History of Christ Lutheran Church in Arcadia, WI
Beginning Years - 1863 to 1887
Beginnings in Glencoe
Lutheran medical missionary,
serving a congregation at Fountain City, WI, began serving families in
Buffalo County Township of Glencoe, near the village of Arcadia. He traveled to the Glencoe
area once a month
for twelve years, meeting in homes, to bring the Gospel to the
1866: Land Donated in Glencoe
acres of land was donated on April 12, 1866, by George and Susan
Keller, to be used for a place of worship and a cemetery. (from the records of Lee
1875: Glencoe Church
Formally Established With a
Building and Pastor
Glencoe families called a pastor of their own.
The Rev. Ernest Giesel was
called from the Augsburg Synod (or
maybe the Iowa Synod) and lived in the home of one of the church
congregation was formally organized with
a written constitution and the name St. John’s Evangelical
Lutheran Church. A
Glencoe church building was also
constructed in 1875. (The
located at the site of the present day Glencoe Lutheran Cemetery.)
1876: Earliest Beginnings in
Rev. Giesel, who was serving the
Glencoe area Lutherans, also began holding services in the homes of the
Lutherans he found in the Buffalo County Township of Montana. He served the area until
Ministers Serving Glencoe
and Montana Lutherans
The Glencoe church and Montana Township
Lutherans were served by three Iowa Synod pastors and one from the
Christian Probst, 1877-1879 and Rev. John
Burchard, 1879-1881 were from the Iowa Synod.
Rev. John Weirauch was from
the Wisconsin Synod, serving from 1881 to 1883.
In 1884, Carl Ziebell, an
Iowa Synod theological student served
as pastor for six months.
Constructed in Montana —Arcadia
Rev. Julius Badke,
Synod pastor came to serve St. John’s Church in Glencoe township and
to minister to the Montana Lutherans.
1885, under the leadership of Rev. Badke,
a church building was constructed for the
Lutherans in the Montana
township and a parsonage for the Badke family was purchased in Arcadia. (The location of the
Montana church was at
the site of the present day Montana Lutheran Cemetery.)
Officially Organized in Montana — First Arcadia Church Built
congregation was formally organized in about 1887, with the name Christ
small frame church was
built in Arcadia in 1887 so that parishioners would not have to travel
Glencoe to worship on Sunday, but it did not become a separate
Badke left in 1887.
Years of Division - 1888 to 1904
next three ministers, Rev. Albert Froehlke 1888-1890, Rev Carl Rutzen
1890-1896, and Rev. Herman
Gerhard 1896-1897, were
Wisconsin Synod pastors. In
disunity forced Rev. Gerhard to leave after serving only ten months.
to 1904: Division
The Arcadia area Lutherans divided into two
groups. In 1897,
Christ Lutheran Church in Montana
township, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Glencoe township
and a few
of the members attending the church in Arcadia, called an Iowa Synod
Adolf Werr. Besides
in the two township churches, he also held services in an upstairs room
parsonage in Arcadia for the few Arcadia members that had called him.
Around this same time, Rev. Theophil Brenner
from the Wisconsin Synod’s
seminary was called by the remaining majority of the Arcadia Lutherans.
Brenner held services in the little white frame church that had been
Arcadia in 1887. Rev.
Brenner stayed for
a year or less and was followed by Rev. David Metzger, from the
Synod, who also served St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Whitehall. It is not known how long
Rev. Metzger stayed.
an apparent effort to restore church unity, Rev. Werr
changed from the
Iowa Synod to the Wisconsin Synod and continued to serve at Glencoe,
and the Arcadia parsonage, but unity was not restored, and Rev. Werr
Building Years - 1904 to 1956
to 1907: Moving
of Glencoe and
Christ Church congregations were served
by Rev. G.F. Hanselmann, an Iowa Synod pastor,
from 1904 to 1907.
Rev. Herbert Zumhingst, from the Ohio Synod became the pastor
in 1907. It was
under his leadership in 1910,
that the church building was erected in Arcadia and the first English
were conducted. All
had been in German.
New Church Buildings
Church of Glencoe and
Christ Church of Montana joined to construct a church building in the
Arcadia, to serve their members who had retired from farming and moved
Arcadia. A new
congregation was not
organized in the village, and any new member living in Arcadia was
to take membership in either one of the township churches. This new building was
dedicated in November
of 1910, with only eighteen families from the combined parish giving
assistance and manual labor towards the construction.
The majority of the congregation had deemed
the services in the upstairs room of the parsonage to be sufficient and
contribute to the new building. Rev. Zumhingst served the congregations
was also in 1910, that St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of
had associated with the Wisconsin Synod, since the split back in
a new, larger church to replace the small frame church
1887. The new
building was across the
street from the old frame church and the old church was enlarged and
to be used for fellowship activities. (This church remained with the
Synod until 1959, when it became an Independent Lutheran Church and in
the congregation disbanded.)
the Ladies Aid was formed.
to 1956: Rev.
Muedeking begins 43 Year
On February 3, 1913,
Rev. George F.
recent graduate of St. Paul Luther College and Seminary, was installed
new pastor of St. John’s of Glencoe and Christ Church of Montana and
associated group at the new church building in Arcadia.
entire ministry was spent in Arcadia—43 years until his death, at the
73, in 1956. Rev. Muedeking was an active member of the community and
good relationship with other churches in the community.
He was active in the American Lutheran Synod
and served as president of the Marshfield conference. His wife, Rosalie
also contributed to the ministry of the congregation.
At the beginning of his pastorate, the
combined parish consisted of 51 families but grew to 242 families by
Senior Choir was organized.
Sunday School was established.
residence next to the Arcadia church was purchased and converted into
A Merger to Form One Congregation
Muedeking was instrumental in
merging the two congregations into one Arcadia church.
St. John’s Church of Glencoe and Christ
Church of Montana, dissolved themselves, deeded their property, and
and incorporated themselves as the “St John’s-Christ Lutheran
of Arcadia, Wisconsin.”
the Women’s Missionary
Society was organized.
national American Lutheran Church (ALC) was formed
in 1930 from the
merger of the three conservative Lutheran synods of German-American
Iowa, Ohio, and Buffalo Synods.
1931: Midweek religious education
1938: The Junior Choir was
1946: A Luther League was formed
for high school
congregation had increased to 526 total communicant members and the
usually filled to capacity. Members
decided to enlarge the building by erecting a brick veneered addition
lumber sawed from logs donated by farmers of the congregation and also
lumber salvaged from St. John’s
Church of Glencoe, where services had been discontinued.
Excavation for the basement began on April 19, 1949, and the new
dedicated on Sunday, November 27, 1949. The enlarged church could
seat 550 and an overflow crowd of about 650.
The original Glencoe church bell was placed
above the balcony of the new
parsonage was built next to the church.
Bible School began in Montana and Arcadia.
Interns Serving Under pastor Muedeking
Robert A. Garbrecht,
Harvey Berg, 1953—Luther
Roger A. Schmidt,
Waldo Kruse, 1955—Wartburg
Kenneth Malpert, 1956—Wartburg
Rev. Muedeking dies.
Up until his death on
June 9, 1956, Rev. George F. Muedeking, actively served the
congregation for 43
Post-Muedeking Years - 1956 to 1989
a graduate of Capital Seminary came to Arcadia and served St.
Lutheran Church Closed
The last Sunday
service was held at the Montana Christ Church on April 19, 1959. ( Date
found in the Ushers’
Record Book.) During the last years, services had been held about once
later, the building was
razed. The bell was salvaged and has been preserved by the Boberg
national American Lutheran Church (ALC)
merged with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which was of
origin, and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church, of Danish-American
to form a new body that was also named the
American Lutheran Church (ALC). (Wikipedia)
Church Name Changed
The congregation name was changed from
St. John's-Christ Lutheran Church to American Lutheran Church
to New church at Trempealeau, WI
assisted in the start of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in Trempealeau, WI.
On November 25,
church property from St. John's Independent Lutheran Church, Arcadia
former Wisconsin Synod, St. John’s
Evangelical Lutheran Church) was transferred
to American Lutheran Church of Arcadia.
Church of Arcadia was served by Pastor
Howard B. Benson,
who helped the church
study and plan for a new educational addition.
Church Educational Addition
A two story church
educational building addition was dedicated on October 3.
Pastor Wayne G. Radke
became pastor of American Lutheran Church in Arcadia in 1969.
voted to support missionaries, Art and Millie Wyse in Cali, Columbia.
Bethal Series Adult Education
The Bethal Series of
Adult Christian Education started and in 1975 there were eight teachers
New Enclosed Entrance
Under the leadership
of Rev. Radke, a new enclosed entrance was added to the church.
began helping support Lee Bonhoff, missionary to Cameroon, Africa in
also his wife, Torborg, in later years.
Missionary support for the Bonhofs continued
into the 1990s.
Stendahl became the new pastor of the American Lutheran congregation in
A Casavant Opus 3547
pipe organ was installed in October.
Fellowship Hall Remodeled
The basement fellowship hall
1986-1994: Pastor Whitmore
Claire Whitmore served the congregation from 1986 to 1994.
parking lot behind the church, was completed in 1987.
New “Christ Lutheran”
Years - 1988 to the present
On January 1, 1988, the ELCA (Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America) came into existence, by the merging of
Lutheran church bodies— The
American Lutheran Church (ALC), the Lutheran Church in America (LCA)
Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) .
Parish Ed/Youth Worker position was added in 1988.
Five Youth Directors served the church
between 1988 and 2011—
(1992) Julie Gates, Erin Wright, and Kris Knutson, who also served as
Church Goes Back
to Historical Name
the pastorate of
Claire Whitmore, the church name changed from
American Lutheran Church
of Arcadia to Christ Lutheran Church.
1990: Member, Lara Fetsch became
missionary in Hong Kong.
as an interim pastor.
Sharot, Jr. served Christ Lutheran.
1996: a grand
piano and electronic digital piano
were purchased to enhance worship services.
Octaves of Handbells
and Choir Chimes were added to the church musical repertoire.
served as interim pastor.
Member, Paul Forsyth
started as an ELCA Global Missions Young Adult Missionary to Japan.
Pastor Breck McHan
served as pastor.
class was offered to
train members to be Stephen Ministers
who care for people in
Pastor Chris Hallemeier and
Pastor Ron Walter
served the church as
served as interim pastor.
Pastor Peter Jonas
served Christ Lutheran Church. Interns
from Wartburg Seminary who served
under Pastor Jonas were—
Kim Sturtz 2013-2014
Gus Barnes, Jr.
2012: the Mt.
Sinai Hispanic Church began using Christ Lutheran Church for worship
Member, Jenna Putz started
as an ELCA Global Missions Young Adult Missionary to Argentina.
Schoenknecht & PastorThomas Bryan are
serving as interim team pastors.
for this church history summary was
gathered from the following sources:
John’s-Christ Lutheran Church, Dedication
booklet, November 27, 1949
Lutheran Church, Arcadia, WI, Anniversary
Lutheran Church, Arcadia, WI, 1992
Daniel S. The History of St. John’s
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Arcadia,Wisconsin,
Church History CH3031
with Appendix 2 , December 12, 2005.