Source: Teaneck News, Vol. 27, No. 23, Wednesday, June 9, 1976
As part of its commemoration of Bicentennial activities, Grace Lutheran Church and School will celebrate the 45th Anniversary of its founding with a special Eucharist on Sunday, June 13, at 10:00 a.m. In the procession beginning the Service, the various stages of Grace's growth will be commemorated. Participating in the service will be former pastors of Grace and sons of the parish who have entered into the Holy Ministry.
Grace Church was founded in 1931 by the Rev. Dr. Carl Bergen of Leonia as a mission station of the English District of the Lutheran Church. It first met in a second story room at 405 Cedar Lane. In 1934, the mission was strong enough to call its own pastor, the Rev. Theodore W. Beiderwieden, who served the parish for nearly the next four decades and led it through major growth and mission programs. In 1937, the congregation built and dedicated its worship center at Helen and Claremont, a site that "dear old Grace" used continually until the late 1960's. Pastor Beiderwieden's vision of the future included plans for Lutheran parochial education, and the congregation was able to purchase land on River Road for its projected Church and School facility. Grace Lutheran School was built in 1956 on the River Road property, and served as the educational springboard for many Teaneck children over the next 15 years. In 1973, Grace School changed its program to be an Early Childhood Education Center. it is presently under the direction of the Rev. Larry W. Smith and is planning to include a second grade program to its already popular and growing program of Nursery, Kindergarten and First Grade. A van for transporting children to and from School will also be available in the School program this year.
In the mid-1960's Grace Church sold its building on Helen and Claremont and worshipped for the next few years in the School Foyer. In 1972, the parish completed and opened its new Church and combined its entire facilities at River Road. The present Church facility is air conditioned and includes many of the features of the old building coupled with modern functionalism. Three sons of the parish and residents of Teaneck have entered the Holy Ministry of Grace's history. The Rev. Gary Heice, the Rev. Ronald Johnson, and the Rev. David G. Abrahamson have been ordained at Grace Church over the past 20 years. The Rev. Abrahamson was the first son of the parish from baptism to the ordained into the ministry. He celebrates the second anniversary of his ordination on John 8. Rev. Abrahamson serves as assistant pastor of the Evangelical and Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke in Chicago. His parents reside on Martense Avenue in Teaneck.
Included in the special anniversary festivities will be a dinner-dance at the Imperial Manor. Also being honored that evening will be the Rev. Dr. John S. Damm, who served as assistant pastor and Director of Grace School for 15 years and will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of his ordination on June 15 at an 8:00 pm special service in the Church.
Grace Church and School is presently served by the Rev. Amandus J. Derr, who became Pastor of the Church 1975, the Rev. Larry W. Smith, Director of Grace School since October, 1975 and two other part time assistant pastors. The Rev. William Stubing and the Rev. Ira Derr.
The Rev. Derr will be the celebrant for the anniversary Eucharist with the rev. Dr. Damm as preacher. Pastors Bergen, Beiderwieden, Smith, Stubing, Derr, Abrahamson, Johnson and the Rev. Dr. John H. Tietjen, President of Concordia Seminary in Exile and former assistant at Grace Church will all participate in the service. Grace Lutheran Church and School celebrates God's past blessings with joy and looks forward to a glorious future of mission and ministry in Teaneck.