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.

Our History

St. Paul’s Lutheran is located in an area “where Benton County Ozarks and Prairies Meet”. It was here that the early German immigrants settled in the early part of the 19th century, as this area provided good farmland, edged by timber and water. As homes were built and farmland cultivated, the time came to establish a church. This was vital, not only for their religious life but also for the educational needs of their children and for their cultural and social life.                         

In 1840, a rough, log-hewn church was built. For several years the community was served by an itinerant Methodist minister, but many feared they were losing their Lutheran heritage and began the search for an ordained Lutheran pastor. This pastor served the entire geographic area for a number of years. But as the community of settlers grew many were traveling great distances to worship. Therefore, it was decided to separate from the main church and establish two new congregations. One such was Brauersville Immanuel established in 1849, which was affiliated with the Iowa Lutheran Synod. This church was the “mother church” of St. Paul’s Lutheran, which was established in Cole Camp in 1882.   

On July 30, 1882, the members decided to build a church at a cost of $1,619.82. This church had two aisles, three rows of pews, a balcony, and a small hall. The bell for the steeple was purchased for $90 and the cost of the organ was $77.

Then in early 1917, the council began discussing the possibility of building a new church. On March 11, 1917, a final decision was reached to build the present St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. A contract was later approved to build the new church at a cost of $12,975. A year later, on April 21, 1918, the new church was dedicated. Several furnishings from the old church were moved to the new church and are still in use: the baptismal font, the pews (now in the balcony), and the church bell.

On October 16, 2011, a “dream became a reality” when the Community Life Center (commonly called “the addition”) was dedicated. This area includes a Gathering Space, a Fellowship Hall, a chapel, office area, and a kitchen. This was built for the “Mission of God, for the people of Cole Camp”.  

Pastors of St. Paul's
A rich history of leadership.

This picture of seven past pastors and the current pastor was taken at the 100th Anniversary celebration of our Sanctuary building in 2018. 

Robert C. Klinksick (1882 – 1901)

August Matthias  (1901 – 1906)

Wolfgang John Hertel  (1906 – 1908)

Bruno Huhn  (1908 – 1911)

Christopher S. Bunge  (1911 – 1919)

Immanuel J. Haag  (1919 – 1926)

Alfred C. Huth  (1926 – 1928)

Hugo Renz (1928 – 1954)

Elmer H. Kuhlman  (1954 – 1961)

Marvin H. Remmers  (1961 – 1965)

Arlyn Saathoff  (1965 – 1970)

John P. Gorklo  (1970 – 1974)

Arnold H. Roesener  (1974 – 1980)

Larry Block, Linda Daniels Block (1981 –  1986)

Paul Judson  (1986 – 1989)

Harlan Kaden  (1991 – 2001)

William George  (2002 – 2007)

William Say-Intentional Interim  (2007-2008)

Sandy Schlesselman- Interim (2008 – 2009)

Jody Rice (2009 -2012)

 Interim Team (2012 - 2013)

Sandy Schlesselman

Paul Kelly

Randy Healan

Gary Wahlers

Stephen Zeller (2013 – Present)