St. John’s Lutheran Church in East Bloomfield will celebrate 150 years of worship on Sunday, Sept. 14.
The sesquicentennial celebration will begin at the church’s first service, at 10 a.m., with retired Pastor G. Schapekahm officiating.
The morning service will include the singing of the Fox Valley Lutheran High School Choir.
Rev. Paul Fritz, the church’s current pastor, will preside over the second service, beginning at 3 p.m.
Members of the church will provide a meal in between services. A refreshment stand will also be available.
Former pastors, teachers and students have been invited to share in the anniversary celebration.
There will be picture displays of former and current pastors and classes.
The first of three churches was built in 1864, about a mile southwest of the church’s current site. A cemetery marks the former location.
The second church, constructed in 1876, is now used as the parochial grade school, where 30 students from 4K through eighth grade attend.
Rev. Theo. Jaekel is considered the founder and organizer of the congregation, serving from 1865 to 1868.
A log church was built, and a constitution was drawn up and adopted on Jan. 30, 1868.
The first resident pastor was Erdmann A. Pankow, in 1875.
The following year, a second church was built, and the congregation was received into membership with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
The present church was dedicated on Aug. 23, 1891, and the bell was dedicated at the same time.
English preaching was introduced in the early 1920s, under the direction of Paulus W. Weber.
Up until then, all services were conducted in German.
In 1924, the Ladies Aid Society was organized, and in 1982, Rev. N.A. Gieschen started a Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society.
The Parent-Teacher Organization was established in 1974.
Through the years, there were various renovation projects, including art glass windows installed in 1934.
The first carpeting was laid in 1939, and communion rails were added in 1964.
In 1973, a new pipe organ was installed, and a year later, new carpeting was laid in the alter niche and church aisles, along with new doors and a communion rail with cushions.
Numerous projects were completed in 1988, with the improvements including the redecoration of the church interior; refinishing the pews and floors; installing new carpet in the chancel; and adding a new entrance door and new ceiling fans.
In 1995, a new roof was added at the school and in 1997, a new roof to the parsonage.
The first church organ arrived in 2002. A church bell tower was installed with an electric cross built by Bob Stevens. A new roof was put on the church and a Mother’s Room was built.
A new addition to the front of the church was part of the projects in 2008, along with carpeting for the steps and choir loft.
The most recent additions include the installation of a geothermal system in 2013, and new church ceiling fans, an improved school floor, new siding on the church, school and teacherage and new church carpeting in 2014.
Former pastors of St. John’s Lutheran Church included: TH. Jaekel, 1864-68; Aug. Wiese, 1868-70; John Meyer, 1871-75; E. A. Pankow, 1875-78; H. C. Dagefoerde, 1878-79; J. J. E, Sauer, 1880-86; TH Bast, 1887-90; F. Thurn, 1890-92; J. Zuberbier, 1892-1919; P. W. Weber, 1920-25; A. E. Schneider, 1925-47; H. M. Schwartz, 1948-55; W. H. Zickhur, 1955-62; H. Scherf, 1963-66; David Meyer (vicar), 1967-68 and Alvin Aickele (vicar), 1968-69; Richard Maurice, 1970-75; Floyd Brand, 1976-80; Norbert Gieschen, 1981-94; Roger Carter, 1995-99; G. Schapekahm, 1999-2010 and Paul Fritz, 2010-present.
The current teachers at the school are Principal Ian Watson, who teaches fifth through eighth grade, and Linda Kiecker, who works with 4K through fourth grade and is starting her 27th year of teaching.
The congregation totals 277 people, with 223 communicant members.
St. John’s Lutheran Church is located at 8580 37th Ave.
For more information about the anniversary celebration, call the church office at 920-446-3812.