The Story behind St. Peter’s Harvest of Blessings
Compared to other congregations in the synod, St. Peter’s is small but it’s still big on ministry. Rooted in the Gospel and the fertile soil of central Texas farming country, the church adapted to many changes and challenges since 1906. Soon after it was chartered St. Peter’s built a large building on Main Street in the farming town of Walling. But the town struggled after a devastating storm and ultimately succumbed when the train depot relocated to nearby Malone. Over time the original townsite was plowed up and its land returned to crop production like the rest of the area. The sole survivor of the town is St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, and the once busy streets of Walling now surround the church with “corn as high as an elephant’s eye.”
The church building is smaller now, and our attendance numbers don’t break any records. Over the years many of the descendants left the area to follow non-farm jobs in the cities. Yet St. Peter’s continues to do ministry for Christ in our Heart of Texas Conference and beyond going on 116 years. We are farmers, educators, county and state employees, professionals, and more.
We see grace working in the harvest of God’s blessings. We see it in the gifts we receive and the gifts we share with our community and beyond. We see it in the church’s ability to adapt to many changes, including the pandemic. Like Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, it begins with the love of God, a seed, and fertile soil. St. Peter’s is small, but we are truly thankful that God’s grace abounds.
The land around St. Peter’s belongs to Betty Penney (Council Secretary and organist). The wheat field featured in the video belongs to Chad Radke (Council President).
Special thanks to:
- Chad Radke who operated the tractors and harvesters.
- Karen Willenborg (church neighbor), Betty Penney, and Mark Penney (Betty’s son) who took the photographs.
- Mark Penney and Chad Radke who recorded the drone footage of the church and surrounding fields of wheat and corn.
- Pr. McCord wrote, produced, and narrated the video