Apostles Lutheran Church, formerly known as Gloucester Lutheran Church, began in 1981 as a satellite of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Yorktown, Virginia.
First Worship 1981 at Botetourt Lodge
The first worship service was held on April 26, 1981 at the Botetourt Masonic Lodge in Gloucester Courthouse,led by the Rev. Ralph W. Spears. In September 1983, the congregation became chartered and subsequently approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia as an Independent Lutheran Church.
Groundbreaking for Building 1984
Land was purchased and in May 1984, ground was broken for the construction of a church building. Because of financial constraints, the congregation voted to assume a majority of the construction responsibility. ln June 1986, with the church building not yet complete, the congregation was invited by Ware Episcopal Church to use their Chapel of the Christ Child for worship services. The cross on the front of the future church was dedicated on August 10, 1986.
New Building Dedicated September 13, 1987
On Palm Sunday, April 12, 1987, almost three years after breaking ground, the congregation worshiped for the first time in the church building. The building was dedicated on September 13, 1987.
Congregation becomes part of the ELCA 1988
On May 13, 1988, Apostles Lutheran Church became a congregation of the Virginia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
The Rev. Theodore M. Schulz was called as Apostles' first ELCA pastor in October 1988 and was installed on December 4, 1988. Construction of fellowship and classroom space in the church basement was completed and dedicated in 1990. Pastor Schulz left Apostles to accept a call to Shepherd of the Valley Church in Bridgewater, Virginia on November 1, 1996. The Rev. Charles H. Mayer served as Vice Pastor during the pastoral vacancy.
The Rev. R. Paul Schafer was called as Pastor of Apostles Lutheran Church and began his service on November 9, 1997. Pastor Paul was installed on February 15, 1998.
New Sanctuary 2003
Ground was broken for a new sanctuary on April 21, 2002. On Palm Sunday, April 13, 2003, the congregation worshiped for the first time in the new sanctuary. The new sanctuary and furnishings were dedicated on September 14, 2003.
Pastor Paul left Apostles to accept a call to St. Mark Lutheran Church in Wheeling, West Virginia on May 1, 2004.
The Rev. James R. Larsen was called as Pastor of Apostles Lutheran Church and began his service July 1, 2005. Pastor Jim was installed on July 31, 2005. Under Pastor Jim and wife Terri's guidance music became a significant part of worship and continues to be so. Apostles became well known for outreach both locally and in the world at large. Apostles, through Pastor Jim, has been and continues to be involved in many local organizations including Bread for Life, Gloucester-Mathews Care Clinic, Gloucester Housing Partnership, and G.U.E.S.T. among others. Beginning with Hurricane Katrina, Apostles work teams assisted with disaster reconstruction in New Orleans, New Jersey and West Virginia. In 2018, after thirteen years at Apostles, Pastor Jim announced that he would be retiring from the ministry effective July 1, 2018.
In September 2018, the Rev. Judith Cobb began serving as Interim Pastor at Apostles. Pastor Judy helped ensure the continuation of worship and opportunities for growing in faith at Apostles. With 33 years under call she proved a valuable resource in knowledge and understanding to council and the congregation as they prepared for the calling of a new pastor. A call committee was formed and the call process gotten underway. Pastor Cobb officiated her last worship service at Apostles on July 28, 2019. We at Apostles thank her for all she did for us and we wish her the very best in her continuing service to God.
Pete Liljeberg was installed at Apostles on July 28, 2019 and kept office hours and provided general ministerial care to the congregation as we continued our call process. Pete underwent deacon training and authorization while at his previous church. He brought his passion for service along with his family to Apostles about three years before. By following the Holy Spirit, As a recently retired physician, Pete was indeed the right person at the right time for Apostles. Authorized by the Bishop of the Virginia Synod, Pete served until a rostered pastor was called and began their service on November 3, 2019. Pete continued in service to the congregation as council member and ministry team leader.
In July, 2019, the Rev. Elizabeth Yates began serving as Vice Pastor at Apostles- she worked alongside Dr. Pete, met with the Congregation Council and was available to perform weddings, baptisms, funerals and provide pastoral oversight. Pastor Liz served until a rostered pastor was called by Apostles. Even in retirement, Pastor Liz continues to seek and find new and significant ways to serve God and the community at large.
On November 3, 2019, the Rev. Jeniffer Tillman officially began serving as our rostered pastor. Pastor Jeniffer came to us from Georgia by way of California, Alaska, Madagascar and New York. She received her B.S. in Psychology and Minor in Theater from the University of Georgia in 2010 and a Master of Divinity in Theology from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in 2014. She is a trained Lutheran Maggid, (a Storyteller who is usually Jewish), has served as supply pastor and chaplain in numerous churches as well as a year in mission work in Africa. A lifelong Lutheran, Pastor Jeniffer brought with her an interest in theater, music and serving the church and community.
Pastor Jeniffer led Apostles through the difficult years of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was facilitated by bringing worship into the homes of members and friends virtually, at first with recorded services and eventually with live streaming. Also during this time she developed and introduced the Seasons of Stewardship to the congregation and the Virginia Synod and had a role in seeing Apostles Lutheran become a Reconciling in Christ Congregation.
Pastor Jeniffer's call at Apostles ended on October 6, 2022. Apostles is thankful for her service and wishes her the best for the future.
As of January 1, 2023, the Rev. Joseph A. Serafin, (“please feel free to call me Pastor Jay”), was appointed by Bishop Humphrey and the Virginia Synod, along with a vote of Apostles Church Council, to the position of Interim Pastor at Apostles. He came to the Virginia Synod via the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, where he had served over the past 33 years in two parish settings, most recently serving the Brandonville-Ringtown parish for over 27 years. Jay and his wife Jamie moved to Williamsburg in September 2022 after purchasing a house there earlier. Academically, he graduated from Penn State with a degree in religious studies and from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (now known as United Lutheran Seminary) with a Master of Divinity degree. As his call to Apostles is part time, office hours, generally Monday and Wednesday from 10am-1pm, may vary according to other congregational or synod events, but he is available for emergencies and important information at any time. Pastor Jay is thankful to serve as Pastor at Apostles and looks forward to God’s grace working in us and through us as we share the good news together here and in the world.