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A SEED IS PLANTED .  . .

On November 6, 1951, a group of 22 Lutherans held a meeting at the Leesburg Recreation Center with the Reverend A. M. Himes, D. D., of Fruitland Park and the Reverend Martin L. Swanson of Groveland to discuss the possibility of a Lutheran Church in Leesburg.




Those in attendance decided to begin services on Sunday,

November 25, 1951, at the Women's Club.  On April 27, 1952,

the congregation began to worship in the upstairs auditorium of

the Lassiter-Ware Insurance Building. Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

was officially organized on October 26, 1952, as a mission of the

former Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church With 48 adult

and 15 child members.





The charter membership roll was closed on January 1, 1953, with 50 charter members. On January 21, at the first annual congregational meeting, the congregation voted to purchase a lot at 130 Lone Oak Drive, at one time the location of a depot where tree moss was collected and shipped north to make "horse hair." The congregation decided to build as soon as possible.

On December 12, 1954, the new church building was dedicated by the Reverend Thorston Gustafson, D.D., President of the New York Conference of the Augustana Lutheran Church and the cornerstone was laid by the Reverend Arne Andell, President of the Florida District of the Augustana Lutheran Church. A copper box containing the history of the congregation, a hymnal, newspaper reports, and the charter membership list was placed in the cornerstone. By the end of 1954, the Parish Record listed 88 members and 59 enrolled in the Sunday School.

In 1962, the year of Gloria Dei's 10th anniversary, the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church joined with three other Lutheran church bodies to become the Lutheran Church in America. Ten years later, in June 1972, Gloria Dei was honored with the ordination of one of its members, Mr. Donald Hoornstra, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dale Hoornstra.



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