“Rejoicing together in Christ’s love + Sharing it with others”

Messiah.LFS Pinwheel GardenIMG_2087bouncefirst communion

We believe that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ calls us into relationship with others as his church. This is God’s chosen way to our salvation but also the way to an abundant present life. All baptized members of the congregation are called to this faith community as part of “the priesthood of all believers.” We all share in the wider church’s mandate from Christ himself to “preach, teach and baptize.” In doing so, we hope to grow Christ’s church, not just “our” congregation. Baptized members approve the annual budget, call pastors and other servant leaders as needed, and handle other important business matters through our church council, appointed teams, and congregational meetings. We share in all aspects of this mission, and we invite others to join us in relationship. Messiah is wheelchair accessible and welcomes people of all abilities and backgrounds. Come and grow with us!

Building & Strengthening Relationships

shared minWe are located in Mechanicsville, Virginia, serving Hanover County, the greater Richmond area, and beyond. With a very warm and active membership, Messiah Lutheran Church’s mission is “To share the good news of Jesus Christ and to invite all to join us in faith, worship, and service.” Our growing congregation is a member of the Virginia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCAand part of a communion of churches called the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

As our fellow child of God, we invite you to come and grow in grace with us!


*Denotes Interim Pastors

Pastor Lou Florio's Ordination (8 December 2007)

Pastor Lou Florio’s Ordination (8 December 2007). Bishop James Mauney (left) of the Virginia Synod of the ELCA presided.

  • Erich W. Waldek 1966-1969
  • *Frederick Echert: 1969-1970
  • *J. Luther Mauney: 1969-1970
  • Armin Windmueller: 1970-1973
  • Larry Matthews: 1973-1979
  • *Frederick Echert: 1979
  • Jacob L. Mayer: 1979-1985
  • Gary R. Rhinesmith: 1986-1993
  • Stephen L. Moose: 1994-2005
  • *Wally Rosheim: 2005
  • *Timothy F. Waltonen: 2005-2007
  • Lou Florio: 2007-2019


  • September 1, 1966 – The Rev. Erich Waldek began work as Lutheran Church in America (LCA) mission developer to establish a Lutheran congregation in Mechanicsville.
  • November 28, 1966 – The Name “Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church” adopted at a meeting of people interested in organizing a new Lutheran Church in the area.
  • December 18, 1966 – Messiah hold it’s first worship service in the old Mechanicsville Fire House.
  • December 20, 1966 – Present church site (11.5 acres) purchased.
  • March 12, 1967 – First Sunday School held with 16 children and seven adults.
  • May 26, 1968 – Groundbreaking for Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church.
  • November 3, 1968 – Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church is dedicated on All Saints Sunday.
  • December 15, 1968 – Organization day held with 46 confirmed adult members signing the charter.
  • April 20, 1969 – Erich W. Waldek was installed as Messiah’s first Pastor.
  • January 1973 – Mary Key becomes the first woman to serve on our Congregational Council.
  • September – June, 1974 – During this year, Messiah’s original youth group forms and is originally called “The Christian Bunch.”
  • February 7, 1974 – A Lutheran Church Women of America group is chartered at Messiah.
  • April 18, 1976 – Memorial Cross (Atlee Road side of property) dedicated on Easter Sunday (donated in memory of Cleve Newell).
  • November 24, 1976 – Messiah Lutheran, Redeemer Roman Catholic Church, and Church of the Creator Episcopal become the founding congregations of Mechanicsville Churches Emergency Functions (MCEF), today helping our neighbors through a food pantry, clothing closets, emergency financial assistance, senior rides and more.
  • June 1977 – Elsie-Marie Niiler, an Lutheran Church in America (LCA) seminary student attending the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, becomes the first intern hosted by Messiah Lutheran. Mentored by The Rev. Larry Matthews, she also served at St. Matthew’s Lutheran (Henrico).
  • December 1978 – Messiah begins its Foster Children’s Christmas Gift Program. Originally helping those served by local county agencies, it now extends to help foster children cared for by Lutheran Family Services as well.
  • January 1, 1988 – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is formed from the joining of the American Lutheran Church, Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and the Lutheran Church in America.
  • February 14. 1988 – Messiah’s first mortgage was burned during a celebration led by the Rev. Gary Rhinesmith.
  • August 11, 1991 – Ground was broken for new church building, a $420,000 renovation.
  • May 10, 1992 – A cornerstone was laid for the new sanctuary.
  • September 4, 1995 – Messiah Lutheran School opens. MLS operates a pre-school and offers after-school care for elementary aged students.
  • April 28, 1996 – Stained glass windows in sanctuary dedicated.
  • October 25, 1998 – The Atlee Road church sign was dedicated. Bryan Mahovtas made plans for and constructed the sign as part of an Eagle Scout Project.
  • July 2000 – Senior youth from Messiah attend the ELCA’s National Youth Gathering in St. Louis, MO, “Dancing at the Crossroads.”
  • October 12, 2003 – Messiah hosts a 35th Anniversary celebration. Bishop James Mauney preached with Pastor Stephen Moose presiding.
  • December 8, 2007 – Lou Florio was ordained and installed as an ELCA Pastor. This was the first ordination held at Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church.
  • August 5, 2008 – Messiah Lutheran Church joins other ELCA congregations in declaring itself “A Safe Haven for Children.” A special service was held to rededicate the congregation to the service and protection of children and their families.
  • September 1, 2008 – Messiah becomes a “Book of Faith” congregation, an ELCA program encouraging scriptural study. Special themed studies and resources were offered throughout the next three years.
  • October 18, 2008 – Messiah held its first pet blessing and bake sale which became our annual fall festival, CreationFest. Hanover Humane Society was our special guests.
  • November 28, 2008 – Messiah hosts a 40th Anniversary celebration unified service and luncheon. Bishop James Mauney visited to preside at a special worship the previous Sunday.
  • March 1, 2009 – An outdoor classroom shelter was completed by Patrick Collie as part of an Eagle Scout project.
  • July 2009 – Six youth attend the ELCA’s National Youth Gathering in New Orleans, “Jesus, Justice, Jazz.”
  • December 6, 2009 – Sue Gilnett, RN was installed as Messiah’s first Parish Nurse.
  • August 1, 2010 – During a special service of celebration, 200 copies of the new worship book, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, were consecrated. A commemorative book with personal and historical dedications was published.
  • May 19, 2011 – Messiah becomes a covenant congregation with Hanover Habitat for Humanity.
  • June 12, 2011 – The picnic area was renovated by Adam Dworak, Jr. as part of an Eagle Scout project.
  • July 2012 – Four youth attend the ELCA’s National Youth Gathering in New Orleans, “Citizens with the Saints.”
  • September 15, 2012 – Vicar Nathan Huffman becomes Messiah’s second seminary intern; serving at Messiah for his contextual education requirement. The Rev. Louis Florio served as his mentor.
  • February 3, 2013 – Messiah Lutheran becomes the third “Friends for Life Congregation” in Hanover County, a welcoming place for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • November 24, 2013 – On Christ the King Sunday, a 45th anniversary celebration was held. Bishop James Mauney preached with Pastor Lou Florio presiding. A new outside cross and memorial garden (entry side of building) was dedicated along with a new processional cross and banner. A painting of the church building by a local artist, Michael Martin, was commissioned.
  • January 19, 2014 – Messiah Lutheran & All Souls Episcopal newly combined youth group (Fall 2013) host the first-ever youth led service in our county for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Youth from Shady Grove United Methodist Church and Redeemer Roman Catholic Church also participated.
  • May 8, 2014 – Messiah is among the first congregations to join the Worship Watch program of the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. This new program garnered national media attention.
  • July 2015 – Two youth from our Messiah – All Souls combined youth group, Fusion, attend the 2015 National Youth Gathering, “Rise Up!” in Detroit, MI. One youth represented each congregation.
  • August 4, 2015 – Messiah serves as the first congregation in Hanover County to sponsor a National Night Out event for neighbors.
  • June 5, 2016 – The outdoor worship space constructed by Eagle Scout Michael Habron is dedicated.
  • August 26, 2016 – Messiah Lutheran School closes due to declining enrollment.
  • January 15, 2017 – Messiah Lutheran offered free office space for the local non-profit Hanover cares through October 31, 2017 as it welcomed its first full-time paid director, Octavia Marsh. Hanover Cares had recently received a federal grant to expand its mission of drug and alcohol abuse education in county schools.
  • October 29, 2017 – Messiah Lutheran & All Souls Episcopal marked the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a special worship, luncheon and youth activities.
  • November 1, 2017 – The Richmond Conference of ELCA Congregations and Roman Catholic congregations joined in a prayer service marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation at Epiphany Lutheran (Richmond). As current Dean, the Rev. Florio presided with a Roman Catholic colleague.
  • November 2, 2017 – The Episcopal Congregations of Hanover County and Messiah Lutheran concluded the monthly “Reformation 500 Speaker Series” (2017) with a Service of Holy Communion at St. James the Less Episcopal (Ashland).
  • December 3, 2017 – A “10×50=500” celebration was held to celebrate Pastor Florio’s ten years of ordained ministry at Messiah, kick-off Messiah’s 50th anniversary year, and close-out the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
  • February 16, 2018 – During our 50th anniversary year, Pastor Florio was asked to provide this day’s invocation for the Senate of Virginia’s session.
  • March 4, 2018 – Vicar Virginia Banister becomes Messiah’s third seminary intern; serving at Messiah for her contextual education requirement. The Rev. Louis Florio served as his mentor.
  • April 27-28, 2018 – Brother John and Brother Emile of the Ecumenical Community of Taizé led a regional young adult retreat as part of Messiah’s 50th anniversary celebration. Participants came from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and represented Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations. This was also during their 50th anniversary of welcoming of young adult pilgrims in France.
  • June 3, 2018 – To help commemorate the 50th anniversary of Messiah, a photo of the congregation standing in the shape of “50” was taken by a drone during the annual church picnic.
  • June 9, 2018 – The Virginia Synod of the ELCA recognized Messiah for its fifty years of ministry during its annual assembly.
  • November 3, 2018 – The House of Delegates offered official congratulations to Messiah Lutheran on its 50 years of ministry.
  • November 4, 2018 – On All Saints Sunday, a 50th anniversary celebration was held. Assistant to the Bishop and former member, the Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick, preached with Pastor Lou Florio presiding. A new communion set was dedicated. With a 50th anniversary starting goal of $5000, over $11,000 was pledged to the Forwarding Faith Campaign in support of Christian formation programs in the Virginia Synod.


sow seeds

Learn more about our history.

Learn more about our history.

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Visit our complete photo gallery!