Divine Savior's History

The roots of Divine Savior Lutheran Church were planted in the home of Ernest Weiser, Sr. in Schattel, Texas in 1929. A group of Lutheran families had moved from Trinity Lutheran Church in Fedor, Lee County, Texas. In addition to the Ernest Weiser, Sr. family, there were the Louis Kruegers, Herbert Neumanns, and Henry Weisers. Soon after, other families joined including the Reinhold Grafs, Paul Graf, the Martin Grafs, the Alvin Grafs, the Otto Melchers, August Hornbostel, the Bill Hornbostels, and Alvin Hornbostel. As the congregation outgrew the Weiser home, they moved to the Schattel School House in late 1931 or early 1932.

The small Lutheran group asked the Texas District of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (LCMS) to provide them with Pastoral care. The first Pastor to serve them was Rev. E. A. Falsken of St. Paul Lutheran Church in San Antonio. Services were held by Pastor Falsken or various other pastors on every second Sunday of each month. On the remaining Sundays, reading services were led by Gottfried Weiser and Gustav Fischer, Jr. in German and later by Martin Graf, Sr. in English.

In 1936, the congregation was officially organized as St. Peter Lutheran Church and joined the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. It was accepted on June 17, 1942 at the Texas District LCMS Convention. Charter members were Louis Kreuger, Ernest Weiser, Sr. Henry Weiser, Gottfried Weiser, Fred Weiser, Ludwig Weiser, Ernest Weiser, Jr., Bill Hornbostel, Paul Graf and sons, Gerhardt, Martin, Alvin, and Otto Melcher, Gustav Fischer, Jr., and Mrs. Ottilie Neumann and family.

On June 23, 1955, the congregation moved to Pearsall, where services were held in the Presbyterian Church building until completion of the building for St. Peter Lutheran Church.

In 1965, Pastor Brown, Alton and Elizabeth Schroeder, and Clara Weiser began meeting in a private residence on Windy Knoll in Devine, Texas. In 1966, Bill and Margaret Hornbostel, and their daughter Mary, moved their membership from St. Peter Lutheran Church in Pearsall to the congregation in Devine. The new congregation, called Grace Lutheran Church, entered into a Dual-Parish Agreement with St. Peter Lutheran Church and was a mission congregation to St. Peter.

In September 1970 Grace Lutheran Church dedicated the church building (our current Fellowship Hall) at 405 Ingram Road, still acting as a mission congregation. Ernest and Daily Weiser had joined the congregation and were helpful in the building project for the new church building. Rosalie Stricker, a current member of Divine Savior, is their niece.

For a brief period (late 1986 through early 1989), the congregation of Grace Lutheran Church closed. In 1989, Divine Savior Lutheran Church was formed by former members of Grace Lutheran who had a desire in their heart to have a Lutheran Church in Devine Texas and Medina County. A telephone campaign was conducted to contact all interested people in Devine and surrounding communities.

In 1990, Divine Savior began operation as a dual parish congregation with St. Peter Lutheran Church in Pearsall, Texas. Charter Sunday was October 14, 1990. Pastor Bruce Drees was called to serve both congregations. He conducted church services at Divine Savior Lutheran earlier in the morning on Sunday, and he then went to Pearsall to conduct church services at St. Peter Lutheran. Pastor Drees served through May 16, 1993 before accepting a Call to a congregation in East Texas.

In 1994, Divine Savior became an independent congregation. On December 11, 1994, the Rev. David Londenberg was installed as the second Called Pastor of Divine Savior. He served through December 1, 1997 before returning to the Mission Field.

From 1998 through early 2000, the congregation was served by various Vacancy Pastors along with Services of the Word conducted by Laymen of the Congregation. On August 13, 2000, the Rev. Dale Brynestad, a new graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, was installed as the third Called Pastor of Divine Savior. He served through August 10, 2003 before accepting a Call to a congregation in Corpus Christi.

In 2003, Divine Savior entered into a contractual agreement with Odis Doyal to serve as their Lay Minister. Odis had been a lay member of the congregation. In October 2003, Mr. Doyal enrolled in the DELTO program (Distance Education Leading Toward Ordination). He served as a Lay Minister and then as Vicar while taking the necessary courses to become an ordained Pastor. In January 2007, a Building Committee was established to explore of the possibility of expanding the Sanctuary/Fellowship Hall or building a new building.

On May 21, 2010, Odis Doyal completed his DELTO study, and in June 2010 he was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry. He became the fourth Called Pastor of Divine Savior.

On November 14, 2010, the new Sanctuary was dedicated to the glory of God. In May of 2015, Pastor Doyal announced his intentions to retire. He served through November 15, 2015, his last Sunday as our Called Pastor. A Call Committee was established, and during the Vacancy, the Rev. Ken Bunge served the congregation. On March 13, 2016, the Rev. Randall Wehmeyer was installed as the fifth Called Pastor of Divine Savior.

Divine Savior remembers with great fondness and appreciation all the Pastors who filled in during the periods of time when the Church had no Pastor. While it is impossible to list every Pastor who served our congregation, we would like to recognize those who served regularly during times of vacancy. They are listed in alphabetical order:

Pastor Norman Abbott Pastor Edward Schneider Pastor David Ebs

Pastor Ernest Schoenborn Pastor Louis Oetting Pastor Richard Snyder

Pastor Louis Redmann Pastor Rudy Wendel

Without these and other Pastors who were willing to give their time and service, Divine Savior may not have been able to continue as a congregation blessed with Word and Sacrament ministry here in Devine.

In 2019, an Anniversary Committee was established to make plans to celebrate the 30th/55th Anniversaries of Divine Savior/Grace Lutheran Churches in the year 2020. All four former Called Pastors of the congregation preached at special services throughout the year. On October 4, 2020, the Rev. Mike Newman, President of the Texas District LCMS, served as the Guest Proclaimer in an afternoon service to celebrate 30 Years of God’s blessings.

We are grateful for our past and the blessings that the Lord has provided for His people at Divine Savior. We look forward to the future with hope, faith, and anticipation knowing the promise that the Lord gave to His people in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” To God alone be the glory!