In 1965, a group of Lutherans contacted the New Jersey Synod of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) about the possibility of a mission being started in the rapidly growing community of West Windsor, NJ.
On October 14, 1965, with Mercia Bachmann as their spokesperson, they made an official request to the Synod for such a mission. Just short of a year later, the first Lutheran worship service in West Windsor was held on October 6, 1966 at the Maurice Hawk Elementary School. Officiating was Pastor John Pfisterer who had been called by the Board of American Missions of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) to develop a congregation in West Windsor.
1967: The new mission church
During 1967, the mission church purchased three and a half acres on Princeton Hightstown Road and placed a large sign on this property stating: Future Site of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, now meeting at Maurice Hawk School.
Also during 1967 many activities began in the new mission congregation, some in cooperation with other congregations in the area. There was a Couples' Club; Chrismons were made for the first Christmas Tree; Monthly Pot Luck Suppers held; A Mission School on Sunday evenings; a Women's Group; an Adult Choir led by Pastor Pfisterer; First Confirmation Class; and welfare projects.
1968: Prince of Peace Church is formed
On April 21, 1968, an organizational meeting was held: a congregational council was elected and installed, and Prince of Peace Church became the newest congregation in the New Jersey Synod. John Pfisterer, who until then had been a Mission Developer, was called by the congregation to be its first pastor in June 1968. He served until the end of 1971.
1976: Our first building
Eight years after the Princeton-Hightstown Road property was purchased, the cornerstone of the new church was placed in 1975 and work progressed rapidly. In February 1976 the congregation moved from Maurice Hawk School into their new building with its small but adequate sanctuary (now the community room), and a tall, slender steeple. Dedication was on February 29, 1976, with Pastor Fred Schott presiding.
Approximately twelve years later, the congregation's growth prompted the formation of a new building committee. Plans were presented and work was begun on the addition of a new Sanctuary.
1991: Our present sanctuary
The congregation worshiped in the new sanctuary for the first time on September 15, 1991. A dedication service was held on November 17 with a member of the congregation, Dr. Karlfried Froehlich, preaching and New Jersey Synod Bishop E. Roy Riley attending.
1995: The Cherry Tree Club
The Cherry Tree Club started in 1995 to provide free early childhood education to at-risk children in Mercer County not currently receiving early childhood education. Prince of Peace partnered with HomeFront to provide services to more than 900 children for more than 21 years, until September 2016, when The Cherry Tree Club closed its doors.
2014: Peace Garden
In the spring of 2014, 1800 square feet of land behind The House Next Door was cleared, fenced, and planted with vegetables. The harvest was to be donated to local food pantries. This ministry continues with the help of church and community volunteers, and support from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
2015: The House Next Door
The early 20th-century house next door to the church, purchased in 1996 and used for various purposes, was officially named The House Next Door, and was renovated to host retreats, classes, spiritual counseling, and meetings. Spiritual counseling and direction is offered under the leadership of Pastor Dale Selover.
The church installed a 11-circuit Chartres style labyrinth for members and the public to use for contemplation and walking meditation. The meditation garden surrounding the labyrinth now includes the Memorial Garden, the outdoor worship space, and the butterfly garden.
2018: Our 50th Anniversary
Want even more history?
See the even more detailed History of PoP Church from 1968 through 1993 written by Mercia Bachman and Norman Nuding.
Listing of pastors
|John C. Pfisterer||1968-1971|
|Norman H. Nuding & Herbert E. Anderson||1973-1974||Interim Pastors|
|George Frederick Schott III||1974-1984|
|Margaret Gatter Payne||1984-1991||Part time 2nd pastor, served alone 1984-1986|
|R. Gregg Kaufman||1986-2002|
|Dawn Flink Silvius||1992-1997||2nd pastor; part time at first then full time|
|David J. Lose||1998-2000||2nd pastor, part time|
|Dean R. Brown||2000-2002||Intern|
|Robin Bacon Hoffman||2002-2003||Interim Pastor|
|Carl E. Joecks||2012-2013||Interim Pastor|
|Peter H. Froehlke||2013-present|