO. He was ordained and installed there in June 2005. He served these two churches for 10 years and a few months, retiring at the end of August 2015. In the fall of 2018, the dual parish of St. Paul and St. James called him out retirement to serve as their full-time pastor, and he was installed in November 2018.
He and his wife Mary were married at St Peter’s LC, East Detroit, MI. They have had the joy of raising 5 children, 3 sons and 2 daughters. These children have, to date, given them 5 grandchildren, which they enjoy spoiling and sending home. With his retirement in Wyoming/Colorado they moved to Sanford, NC to be closer to some of their children who lived in the area.
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
The word “synod” comes from two Greek words: syn, meaning "a meeting or assembly," and hodos, meaning a "way or journey together.” The Christian denomination named the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LC-MS) contains today over 2.5 million members in 6,100 congregations. The Missouri Synod operates the largest Protestant school system in the United States. This system includes 1000 preschools and day-care centers, 1000 elementary schools, 65 high schools, 10 colleges, and 2 theological seminaries to prepare professional church workers and offer Christian training for lay people.
The Missouri Synod’s congregations are based upon the Bible, a strong foundation indeed. The 16th century German monk, Martin Luther, made his stand upon the Word, by stripping away human traditions, decrees, and legalistic requirements which had drawn focus away from the Bible itself. The national office is in Kirkwood, Missouri. They coordinate mission work in 43 other countries. They work to provide food and medicines wherever there is a need for support and provide instruction so others can be self-sufficient.
Missouri Synod Lutherans believe that there is one Triune God (three-in-one) composed of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Synod states that these three principles undergird our beliefs: Scripture, faith and grace. The Scripture is the only source and norm of truth and knowledge about God and his will for us.
Grace tells us that as human beings we cannot earn God's love, forgiveness, or everlasting life. It is all a gift of His LOVE. By faith in Jesus Christ alone can we receive forgiveness. Through faith in Him we come into a working relationship of peace with God. As people of the God’s Holy Word, LC-MS often speak of "the theology of the cross." Our focus is upon the resurrection of Christ Jesus who died on a cross and rose to life from the dead to assure us that God accepted His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He lives and we too will live with him forever and we celebrate that fact in worship and in our daily life. God so loved the world…that He held back nothing for you……..not even His Son. .
Brief History of the Synod: The roots of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod run deep, tracing back to 1847 when Saxon and other German immigrants established a new church body in America, seeking the freedom to practice and follow confessional Lutheranism. Initial members, which included 12 pastors representing 14 congregations from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, New York and Ohio, signed the church body’s constitution on April 26, 1847, at First Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Chicago, Ill. Originally named The German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States, the name was shortened to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in 1947 on the occasion of our 100th anniversary. Over the years, hundreds of books chronicling the Synod’s rich history have been written.