COPPERAS COVE — Since the 1890s when Copperas Cove was first settled, the Immanuel Lutheran Church has thrived. Now it is celebrating its 120th anniversary with several special services.
On Sunday, the congregation will be blessed with the preaching of a U.S. Army chaplain, said Pastor Robert Wagner.
“Our relationship with Fort Hood dates back to 1894 when families started gathering in their homes to worship. Our families had property there when the land was designated to become a military base and our families were relocated,” Wagner said. “Today, soldiers doing maneuvers on Fort Hood use our hill with the cross on it as a landmark.”
The roots of the church date back to 1891 when the Lutheran family of Jacob and John Faulke came to the Twin Mountain community northwest of Cove by way of the Sante Fe Railroad in 1882. Public worship began and Morgan and Taylor Creek schools were opened in 1896 under the supervision of church leadership.
By 1932, the parochial school served 57 pupils. It closed in 1956 as the Copperas Cove school system grew. The congregation joined the Lutheran Church-Missouri Senate, the second largest group of churches in the United States.
Today, Immanuel Lutheran Church of Copperas Cove averages 60 parishioners filling the pews on Sunday morning, Wagner said.
“Everybody knows everybody. Here, you can get that encouragement you might miss if you were in a larger church,” he said. “Our congregation is made up mainly of farmers and ranchers and many families associated with Fort Hood. Our growth fluctuates as families move in and out of the area.”
Wagner said the strong history of the Cove church has had a direct correlation of growing the Lutheran faith throughout Central Texas. “Over the years, our church has been involved in starting daughter congregations including Trinity Lutheran in Cove, Grace Lutheran in Killeen, and Faith Lutheran in Lampasas. By a miracle of God, we are still here.”