A Brief History of Saint John Evangelical Lutheran Church

Luther Seal On April 17, 1865, Saint John Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized. In the early years it was also known as the French Grove Lutheran Church. Later that same year five acres were purchased for the building of a church, the same plot the church and parsonage stand on today. The congregation originally worshiped in the Old Center Schoolhouse. A new church building was built in 1874.

In the early years of the congregation, Christian education was provided to the children either in the parsonage or the annex to the church; however, a schoolhouse was built in 1880.

Services were conducted in German until the early 1900’s, when services were also conducted in the English language. The German services were dropped completely in 1941. In 1928, the Sunday School was established under the leadership of Rev. H.C. Koepke.

In 1943 and 1944, the church was completely remodeled, including excavating for a full basement. On January 1, 1945, fire destroyed the church and all its contents. The cornerstone for the present church was laid on Thanksgiving Day, 1948. On April 16, 1950, the dedication service was held. Since some members wished to build in State Center, they were given a peaceful release and Trinity Lutheran Church was organized April 11, 1945, and is now a flourishing congregation in State Center.

In 1979 our congregation purchased the old Clemons School property in Clemons and restarted the parochial school which had closed in 1962. Unfortunately, the school came to a close in the spring of 2014.

God has blessed our Saint John congregation with many faithful pastors and teachers during its near 150 years of existence. We say in all humility – TO GOD BE THE GLORY!