stjohnextSt. John’s at the corner of Slinger Road and Hwy E

St. John’s is one of the two churches merged to form Faith church. St. John’s history dates back to 1852 with church records referring to the 1st book when Rev. Conrad preached a sermon every 4th Sunday in the homes of German settlers in the area. A log church, 22 x 29 feet, was built in 1854 on an acre of land donated by Johan Nickolaus Schmitt. Other first members included Conrad Melius, Johannes Butterfass, George Mayer, Jacob Walter, Johann & Nicholas Schaller, Johann Gilman, Johannes Herther, Johann Schmitt, Peter Naab, and George Jung.

In 1862 a half acre of land was purchased from Heppe so a parsonage could be constructed in 1863. It was located across the road from the church. A hand-pump for water remained at this site until a well was drilled in 1961.

There also was a horse shed on the property which was removed in the 1940’s. It was located across the road from the church on the flatter portion of the current parking lot. In 1952 the church records indicate the $100 received from the horse sheds should be placed in the church treasury.

In 1894 the current brick structure was erected and the bells were purchased in 1895. The entrance to the church was a steps coming straight out from under the steeple doors. The church had clear glass windows, with pointed arched tops, matching the entry door style. The ramp leading off to the side, as it presently does, was probably installed in 1923 as church records have a bill for a sizeable amount of cement that year.

A Schaefer pipe organ, built in Schleisingerville (Slinger), was purchased in 1916. The organ was located in the left, front corner of the church. There are great stories of the “pumper” sometimes falling asleep and the organ not responding. There was a raised pulpit until the interior of the church was changed in 1946. After that date, there also is no more reference to the “pumper” in the church records.

On March 25, 1953, the interior of the church was extensively damaged by fire and smoke. The fire was caused by an overheated furnace. A decision was made to once again redecorate and on July 5, 1953 the first service was held after the fire. Even after the merger of the churches, this interior remained until the interior renovation in the early 1970’s.

St. John’s church had a basement, but no running water. You would enter the basement through a small outside door, which still exists and now is the emergency exit at the back of the choir room. There was a small galley kitchen in about the same location as the serving counter in our current kitchen. The furnace room was much larger since it contained a wood/coal burning furnace. The church basement was used for Ladies’ Aide Meetings, serving meals, and during Vacation Bible School. It was seldom, if ever, used for Sunday School space since there was no access to the basement from the church sanctuary.

The church had a balcony which still exists today. Access to the balcony was an enclosed curved stairs to the right of the entry way. The bell tower was accessed through a door in the balcony. Usually the older children would have their Sunday School class in the balcony. Other classes were dispersed among the pews of the church.

Church records indicate in 1944 a motion was made to have all sermons in English from that point forward. In 1953, women were given the right to attend church meetings and have a vote and in 1955 this right was extended to all confirmed members.

On November 9, 1952, St. John’s celebrated their 100th anniversary. Rev. Boecker was the current pastor, but Rev Albert Gonser from the Wisconsin Synod and Rev. Greuther, a former pastor, were there for the celebration. St. John’s & St. Paul’s shared a pastor during this 100 year span. In 1954 they voted to join with Peace in Jackson to share a pastor and on January 29, 1961, voted to merge the congregations of St. John’s and St. Paul’s.