Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County
Baker, Louis C.
Call to worship, pp. 164-185 PDF (10.2 MB)
CALL TO WORSHIP in response to some appeal on the part of a small group of German Lutherans who wished to have the consolation of their religion in the struggles for existence that beset many of these early pioneers. There were very few Germans in the county before 1850. A few families from Ohio and from Pennsylvania arrived be- fore that date but the great numbers be- gan to appear in the early eighteen fifties and then again after the Civil War, from 1866 to 1880. Consequently the first Lutheran churches were organized in the late fifties, St. Paul's in Dale being one of the earliest founded in 1859. The sixties and seventies saw many churches founded. The later decades filled in places where the population centers were slower to develop or as in many cases of much later foundings (1900 to 1945) the new congregations represented new growth of the denomination. In most of these churches the language is English now, with rarely a sermon in German for the older people of the group. There is one Danish Lutheran Church in the Town of Deer Creek. It will be clearer and simpler to treat the Lutheran churches according to the synodical affiliations for there are many churches in the county. The strongest group, without doubt, is the group ad- hering to the Wisconsin Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Here the largest church is St. Paul's in Appleton which has more than 2,100 members. It is not the oldest, however, for that honor goes to St. Paul's in Dale (1859) and to the Immanuel Church in the Town of Greenville (1860). A group of Germans, largely from Ohio, and a few families from Pennsylvania had come to Dale beginning in 1853. Appar- ently there came with them a pastor, a Rev. Lienkaemper who organized a Re- formed Church congregation by 1858 while a year later the Rev. Th. Jaeckel organized the St. Paul congregation. Serv- ices were held in a school house or in the homes of members of the congregations. In 1863-1864 the two congregations united in the building of a church about one- half mile west of Dale. They continued to share this house of worship until 1878 when the Reformed congregation pur- chased the share of the Lutherans and moved their building to the Village of Dale. Beginning in 1870 the pastors for St. Paul's lived in Hortonville where the Bethlehem Church had just been dedi- cated. The Immanuel Church of Green- ville was founded in 1860 and has had a resident pastor to serve its congregation. St. John's in the Town of Center dates from 1864; St. Peter's in the Town of Freedom, 1868; St. Paul's in Appleton, 1867, the largest in the group; Bethlehem of Hortonville, 1870; Emanuel in the Town of Maple Creek, 1872; Trinity of the Town of Ellington, 1874; Trinity of Kaukauna, 1877; St. Paul's in Stephens- ville, 1882; Emanuel of New London, 1893; Immanuel of Black Creek, 1901; Mt. Calvary in Kimberly, 1937. In addition to the St. Paul group there have been organized four other congrega- tions in Appleton. They are: St. Matthew, 1914; Mt. Olive, 1915; Bethany, 1941; and the Riverview, 1945. The combined Appleton congregations have a member- ship of 4,387 members. The St. Paul congregation of Appleton was organized August 19, 1867, as a "German Evangelical" congregation by a group of German citizens, George Kreiss, Louis Schinz, Carl Scherk, John Popke, Albert Breitung, Reinhold Breitung, Charles Bruning, John Falk, Phillip Weintz and Emil Wiese. The first pastor was Christian Lieb who resigned in 1869, to be succeeded by the Rev. H. Siekman. Rev. Siekman organized a St. John con- gregation in Black Creek during his pastorate and resigned his pastorate in Appleton in 1878 when the congregation voted to affiliate with the Wisconsin Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The new pastor, John Hodt- walker of Milwaukee, completed the affiliation with the adoption by the con- gregation of an Evangelical Lutheran con- stitution on March 30, 1879. However,
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