A brief history of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church
The missionary work of Rev. George Cronenwett led to the establishment of the first Lutheran church in the community. Under the leadership of Rev. C. Raths, a simple frame building was erected in 1867 on what is now our west parking lot. On June 7, 1869, St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church was formally organized and its first constitution was adopted.
Increasing membership and lack of space resulted in a resolution in May of 1882 to replace the old frame structure with a new church built of brick and stone. It was located where the present building is located at the corner of Church and Ottawa Streets.
In the spring of 1897, the congregation authorized the hiring of the first teacher for our Christian Day School, which met in the old frame church. A new school and Parish Hall were dedicated in December, 1912. The Parochial School closed its doors in 1929, but the hall stood until 1959.
By 1923 the congregation was again outgrowing its worship space. The old brick building was razed in April of 1926 to permit construction of our present church. The cornerstone was laid in August 1926, and the beautiful new sanctuary was dedicated to the service of the Triune God on November 6, 1927 as the huge front doors were unlocked and Rev. Brandt led the congregation singing into the new building. Total cost of the new church and furnishings was $169,000.
Through the years many things have been added to the church: side pews, the communion rail, stained-glass windows, the carillon, the Schantz pipe organ, and a cross for the steeple. In 1960 the Educational Unit, built where the former Parish Hall/School stood, was dedicated. The elevator and lobby area were added in 1979.
The 125th anniversary of St. John Lutheran Church was celebrated in 1994. The grounds surrounding the church were landscaped, and a new sound system was installed in honor of the occasion.
In 1997, a new heating system was installed in the church, plus air conditioning in the church, memorial lounge, and the social room in the educational unit. The following year, the congregation voted to have masonry restoration of the bell in the bell tower, so it will once again toll freely.
The 150th anniversary of St. John Lutheran Church was celebrated in 2019. We dedicated our new digital sign, and collected donations the interior Restoration of the sanctuary.
The beauty of our buildings cannot compete with the people within when they allow the love of Christ to shine through their words and their works.
|1867-1871||Rev. Christopher Rath|
|1871-1873||Rev. William Rein|
|1873-1901||Rev. Julius Bauch|
|1902-1913||Rev. O.M. Bartz|
|1913-1947||Rev. Benjamin F. Brandt|
|1944-1951||Pastor Herman F. Heidmann|
|1951-1968||Pastor G.F. Shoup|
|1963-1965||Pastor R.D. Erikson, Associate|
|1966-1971||Pastor Norman P. Wang, Associate|
|1970-1979||Pastor Harold C. Rust|
|1974-1976||Pastor D.E. Matuschek, Associate|
|1979-1993||Pastor Jon M. Bell|
|1980-1987||Pastor Mark A. Weirich, Associate|
|1988-1989||Pastor Douglas Hahn, Associate|
|1987-2002||Pastor Richard W. Powell (retired), Visitation|
|1990-1993||Pastor Karen E. Stiles, Associate|
|1994-2004||Pastor William B. Diehm
(installed on the 125th Anniversary)
|1995-2004||Pastor Ralph L. Wolfe, Associate|
|2005-2011||Pastor Keith A. Hunsinger|
|2006-2012||Pastor David J. Tinker, Associate|
|2013-2016||Pastor John D. Stirewalt|
(Most of the information was taken from "Marshland to Heartland' publication - Volume 32, Number 3)