On a clear November day in 1959 a group of Independence citizens gathered on a cornfield at 14500 E. 39th St. to break ground for what was to become the Abiding Savior Lutheran Church.

On a clear November day in 1959 a group of Independence citizens gathered on a cornfield at 14500 E. 39th St. to break ground for what was to become the Abiding Savior Lutheran Church. By March more than 100 gathered to worship in the first phase of an energetic three-structure building program. After years of sacrificial giving, its final sanctuary with seating for 425 was completed in April 1972 and has been a beautiful addition to 39th Street ever since.

While I was not one of the church’s congregants I have been blessed with friendship from some of its members, particularly Niel (President Harry S. Truman impersonator) and the late V.G. Johnson, in whose home we have enjoyed singing Scandinavian songs and eating Scandinavian food, and Jeff Fox who serves as an editor and reporter at The Examiner. 

Thus, I shared some of the sorrow of its members when Abiding Savior was recently closed and the site and buildings were sold.

It is customary to write obituaries for people who pass away, but little is ever said about a wonderful group of people, with their decades of generous social outreach, when they are no longer able to sustain the financial costs of maintaining an active congregation. Members of the Abiding Savior wrote its epitaph in the way they had been taught and lived; by serving others.

The sale of the property brought $300,000. These proceeds were not distributed among the owners as would be done in the corporate world, but donated to a wide range of worthy causes and service organizations – some that share their Lutheran roots and many that do not. For example, $30,000 went to Dana College in Blair, Neb.; $47,000 to Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan.; $40,000 to the Community Services League; and various amounts to Indian missions, the Salvation Army, Parents Without Partners, seminaries to train future leaders, Lutheran World Relief and Disaster Relief funds, Habitat for Humanity, Hope House, MOSCA, the Red Cross, etc.

Their beautiful organ was donated to Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Overland Park, the bells used by their bell choir went to All Saints Lutheran Church in Blue Springs. Various items such as two pianos, tables, chairs, and office equipment were donated to the buyers of the buildings, the Ebenezer Seventh Day Adventist Church.

While Abiding Savior Lutheran Church will be missed, there are 14 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations within driving distance of its former location and nearly 15,000 congregations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The closest two congregations would be Blue Ridge Trinity at 5757 Blue Ridge Blvd., Raytown and All Saints, 421 S.W. 19th St., Blue Springs.

ELCA is headquartered in Chicago.