On Sunday, September 12, 2010, Faith Lutheran Church, 6600 Woodrow Avenue, Austin, held several special events as part of its 60th anniversary. Faith Lutheran is one of eight churches established in the Brentwood and Crestview neighborhoods in the early 1950s.
The day of celebration began at 9 a.m. with a special service and rededication of the church’s refurbished pipe organ. Sunday School Rally Day and a kick-off of youth activities for the school year followed the morning service.
The 4 p.m. organ concert (with free-will offering) featured a multimedia presentation, Words of Albert Schweitzer and the Music of Bach, with Sam Bauer performing Bach on the church’s Hook and Hastings pipe organ. Sam has been the church’s organist since the early 1970s. The church also has an impressive, stained-glass, traditional Rose Window. A light reception followed both the morning service and the concert.
Possibly best known as a physician, philosopher, and recipient of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, Albert Schweitzer also was a music scholar and organist. He was dedicated to the rescue, restoration, and study of pipe organs, and he made a number of commercial recordings performing Bach on the organ.
Faith Lutheran Church’s pipe organ was moved from a storage barn in Illinois to Austin in 1969. Over the next three years, the 34-rank organ, with 1,896 pipes, was restored by master pipe organ builder Otto Hofmann and dedicated members of Faith Lutheran’s congregation.
The son of German immigrants, Otto Hofmann was born in 1918 on a cotton farm in Kyle, Texas. When he was 18, he built his first organ for his home church in Kyle, and in 1954 he moved to Austin in an effort to expand his business. In 1980 he was elected the first American president of the International Society of Organ Builders. After working as an organ builder for more than 50 years, Otto retired in 1988 to “do a little acting,” as he described it. Shortly before he passed away in 2001, he had a role in Richard Linklater’s film Waking Life.
Interestingly, Otto met his second wife, Margret Hofmann, at a talk by Albert Schweitzer. Margret was a member of the Austin City Council in the 70s and is known as Austin’s Tree Lady, working for four decades to protect Austin’s trees. She also was a peace activist who envisioned something greater than tolerance. “Why tolerate one another?” she said. “We should, instead, embrace one another.”
In June 2010, the council designated a tiny park across from Austin City Hall as Margret Hofmann Oaks, in honor of her. Margret passed away on Thursday, February 2, 2011. You can read more about her life here.
In 2015, Faith Lutheran Church celebrated its 65th anniversary on two Sundays—September 27 and October 11.
For more information, contact the church office at 512-451-1116 or check this link.
Copyright 2015 Susan Burneson. All rights reserved.