St. Johns Lutheran Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
Know Christ. Love Christ. Serve Christ.
Late 1800s -
1870s: The early mission field in the Elkton/Dexter area involved German emigrants. They first gathered home at irregular intervals. They were serve by pastor Michel reck of Racine Township and by Pastor Mehrtens.
1880: Pastor C. Eckhoff, who served in Spring Valley, Racine, and Grand Meadow, began serving the Elkton/Dexter area, conducting services in a schoolhouse. A personal quarrel between two men caused a split among the mission field and another Lutheran congregation formed three miles northwest from where St. John's currently sits.
1882: Pastor George Landgrebe of Toeterville, IA came every three weeks to hold services in a school house one mile east of the present church and also in private homes.
1884: One and a half acres was purchased from Detloff Hagen for erecting a church and for a cemetery.
1887: The first church building was completed. It was a simple structure measuring 28 by 40 feet.
1888: St. John's was incorporated, and a constitution (as recommended by the Iowa Synod) was signed by Detloff Hagen, Henry Holst, and C. Hamann. Seventeen members built the church without debt. Mr. Nicolaus Quast led the singing at Sunday worship, and if the pastor could not be there, the men of the congregation read the Scriptures. It was also during this year that a Sunday School was started.
1892: St. John's called Pastor H. Schultz to serve. Pastor Schultz, who served from 1982 to 1907, also served congregations in Grand Meadow and Racine. Five more acres of land were purchased from D. Hagen at $30 an acre. This land was located across the road and to the east of the original church.
1896: On the five acres of newly purchased land, a parsonage with a schoolroom was built at a cost of $925. Mr. Ole Qualle was the carpenter on the project.
1897: A barn was built at a cost of $70 by using volunteer labor and a Ladies Aid was started, which helped buy a church organ.
First Half of 1900s -
1905: A resolution was passed concerning the contributions to the pastor's salary. The owner of 80 acres was to pay $6 per year. If someone had 160 acres, they were to pay $9. Anyone with additional acres would pay $11 per year.
1907: A re-dedication of St. John's was held and the first English sermon was given by Pastor Louis Ziemer. This re-dedication consecrated additions to the church, including a steeple with bell, an altar niche, balcony, and sacristy, all erected by W. Stolten of Stewartville. These additions cost $2,500. An English neighbor, Mr. Loomis, donated money for a bell in the steeple.
During this time, St. John's was still sharing a pastor with Grand Meadow, so services were sometimes held in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon. In the summer, a half hour of Sunday school was held each week. It was also during this time that part of the congregation wanted the worship services to be conducted in English, while others wanted to continue in German, which caused hard feelings for quite a while.
1913: St. John's celebrated its 25th anniversary. Mrs. Weise was organist; Mr. Anton Boehm was caretaker, and church leaders were: Peter Fahje, Henry Hagen, Wilhelm Neubauer, John Jech, Jr., William Hartje, and Herman Steingraber.
Other family names at that time were: Abeld, Bade, Baldner, Boeff, Boehm, Brunce, Bulow, Buhs, Daleske, Damman, Furstenb, Gildemeister, Glienke, Gomer, Griebenow, Klaehn, Kraft, Lund, Marquardt, and Quast.
During its first 25 years, 307 children were baptized, 166 children were confirmed, 42 couples were married, and 53 persons were buried.
1938: At the time of the 50th anniversary, the Ladies Aid purchased the first altar and pulpit vestments in the liturgical colors. There were 133 members of St. John's and there was also a male quartet who frequently contributed to the worship service.
1941 - 1953: The old schoolhouse was remodeled to serve as a parish house and the church was remodeled at a cost of $3,468. The parsonage was also remodeled during this period.
Second Half of 1900s
1959: A new parish house, which measured 54' by 40', was dedicated. It was built using volunteer labor along the terraced north bank of Rose Creek. Lumber was logged and sawed by Hartje Brothers equipment, then trucked 50 miles for kiln drying.
1963: A new section was added to the cemetery, south of the original site and perpetual care was set up, growing from 2,000 in 1963 to $5,465 in 1988.
1967: A new church building was dedicated. It was built at a cost of $37,227 with the help of volunteer labor. An annex connecting the new church and parish house was completed, costing $9,226.
1968: A lighted cross for the church peak was received as a gift in memory of Richard and Elsie Jech.
1973: A bell tower was constructed to house the bell that was added to the original church in 1907.
1975: Stained glass windows were installed and a special service was held to dedicate the new church entrance and burn the church mortgage.
1987: A new section to the west of the cemetery was donated by Myron and Bernice Hokeness.
1994: The church and parish hall siding was replaced with steel siding.
1995: A cemetery annex, located across the road from the original cemetery was donated by Rudy and Delores Jech and Norby and Geogia Jech. Evergreens trees, purchased by various church members, were added to the annex.
1996: The parish hall kitchen was remodeled.
2000s Begin -
2001: A new sound system was installed.
2005: The main floor bathrooms were remodeled and made handicap accessible.
2013: St. Johns celebrated its 125th anniversary.