community of Bylas was served by traveling Lutheran missionaries from
1903 to 1920. The church was any of the camps in the area.
The parsonage was a newspaper covered cot under a mesquite trees.
Later on there was also an office: a barn with a desk in the loft and
hay for the missionary's horse underneath. There has been a resident
missionary in Bylas since 1920, and it was not uncommon for the missionary to also serve the mining towns of Safford and Morenci. Some, like Missionary Ernst Sprengler (1930-1947), were both pastor
and principal of the Christian elementary school that was started at the
Lutheran Mission in Bylas. Our Savior's Lutheran Church no longer has
an elementary school in operation, but still has a thriving church and
ministry in the Bylas community.
On the Southern most point of the San Carlos Reservation on US HWY 70 at mile marker 295
Mailing Address: Our Savior's Lutheran295 US Hwy 70Box 18Bylas, AZ 85530-0018
Day Lutheran Church began in a reconstructed soldiers' reading room
brought from Ft. Apache. Instead of being torn down, the building was
given to the Lutherans in the area. They took it apart piece by
piece, moved it three miles, and put it back together for worship in the
Canyon Day community.
decades, the smaller communities on the Ft Apache Reservation were
served by missionaries working together traveling and traveling each
week to hold services and visit the various camps. They were assisted
by more than a dozen vicars an evangelists. Since 1982, Canyon Day has
been served by the missionary at East Fork. They continue to worship on
the same site, but in a newer facility constructed next door to the old
converted reading room.
onto Highway 73 East stopping at the second Canyon Day entrance: East
Street. Turn right into Canyon Day veering to the left onto East Street
and follow the road down about 1 mile to 705 East Canyon Day Road.
Mailing Address: Canyon Day LutheranBox 894Whiteriver, AZ 85926-0872
of the Mountain Lutheran Church began almost a century ago when
residents of Cedar Creek made bricks on the river bank in the center of
the community and carried them up the hill behind it to build a church.
The little church on the hillside continues to be open, welcoming the
residents of Cedar Creek to worship each Sunday. They are served by the
Lutheran pastors of the Fort Apache Reservation.
of Highway 73 in the town of Cedar Creek. Coming from the East - look
up to the left to see a rocky staircase ascending to a beautiful
Mailing Address: Shepherd of the Mountain Lutheran ChurchBox 80010Cibecue, AZ 85911-0010
October 10, 1893, two WELS seminary graduates, George Adascheck and
John Plocher, volunteered to work among the Apache people. They arrive
on October 10, 1893 in San Carlos on the San Carlos Apache reservation
where they learned their permission to be there had not yet been
approved by the military authorities. They left that post and pitched
two tents about nine miles away at the fort at Peridot, where they
gained permission to stay. Chief Cassadore graciously allowed them to
use ten acres where the Peridot Lutheran Mission has been located ever
since. Faithful Christians continue to come to the Peridot Lutheran
Mission today to hear God's Word every Sunday in church and send their
children to learn God's Word in the elementary school.
on the San Carlos Reservation in the town of Peridot, off of Hwy 70 on
the same campus as the Peridot-Our Savior’s Lutheran School. Take Indian
Highway 170 and go 1 mile north. We are on the left or West side.
Mailing Address: Peridot Lutheran 1 Mile North on Hwy 170Box 118Peridot, AZ 85542 -0118
In 1911, a missionary from the East
Fork Lutheran Mission was sent 50 miles west to the community of
Cibecue. A small mission chapel was constructed in Lower Cibecue with
the missionary also operating a school program. In the 1920's, as local
people began moving several miles up the river, a second chapel was
built in Upper Cibecue.
The main base of ministry
was consolidated in the 1970's on the Upper Cibecue site called
Gethsemane Lutheran Church. The school program functioned until the
1990's, and the church today continues to be an active part of the
community. The people of Cibecue continue to eagerly hear about Jesus
in both the English and Apache languages each week.
The little mission at Lower Cibecue also still stands, serving as a historical marker and used on special occasions.
the White Mountain Reservation west of the main State Highway 60 - turn
left onto Indian Rt 12 and travel approximately 12 miles, turning onto
West Cromwell Rd
Mailing Address: Gethsemane LutheranPO Box 80010Cibecue, AZ 85911-0010
A twisted cedar tree still stands on the East Fork Mission campus. It's seen many changes in the last 122 years.
In 1896 Missionary Paul Mayerhoff was
assigned the Fort Apache Indian Reservation as his field of service.
Given friendly passage from Chief Cassadore of Peridot to visit the
land of Chief Alchesay in the White Mountains, Mayerhoff set up camp
under the old cedar tree on the banks of the East Fork of the White
As the years went by, a church was built, a
school established, a nursery flourished for a time caring for
approximately 6,000 people during its years of operation, and a training
school for Native adults to be equipped for ministry began.
Today the tree still stands, but the
landscape around it is drastically changed, and incredibly blessed with
East Fork Lutheran Church, East Fork Lutheran School, and the Apache
Christian Training School all continuing to share Jesus from that campus
to the wider community.
the South - travel north on Hwy 60 until you reach Hwy 73 which only
goes East. Take this until Hwy 46 also called Fort Apache Rd and travel
4.3 miles to turn right into East Fork Mission. The school is on your
right, the church to the left.
East Fork Lutheran4325 Fort Apache RdWhiteriver, AZ 85941
Mailing Address: East Fork LutheranBox 894Fort Apache, AZ 85926
in the Pines initially began missionaries from Whiteriver traveled to
serve the logging towns of Maverick and McNary. With its mill, McNary
was the home of a thriving lumber industry and many White Mountain
Apache Tribal members. A church was constructed and Shepherd in the
Pines was served from 1948 until 1986 by missionaries until the lumber
mill closed and most people moved out of town.
In 2002, when the town was reinvigorated by new housing developments, regular services were restarted and continue today.
north from Whiteriver approximately 25 miles following signs to McNary
which is 3 miles east of Hon dah. The church is located at 120
Everygreen Rd just off to your right.
Mailing Address: Shepherd in the Pines LutheranB0x 333McNary, AZ 85930-0333
Lutheran Church began in September of 1918 when the recently ordained
Rev. Alfred Uplegger was sent from Globe to be a missionary in San
Carlos, AZ. It wasn't long though, before he was on the move again.
The entire town of San Carlos was relocated due to the rising waters
behind the newly constructed Coolidge Dam. The tufa-stone chapel in
“old” San Carlos was dismantled and moved to Peridot and used in the
construction of a Christian elementary school.
Missionary Uplegger moved upriver to the new site of San Carlos,
located at an old military camp known as Rice. A new tufa-stone church
was built in the new downtown San Carlos in 1921, and Missionary
Uplegger served there until his retirement in 1977.
he served as the pastor, he also invited his father, Dr. Francis
Uplegger to live and work with him. Dr. Uplegger, called "the
Gentleman Missionary" by the Apache people whom he served, lived in San
Carlos from 1927 until his death in 1964. He served as the Superintendent of the Apache mission field
and was instrumental in transcribing the Apache language.
on Hwy 70 turn north in Peridot onto Indian Hwy 170. Travel
approximately 4 miles and turn right into down town San Carlos. Travel
about 1.5 miles and just before the end of the road turn left into the
church parking lot.
Mailing Address: Grace LutheranBox 27Bylas, AZ 85550-0027
1910, newly ordained E. Edgar Guenther was assigned to start a school
in the East Fork area of the Fort Apache reservation. Arriving in 1911,
he worked faithfully, but noticed that the center of reservation
activity was quickly moving away from Ft. Apache to the new community of
With permission he started holding services there.In
1918, something happened that would change the course of his work.
During a flu epidemic, Missionary Guenther and his wife, Minnie, rode
to the camps to help. Taking rendered skunk oil, Epson salts, tar paper
and gallons of soup, they attempted to treat flu victims as best they
day they found Chief Alchesay in a remote camp, close to death. The
Lord spared his life, and Missionary Guenther kept returning to give him
the Words of life from the Bible.
was the beginning of a close friendship that led to Missionary Guenther
being adopted as a blood member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
1919 the Guenther's moved to Whiteriver permanently, eventually living
in a home they ordered from the Montgomery Ward catalog. In 1922 the
church they were building next door with their members was completed.
On the day of the dedication of the Church of the Open Bible, Alchesay
himself turned the key, marched to the front of the church and was
baptized together with 100 members of his Tribe.
church stands to this day, still filled with members of the White
Mountain Apache Tribe coming to hear the Bible opened and the Word
of God preached.
Travel on Hwy 73 straight into Whiteriver, about the middle of downtown, look for 18 W Oak St.
Mailing Address: Lutheran Church of the Open BibleBox 519Whiteriver, AZ 85941-0519