Our Short History
Lutherans are an odd bunch, especially in the American South. But as we often say, "I wasn't born in the South, but I got here as fast as I could." It's good to be here. It's good to be part of something older, stronger, and bigger than we are. And it's always good to have friends.
The roots of Friendship's founders can be traced to the Palatinate region of West Germany in the mid 1700's. They immigrated to America in the period from 1740 through 1760. Most of the immigrants were naturalized in Philadelphia and then settled in the area in and around Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After farming for one generation in Pennsylvania, they were lured to the piedmont region of the North Carolina colony with the promise of mild winters, fertile soils, and cheap land. They originally settled in what is now northern Catawba County in the 1760's.
In the early 1800's, again feeling the need for adequate acreage for their large farming families, they migrated across the Catawba River into present day Alexander County. The unpredictable flooding nature of the Catawba River made it impossible at times to travel to Lutheran churches in Catawba County for baptisms, weddings, burials, and catechetical instruction for their children. The little community of Germans settlers grew in the early 1830's until the need for a church on the north side of the Catawba River became a necessity. The original idea began as a "meeting house" for the community where all denominations and beliefs could come to worship at set times. Not entirely by coincidence, three of the founders of the meetinghouse were Lutherans - Daniel Fry, Daniel Bowman, and George Deal. The fourth, Nimrod Lundsford, was of the Baptist persuasion. The four men entered into an agreement on August 16,1832 to provide 3.5 acres of land for a meetinghouse. A log structure was built on the property and in 1833 Friendship was officially organized. Church services were held in the old log structure until 1858 when one acre of land was purchased across the road and a new eight-sided church building was constructed. The church building survived the Civil War without damage and served the congregation until 1960 when a new, larger building was constructed to replace the old church. The church has continued to acquire additional property until it now has over 25 contiguous acres to serve its needs well into the 21st. Century and beyond. In 2004 a Family Life building was constructed to serve God's needs within the church and the community.
Like most churches, Friendship has endured more strife from within than from outside sources. With help and guidance from the Holy Spirit, Christ's congregation at Friendship continues to flourish.
If a more detailed history is wanted, the complete history is available in the book; I Have Called You Friends-The Story of Friendship. The book is available for a small fee by contacting the church office.
Since 1832, the people of Friendship have gathered to celebrate what God is doing in our midst. When we gather for worship, we rejoice in the hearing of God's Word; we sing God's praise with music; we celebrate God's presence in both Holy Communion and Holy Baptism. After we gather to be fed by our Lord and called his friends, the people of Friendship go into the broken world to share the friendship of Jesus Christ and proclaim the gospel to all we encounter.
We are located on a nearly 25-acre site in the Wittenburg community of Alexander County. We have over two and a half acres of parking, a nearly 12,000 sq. ft. fellowship hall, plus the main church building. Our property also includes a large church cemetery.