This simple word of Willkommen (Welcome) has graced the entryway of our churchfor more than 100 years. The welcome is a greeting indicating that all are gladly invited and received into our sanctuary for worship, communion, and fellowship.
The fact that this word, Willkommen, and the name of the church, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Kirche U. A. C. (Unaltered Augsburg Confession), were both written in German is a testimony of the strong German heritage revered by our ancestors.
Placing these German words at the entrance of our church was an act of courage at the time our church was built. The armistice observing the end of World War I occurred on November 11, 1918. The war brought a great deal of animosity regarding the use of the German language in America. Locally, German speaking people were told to refrain from speaking German in public.
There was a great deal of controversy within St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in the early years regarding using English in worship services and the teaching of English in our school. The more progressive members knew that the use of the English language was coming. However, the older members were more resistant to change and spoke out against the use of English in worship and in the school. It was not until 1959 that the last German worship service was held.
The members of St. Paul’s Lutheran value our German heritage and respect the many traditions of the past. However, today, we are more open to change and find ways to compromise between old traditions and the new more innovative approaches to our worship, education, stewardship, and outreach.
We are a rural congregation with a membership of over 500 baptized members. Our church is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (link to church page about ELCA), and the Central States Synod. Between our Saturday and Sunday worship services we will often see about 150 children and adults gather to worship together. Our church family comes from many walks of life – health care, education, farming/agriculture, construction, service industry, retail, and retirees.
We worship together, we pray for each other, we work together, we laugh together, we play together, we support each other, and we grieve our losses together. We are FAMILY. We are CHURCH.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church has endured the 1918 influenza epidemic, the Great Depression, World Wars, conflicts, protests, injustices, the fall of the Twin Towers, and today, with God as our refuge and strength, we will endure the COVID pandemic and look with hope to the future.
Willkommen! Welcome to St. Paul’s. We hope you experience the welcome and invitation to join this church in worship and in God’s ministry of healing and hope for our world.