St. John's celebrates 100 yearsSt. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Garfield will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on Sunday, August 1.
St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Garfield will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on Sunday, August 1. The celebration begins with a special worship service at 9 a.m. Reverend Bruce Brinkman, who served the congregation from 1966 to 1974, will preach. Three sons of the congregation who have become ministers of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod will also participate: Reverends Robert Brueske, Verdell Schramm and Dennis Schultz.
A brass ensemble and choral group from Zion Lutheran Church in Alexandria will perform, a hearkening back to 1910 when Zion’s orchestra accented the worship at the cornerstone-laying service for the first St. John’s church building.
Following the service there will be children’s games and time for sharing memories; punch will be served. A catered dinner of roast beef or ham, scalloped potatoes, corn, coleslaw, buns, milk and coffee, will follow. Cake will be provided.
The public is welcome to attend. A free-will-offering basket will be available to cover the dinner cost. Reservations should be made in advance by calling the church office at (320) 834-2248.
On January 15, 1910 German Lutherans of the Garfield area organized St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The congregation was served by Reverend A.W. Bartz, who also served Zion Lutheran Church in Alexandria.
A traditional New England-style white frame church was built that year at the southwest corner of Ida and East streets in Garfield, and was dedicated on October 2, 1910. Julius Lindser donated land on the east side of town for a cemetery; the cemetery was increased by a land gift from Harry and Nina Ziegelmann in the 1960s.
In 1914 a school building was constructed for Christian education and confirmation instruction. St. John’s parochial school enrolled children in the first eight grades until the late 1940s.
In 1920, St. John’s called its own resident pastor, Carl Eifert. The next year, plans were made to build a two-story parsonage, which was completed in 1922. In 1925 St. John’s was received into the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States, now known as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Worship services, Christian education and confirmation instruction were conducted in German until 1931. The confirmation class of 1932 was the first to be confirmed in English. Two years later, church meetings began to use English exclusively, but many worship services were conducted in German until the 1940s.
The church building was raised with a full basement added. A new cornerstone was laid on September 3, 1944.
In 1944 the school building was moved to the southeast corner of Park and East streets. In 1949 regular classes were discontinued and the school was primarily used for Saturday religious education classes. The building was sold in 1962.
In 1970 the congregation built a new single-level church on the northern edge of Garfield at its present Park Street location on land donated by the Herbert Ziegelman family. The original building was sold and moved. Dedication of the new church was held August 2, 1970. The original cornerstone of the 1910 church was placed next to the 1970 cornerstone in the new building.
At the time of its 75th anniversary, St. John’s worked with St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Moe Township and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of rural Millerville to form a triple parish ministry. In 1994 a dual parish ministry formed between St. John’s and Redeemer Lutheran Church in Osakis. In 1998 St. John’s became a sole parish ministry. In the years following, new stained-glass windows and air conditioning were added.
In 2005, St. John’s called Reverend Shawn Ethridge to serve. Other pastors who served St. John’s include Wm. Bartz (1910-1920), Carl Eifert (1920-1924), J.W. Malkow (1924-1940), E.W. Baumann (1940-1952), L.A. Buuck (1952-1958), O.R. Graupner (1959-1966), Bruce Brinkman (1966-1974), Dane Werley Compton (1974-1993), Allan Craig (1994-1998), Wm. Stockman (1998-2005).
St. John’s supports missionary work locally and around the globe. It supports the ministry of Zion Lutheran School in Alexandria and Lutheran Island Camp in Henning. Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, confirmation and adult instruction and Bible studies are offered. Community picnics, congregational suppers and an annual pancake breakfast celebrate unity and community. St. John’s Lutheran Women’s Missionary League is an active group. A congregational quilting group produces about 100 mission quilts per year.
Regular Sunday worship is at 9 a.m. and centers on the salvation offered to everyone in Jesus Christ.
In 2008 a brass bell, originally mounted on a Great Northern steam locomotive, was obtained from the steeple of a church in Kerrick, where it rang for 70 years. It is set to ring at St. John’s in a newly constructed tower in 2010.
For more than 100 years God has blessed the area with the true message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ proclaimed by the members, teachers, children, and pastors connected to St. John’s Lutheran Church.