St Paul Lutheran Hymn and Organ Festival


On August 27 at 4:00 pm, St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Rochester, Ohio, will present a hymn festival to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517, Dr. Martin Luther wrote to Albert of Mainz and presented his 95 Theses on the power and efficacy of indulgences. This hymn festival also acknowledges the 50 year journey the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church have taken in moving from conflict to closer communion.

Special guest at the festival is organist Tom Gerke, who was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul and became an organist during high school at Christ Lutheran Church, Dowling. While attending Capital University in Columbus, he continued studying organ for two years with Professor David Britton and two years with Dr. William Haller. In May 1970, while a junior in college, Gerke won a competition for organists under age 25 in greater central Ohio sponsored by the Columbus Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Having earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Math Education from Capital and Ohio University, Gerke taught math in the Columbus area for 35 years and recently retired. He has continued as organist of All Saints Lutheran Church in Worthington, where he has played for 41 years.

Gerke is a member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and serves as treasurer of the Columbus Chapter. He is also Dean of the Columbus Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and President of the Ohio Chapter of the Palatines to American German Genealogy Society. With Mayor Gustava Oberhouse, he established the Pemberville/Roedinghausen Friendship Communities Agreement of 1995.

St. Paul invites area churches to our Reformation Celebration and all are invited to stay and enjoy a German supper following the program.