United in Christ
Lutheran School


Salam Lutheran Church, Farrar, Missouri

Trinity Lutheran Church, Altenburg

United in Christ Lutheran School

On February 18, 2010, a committee representing Concordia, Salem and Trinity Lutheran Churches met for the first time to brainstorm ideas on how an association school might be established. In 2007, an attempt at an association school, involving more East Perry County congregations had failed. 

The committee in 2010 consisted of the pastors and a lay representative from just three area congregations: Concordia, Frohna; Salem, Farrar; and Trinity, Altenburg. Representing both Salem School and CTLS were the principals and a teacher from each school. After numerous committee meetings, much research and two joint congregational informational meetings, a vote was take on August 1, 2010 in all three congregations to see if they favored the idea of an association school. The three congregations accepted the proposal to establish United in Christ Lutheran School (UCLS), an association school for preschool through eighth grade by a combined 77% majority. The vote also indicated that the school would be located on the campus of Concordia Lutheran Church beginning in the fall of 2011. The proposed UCLS Constitution was accepted and two voting members from each congregation were elected to represent them on the UCLS board of education with the three pastors and the principal acting as non-voting advisory members. 

UCLS has as a foundation a strong heritage of Lutheran schools in East Perry County. After the Saxon immigration in 1839, Lutheran schools were established right along with their churches in their own communities by the Saxons and other Lutheran forefathers. Before actual school buildings were erected, classes were held in homes, parsonages or church buildings. Trinity’s first school building was dedicated in the spring of 1841. After holding classes in the old church structures for a number of years, Concordia built its first brick school building in 1883. In the fall of 1957, Trinity and Concordia combined their resources to form Concordia-Trinity Lutheran School which has operated in various buildings and classroom formats until 1969 when each congregation built their own new school. These two schools housed CTLS until May, 2011. 

Immigrants from Saxony and Hanover moved into the Farrar area in the 1850’s, first starting a Christian day school in 1867, which met in their church building. In 1892, Salem built their first brick school house. They built another school building in 1926. Both of those buildings were eventually razed and a new school building was dedicated in 1958 and classes were held there until May, 2011.

Whereas CTLS’s and Salem’s combined enrollment peaked to well over 200 per year in the past, enrollment had recently declined. To ensure a solid and continuing quality Christian Day School based on the beliefs of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, the idea of an association school came into being Once the approval was given to move ahead with the new school, the board of education met relentlessly to lay the groundwork necessary to start a new school. Along with all the legal and Synodical paperwork necessary to establish a new school, plans ensued on facility and faculty needs. Concordia’s congregation, who owns the building, had agreed that a two-classroom addition would better accommodate six classrooms than alternate options. Groundbreaking for the addition took place on February 13, 2011. With volunteer labor from all three congregations and even from individuals outside the congregations, a target completion date was set for August 1, 2011. 

The calling process began in December, 2010. On February 20, 2011, Miss Cheryl Honoree, who served CTLS as a teacher/principal, accepted the call to serve as UCLS’s first principal. The remaining faculty were called or contracted in the weeks and months to follow with the UCLS’s inaugural faculty being: Robyn Koenig to teach Grades 7 & 8; Debbie Lichtenegger to teach Grades 5 & 6; Laura Goodson to teach Grades 3 & 4; Whitney Pohlman to teach Grades 1 & 2; Nelda Koeberl to teach Kindergarten, Ashley Pedrosa to teach Preschool, Sarah Benkendorf to teach math, and Eric Seibel to teach band. On February 13, 2011, a UCLS PTL was established. Immediately, they became active with projects such as purchasing and assembling playground equipment, taking orders for UCLS school shirts, undertaking fundraisers and organizing projects that they will sponsor throughout the school year. 

A school bus was purchased on June 29, 2011. The bus shuttles students from Farrar and Altenburg to their school in Frohna and back again. 

The support staff hired for the first year at UCLS were as follows: Secretary/P.E. teacher—Crystal Verseman; cook—Sara Grebing; teachers’ aides—Sarah Benkendorf and Tina Hadler; bus driver—Duane Wunderlich and band teacher—Eric Seibel. 

Any congregation of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod within a reasonable distance may become a member of the United in Christ Lutheran School Association by following standards as set out in the Constitution of the Concordia, Salem and Trinity Lutheran School Association.

Many heartfelt thanks go to so many people for their prayers, work, support, enthusiasm, excitement and trust which helped to make UCLS “OUR” school. Also, many thanks to all three association congregations, to CTLS and Salem schools and to individuals for their generous contributions of money, furniture, equipment, books, supplies, labor, etc. With all praise and glory to our Lord and Savior, United in Christ Lutheran School became a reality with its first day of school on August 18, 2011.