Morning Star Lutheran Church Dates to 1775

Share this:

Morning Star Lutheran Church’s official address is Matthews, but its history parallels that of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Mint Hill. It was established around 1775 by German immigrants who traveled the Great Wagon Road and settled near present-day Idlewild Road on the outskirts of the Scots-Irish settlement called “Clear Creek.” Morning Star Lutheran is believed to be the oldest Lutheran church in Mecklenburg County and one of the oldest Lutheran churches in North Carolina.

Though the two groups of settlers came from diverse backgrounds and spoke different languages, their isolation in the Carolina backwoods gave them a common bond. Each congregation built log churches in their respective communities – the Scots-Irish Presbyterians on Clear Creek and the German Lutherans on Crooked Creek in Morningstar Township. Before moving to Crooked Creek, the Germans had settled in the Buffalo Creek area in what is now Cabarrus County.

The Lutherans worshipped in the log church building on Crooked Creek until it burned in 1906. Using lumber milled by the Stinson family and bricks handmade on site, they built the white-framed wood chapel that still stands today on Idlewild Road. Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Ruth Rice Teeter, a church member, the building was renovated several years ago and is today a popular venue for weddings and other special occasions.

The Presbyterians moved from their original site to a second site in 1780 on present-day Matthews-Mint Hill Road and finally to their present location on Bain School Road in 1826. That’s when the Presbyterians asked their Lutheran neighbors to show them how to make brick.

“These people {the Lutherans} proved good neighbors in many ways,” notes Russell Martin Kerr in The Presbyterian Gathering on Clear Creek. “According to tradition, it may have been one of the chief reasons that Philadelphia planned a brick building. The German settlers in Pennsylvania had built the Conestoga wagons that helped bring the first Scot Presbyterians to the Back Country of North Carolina. Now they shared their knowledge of making brick with their Presbyterian neighbors. These artisan farmers taught them the art of brick making and no doubt helped them set the kiln for firing the brick near Isaac Orr’s spring. Thus, an ecumenical effort gave Philadelphia the distinction of the first Presbyterian brick meeting house in the county.”

Per Morning Star’s website (, circuit-riding ministers from Concord and Salisbury held services at Morning Star twice a year until regular services began in 1902. That’s when the church began sharing the services of the Rev. M. Q. Boland with St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Monroe. In 1955, Morning Star became a single-church parish, with the Rev. Robert B. Lineberger as the first full-time pastor. The congregation eventually outgrew the chapel and built a new sanctuary across the road in 1960. More additions occurred in 1975, 1983, 2000, and 2012. Today Morning Star Lutheran Church is a vibrant, thriving congregation with many community outreach programs.

Correction: Last week’s column should have noted that Ginny Edelen was instrumental in the founding of Mint Hill Arts.

Share this: