Low’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is one of the oldest Lutheran Churches in North Carolina, and one of the older churches in Guilford County dating back to 1771 or earlier. It is a congregation with a rich history. Nearby are the Alamance Battleground State Historic Site (marking conflict between backcountry settlers and the Royal Governor’s militia in 1771--predating the Revolutionary War). Other sites of historic interest dating to the Revolutionary War through the Civil War period are also located in the area.
Low’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is located on the Old Trading Path which ran from Hillsborough to Salisbury and was in use as early as the 1720’s. It is presumed to be one of the oldest Lutheran meeting houses in the German settlement. Low’s Church is located about two miles south from the Alamance Battleground on Highway 61. Low’s, originally called Lau’s, has a most obscure early history, akin to its sister congregation in the area, Brick Reformed Church. However, there appears to be much more hearsay evidence published to point to a much earlier organization date for Low’s Lutheran Church than the 1771 date that has been generally accepted to be correct.
Low’s Church was a Union Church, sharing its meeting place with the German Reformed people of the immediate vicinity. The German Reformed people are said to have left Lau’s amidst some type of disagreement and built their own place of worship, known as Der Klapp Kirche, or Brick Church, or the Church on Beaver Creek. The alliance of these two congregations is supported by virtually every source where mention is made of either congregation.
The Reverend D.I. Offman in his “History of Low’s Evangelical Lutheran Church” says that Low’s Church stands on land that “was the property of Conrad Lau (Low)…” and that “he deeded the land to his son, David Low July 8, 1773.” In moving into the area enclosed by Great Alamance, Beaver, and Stinking Quarter Creeks, it is said that “in the autumn of 1748 at the spring at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church…some immigrants from Pennsylvania traveling south on the Old Hillsboro Road camped.” It is presumed that this group of immigrants were some of the founders of Low’s Lutheran Church.
The evidence pointing to a Low’s establishment date earlier than 1771 lies chiefly in the information that the Reformed congregation and their Lutheran partners heard sermons preached by a Swiss Reformed minister named Martin in 1759. It is not known whether these early settlers heard the Gospel in a meeting house erected specifically for that purpose or whether the group gathered in someone’s cabin, or even under the trees. This information seems to indicate that Low’s Church is older than its officially recognized foundation of 1771.
The first building for Low’s Church was a log structure and was used by both Lutheran and Reformed congregations. The second building was a frame structure built in 1841. It was used until 1889 when the third building was constructed.
The only remaining structure from the earliest days of Low’s is a “dry” (no mortar) stone wall. The wall encloses a portion of the Low’s cemetery, and the stones have been reset over the decades. The cemetery itself includes grave markers dating back to the early 1800’s (a few early ones in German) with unmarked burials from the previous century.
A recreational building was constructed in 1950, under Reverend Q.O. Lyerly’s pastoral leadership, near the main church. A Parish Education Building was built by the congregation in 1958 at a cost of $65,000 under the leadership of Reverend Donald Woolly.
The fourth “House of Worship” was dedicated on July 11, 1971. The sanctuary was built at a cost of $176,000. The church is modern in every way. It has a free standing altar and the choir is located in the back and middle of the nave (sanctuary). The tower and cross are between the nave and the educational building, with the two buildings connected by a covered walkway. Reverend Paul Moose was pastor at the time of the construction.
The 1980’s have been very exciting years at Low’s Church. The sanctuary was paid off in 1980 with the note burning service held on February 3, 1980. With the mortgage paid, the sanctuary, educational building, church hut, parsonage, and athletic complex have a value of over $900,000. Reverend William Rhyne served as the pastor during the 1980’s.
Low’s continues to seek ways to serve and grow in Christ in the 21st century while honoring our past.. The re-establishment of a homecoming celebration in May 2014 has helped the church reconnect with its roots. The development of a website, an automated telephone and e-mail contact system, and consideration of other new ways of outreach are pointing us to the future.