WEYAUWEGA – St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church is set to celebrate the 100th anniversary of being in its building.
That celebration will take place on Sunday, Sept. 26 with a rededication. A fellowship dinner will follow the 10:30 a.m. service. There will be a freewill offering and also entertainment by the Charlie Justmann Band.
The church’s Anniversary Committee has been working throughout the year on the plan for the year-long celebration.
“Christ, Our Cornerstone” is the theme of their celebration, and the congregation has been celebrating its past, present and future.
Marian Boushley is a member of the church’s Anniversary Committee. She said their past was celebrated last April when men were encouraged to wear suit and ties to a particular weekend service, while women were encouraged to wear dresses and hats.
“The men sat on one side, and the women on the other – like they did at that time,” she said.
In June, the present was celebrated with music. During a weekend that month, the “most voted-on” hymns were sung during the 15 minutes prior to each of the three services.
This month, St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrates its future.
Plans call for the church bell to be rung 100 times the evening of Saturday, Sept. 25. And former pastor Matthew Crass will be the speaker at the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services Sunday, Sept. 26.
A fellowship dinner, which will be held outside in a tent, is open to the public.
In addition to the three special services, a “Symbols of Praise” booklet was created for members of the congregation. The booklet explains what the various items in the church signify.
A commemorative glass ornament, etched with the “Christ, Our Cornerstone” logo, was for sale, and there were also calendars and a new pictorial directory for the church.
St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran’s history dates back to 1869 – the first entries in the church’s record – when missionary work took place in the area.
It was in 1872 that a small group of Lutherans met to organize a church.
One year later, the church’s first building was dedicated.
It was a small wooden structure located on the banks of Lake Weyauwega, west of the former Ace Manufacturing Company, which is now owned by Star Dairy.
The church’s second building – a wood frame church that seated 400 – was built on the church’s present site in 1888.
The present church was built during 1909 and 1910 at a cost of $20,000. It was dedicated on July 3, 1910.
During the last 100 years, there have been various improvements, including installation of a new furnace and electric light system in 1920 and another new furnace in 1950.
The church’s first pipe organ had been purchased in 1896, and on March 17, 1929, a new organ was dedicated. That organ was restored during the 1990s.
Both the church’s interior and exterior have been renovated through the years. Among the projects were new pews, the installation of a public address system, the renovation of the church basement for office space and the addition of more parking space and a ramp.
Boushley said plans for this year’s celebration started with having three special services.
“The members asked if we can do other things. The excitement bubbled over into other things,” she said.