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REFORMATION LUTHERAN INSTALLING ITS 5TH PASTOR

Feb. 9, 2002 – On Sunday afternoon, Reformation Lutheran Church will install the fifth pastor to serve the congregation in its 35 years of existence — and the first who is African-American.
The Rev. Walter C. Little comes to the St. Thomas congregation after serving churches in Oklahoma City, Okla., and Greenville, Miss. He is a 1995 graduate of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.
The installation service is set for 3 p.m. at the church, located off Weymouth-Rhymer Highway at the Western Auto entrance to Tutu Park Mall. "Our theme to commemorate this event is 'We've Come This Far by Faith,'" Carol DeCastro-Harley, the installation committee chair, said. "We invite the community to join us and welcome Pastor Little as he begins his ministry in the Virgin Islands."
Little succeeds the Rev. Judith Spindt, who was pastor at Reformation from 1996 through 2000. Following her departure, the Rev. Lawrence Baietti served the congregation as interim pastor until the end of last June and continued to serve as supply pastor for worship services until December, when Pastor Little arrived.
Reformation was founded in 1967 as a spin-off of historic Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church, located in downtown Charlotte Amalie, to serve the fast-growing eastern portion of St. Thomas. Its first pastor, the Rev. Charles A. Nelson, actually was called by Frederick for the purpose of organizing the "country" congregation. Ground was broken for the new church building in 1969. Nelson was succeeded by the Rev. Henry Dierk and then the Rev. Lawrence Miller, who served the congregation for 12 years.
Miller had left to accept a call in Atlanta and Reformation was without a pastor when Hurricane Marilyn destroyed the sanctuary roof in 1995. Color photographs of the jagged ruins of the striking A-line architecture made the front pages of newspapers and magazines across the nation as a symbol of the massive damage wrought by the hurricane.
Spindt, sent by the district bishop in Puerto Rico to serve as interim "disaster pastor," was then called by the congregation to be its full-time pastor. She presided over the demolition of the remains of the sanctuary and then the laying of the groundwork for the new structure which has risen in its place. Although the congregation has been worshiping in the new church building for a year, work is not yet completed and the sanctuary has yet to be dedicated.
A reception will follow the Sunday installation ceremony. For further information, call the church office, 775-1022.

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