Our History

Our History
Our History:
 
1858      St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church & School is organized by 16 families under Pastor Golddammer, who also serves St. John’s in Slades Corners. Services had been held since 1856.
 
1859      A house is purchased to serve as the church, school, and parsonage.
 
1875      The first church (corner of Pine and Madison Sts.) is dedicated on August 22. The cost of construction is $3,958. This building served the congregation until 1980.
 
1887      A parsonage is constructed behind the church.
 
1895      The first school is dedicated on October 25. The cost of construction is $1,500.
 
1900      Mr. Victor Burke becomes the first full time teacher. His annual salary is $360. The pastor had been the sole teacher until this point.
 
1927      English replaces German as the official language of church business meetings.  In 1930 the first English constitution is adopted. German services become less frequent, though continued into the 1950s.
 
1932      A second teacher is called due to increasing school enrollment.
 
1951      Lutheran Pioneers is organized under Bruce Thompson.
 
1957      The congregation purchases 7.3 acres of land at $3,600 per acre on Westridge Avenue.
 
1962      New school is dedicated on October 17. The cost of construction is $275,000.
 
1974      New parsonage is dedicated on June 16. The cost of construction is $67,000.
 
1979      Cornerstone is placed for the new church. St. John’s joins the Shoreland Lutheran High School federation.
 
1980      New church is dedicated on January 20. The cost of construction is $905,540. The vicar program begins. A number of vicars serve St. John’s during the 1980s.
 
1992      A second pastor is called. Pastor Kurt Loescher arrives the day after Pastor Richard Weeks suffers a fatal heart attack.
 
2008      150th anniversary is celebrated.
 
2009      First ordination for a St. John’s pastor takes place July 12.
  
Carl F. Goldammer  (1858-1862,  4 yrs)  Came from Germany and founded several Lutheran congregations in Wisconsin.

C. Titze  (1862-1868,  6 yrs)  Resigned and severed ties with Wisconsin Synod due to false doctrine.

F. Schug  (1868-1873,  5 yrs)  Also served Lutheran congregation in Wilmot.
 
G. Thiele  (1873-1874, 1 yr)  Construction began on the new church.
 
P. Echkelmann  (1875-1878, 3 yrs)  New church was dedicated.
 
A. Liefeld  (1878-1883, 5 yrs)  His call was terminated due to false doctrine surrounding the “Election Controversy.” He organized Cross Lutheran Church in Burlington.
 
August Bendler  (1883-1890, 7 yrs)  Two bells, still in use today, were installed into the church. He was the first to move into the newly built parsonage.
 
J. G. Oehlert  (1891-1900, 9 yrs)  The school was built and dedicated. The congregation disciplined members joining lodges.
 
M. Busack  (1900-1904, 4 yrs)  The first full time teacher was called. Pastors had been the school teachers to this point.
 
Albert Moussa  (1904-1907, 3 yrs)  Dies unexpectedly.
 
Hans K. Moussa  (1907-1908, 1 yr)  The son of Albert Moussa, he served St. John’s until accepting a call to be a professor at Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin.
 
F. Soll  (1908-1912, 4 yrs)  Accepted a call to Yakima, Washington and later became the first president of the newly formed Pacific Northwest District of the Wisconsin Synod.
 
Christian H. Sieker  (1912-1928, 16 yrs)  Longest serving pastor of St. John’s to this point. English language replaced German. Dies unexpectedly.
 
Louis Baganz(1928-1939, 11 yrs)  Vocal problems caused him to lose his speaking voice. After a six month leave of absence, his health had not improved, and he resigned. His son dies in World War 2.
 
Alfred von Rohr Sauer  (1940-1943, 3 yrs)  Served as vacancy pastor in 1939 during Baganz’s leave of absence. He introduced a monthly paper/newsletter called “The Guide.”
 
Ewald Blumenthal  (1943-1944, 1 yr)  The parsonage was redecorated, and the pipe organ was electrified.
 
George A. Barthels  (1944-1950, 6 yrs)  He organized the Mission Society. The church interior was remodeled.
 
Reuben Marti  (1950-1951, 1 yr)  Developed Lutheran Pioneers with Bruce Thompson before dying unexpectedly.
 
Adolph Fischer(1952-1956, 4 yrs)  Congregation decides to search for a new property.
 
Harry Wiedmann  (1957-1972, 15 yrs)  The property on Westridge Avenue was purchased. The new school was built and dedicated. Seminary students assisted with preaching, including Dean Fleming.
 
Robert Michel  (1972-1975, 3 yrs)  Moved into the new Westridge Avenue parsonage.
 
Richard Weeks  (1975-1992, 17 yrs)  Congregation joined the Shoreland Federation. The new church was built, connected to the school. The vicar program begins. Weeks dies unexpectedly.
 
Kurt Loescher  (1992-2002, 10 yrs)  Called to be the first second pastor of St. John’s. Arrived in Burlington the day after Pastor Weeks died.
 
Terry Laabs  (1993-2011, 18 yrs)  Longest serving pastor at St. John’s to date.
 
Al Zahn  (2002-2006, 4 yrs)  Served St. John’s together with the congregation’s first staff minister, Paul Lange.
 
Kirk Lahmann  (2009-present)  The youngest pastor to serve St. John’s to date, and the first ordination.
 
Daniel Waldschmidt  (2012-present)  St. John’s is served by two pastors under the age of 30.
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