The Congregation of St. John’s began as an independent Evangelical church. Our first German settlers adopted the name Sanct Johannes Evangelische Kirche, and the congregation began meeting in the homes of members as early as 1847, when Wisconsin was still a territory. In those early days, a minister would come on horseback every few months to deliver the Word of God, and to baptize, confirm, and perform marriages. This continued until 1850, when members of the congregation purchased land to build the first church. This church was completed in 1853, a small crude log house built over the stumps of the trees which had been used to build it. The stumps served as pews. St. John’s was one of the first buildings in the area, and in those early days, people from far and away joined us for worship and fellowship. Many members of other denominations chose to worship at St. John’s, in the absence of any congregations or churches of their own.
The growth of the congregation prompted us to raise a new building in 1862. By 1867 it was completed, and this time there were no stumps in the building – the land was cleared away first! This white, clapboarded church contained many features and conveniences the first building lacked. In the following years, continuous improvements were made as the congregation was able – a reed organ was added, a foundation was put under the church (that was an “improvement”!), until growth again prompted the congregation to make plans for raising a new building in 1890. The building was completed by 1893, and stands to this day.
The congregation eventually became affiliated with the Evangelical Synod of North America, and became known as St. John’s Evangelical and Reformed Church, when the denomination merged with the Reformed Church in 1933. When the Evangelical and Reformed Church merged with several other denominations, the congregation became known as St. John’s United Church of Christ in 1962.
Then in 1968, for the first time a basement was constructed to accommodate fellowship and teaching – a kitchen, meeting hall, and classrooms. The church was placed on wheels and rolled several hundred feet to rest on top of the new basement.
Today the congregation of St. John’s has returned to its beginnings as an independent Evangelical church. In 2013, the congregation chose to assume our original name (in English Translation!), and became St. John’s Evangelical Church. While we are not opposed to denominations, our focus is on the central place of the Word of God in the historic Christian faith. We believe that the Word of God is as relevant, as living, and as powerful today as it was of old. As in those early days, all who seek to find refuge in the comfort of God’s love, the security of His will, and the strength of His Word are welcome.
We invite you to come and join us as we worship the Lord, grow through the Scriptures, and enjoy fellowship with Him and with each other, through His Spirit, as His people, the Body of Christ!