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Celebrating 175 years: 1848-2023

Activities: February through July

Amanda Roedl hangs the first of 12 new banners that she and her daughter, Kaley, are making to celebrate our anniversary.


Anniversary Banner

February Celebration Activity: Fried Chicken Dinner

From 1971 to 2018, our congregation raised money with a fried chicken dinner on the first Sunday of February.  On February 5, 2023, Nancy Kruse and her family hosted a fried chicken dinner with all of our traditional sides. They served members of the congregation in memory of Roger Kruse and in honor of our 175th anniversary. Thank you to the Kruse family for your generosity and for all of the food and fellowship memories.

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Anniversary Banner

March Celebration Activity: Baptism Recognition 

In our 175 years, hundreds of people were baptized into God's family at our baptismal font. On Sunday, March 5, many of those still living gathered again to worship in our church and visit over coffee and sweet treats after the service.

One of the highlights of the day was when Delbert Kueker, baptized in 1931, met and held Josie Kloepper, baptized in 2022.

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Anniversary Banner

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April Celebration Activity: Confirmation Recognition

Over 175 years, hundreds of young adults and adults were confirmed into membership at St. John's. On April 2, 2023 we were blessed to confirm Lacee Liefer and to celebrate with her and her family and with  dozens of confirmands from our church history.


Harold Thies (1944), Delbert Kueker (1945), Dorothy Zipfel (1945), and Art Thies (1947) were the four oldest confirmands on hand for the service and for the coffee and sweet treats reception afterwards. 

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The 175th Anniversary Committee takes a break from their work long enough for a picture. Thank you, ladies!


Anniversary Banner

May Celebration Activity: Wedding Recognition

Over our 175-year history, many couples have exchanged wedding vows. On May 7, we celebrated with several who had been married in our little church and who were able to return for a coffee and sweet treats reception.

Fern and Gilbert Goedelmann were married in 1953. Gilbert passed away last year, but LaVerne joined our celebration with her daughter. Mark and Diann Scherle are our newlyest weds who exchanged vows in 2016.

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June Celebration Activity: Cemetery

In 1848 our congregation bought one acre of land east of Ruma for the site of our first log church and for a cemetery. When we outgrew the first church, we built our current church and dedicated it in March 1867.


Our cemetery remains at its original location.

Three of our former pastors are buried there, as well as ten of the men who served as chairmen of the congregation.  For a list of all the names, see the last page of each of the June bulletins.

On June 4, the anniversary committee organized a gathering after church to place Christian flags at the site of those graves.  The ceremony ended with prayer, singing the Doxology, and reciting The Lord's Prayer.

Charlie and Ellie Schrader helped place the flags as anniversary committee members read information about each pastor and chairman.

Rev. Johann Caspar Noll is the first pastor buried in our cemetery. He served St. John's from the summer of 1860 to October 2, 1878, when he died in the parsonage.

Rev. Henry Kuring, Sr. served St. John's from June 1958 to March 4, 1964 when he died in the pulpit during a midweek Lenten service.


Anniversary Banner

Rev. Carl Schrader served our congregation from 1879 to 1890.

Anniversary Committee member, Diann, points out the site of one of two Gold Star Mothers in our cemetery. Dorothea Degener lost her son, William, during the Civil War.  Mary Dannenbrink also lost her son, Freddie, in WWII.


Anniversary Banner

Service Flag and American Flag

July Celebration Activity: Veterans

On July 2, we honored our veterans after the worship service with patriotic songs and prayer.  The church minutes for 1942 reference the purchase of a new service flag.  That flag is shown in the photo at left. The gold star is in honor of Private First Class Alfred "Freddie" Dannenbrink. He was reported missing in action during the battle of Peleliu Island near the Philippines and was declared dead on October 18, 1944. He was 27. 


175th Anniversary Veterans Recognition 

Veterans as of July 1, 2023


The CIVIL WAR:  April 12, 1861 to May 26, 1865

Wilhelm “William” Degener – Army, Corporal.  Buried in Georgia at the Marietta National Cemetery.  *** Died in Action ***

Joseph Roetheli – Army, Private


WORLD WAR I:  July 28, 1914 to Nov. 11, 1918

Harry Degener – Army, Private          

Henry Hanebutt – Army, Private

William Hanebutt – Army, field artillery

Gustave Krause – Army

Theodore Kruse - Army

Sigmund Thies - Army, 106th Infantry

William Wilkening - Army, Private First Class


WORLD WAR II:  Sept. 1, 1939 to Sept. 2, 1945

Alfred Dannenbrink - Army.  Memorialized in Manila, Philippines.  *** Died in Action ***

Albert Louis Heinrich Eggers                                      

Elroy Hanebutt - Army Air Corps       

Erwin Krause - Marine Corps                                     

Rolla Clendenin Ling - Army

George Neely - Army

Charles J. Schrader - Army Air Corps.  Buried in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery, Red Bud, IL

Elmer H. Sievers - Army

Harold Wegener - Army


The KOREAN WAR:  June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953

Boniface Becker - Army                                                   Melvin Hanebutt - Army

Fred Miller - Navy

Ralph Wolter - Air Force



Norman May - Army


The VIETNAM WAR:   Nov. 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975

Charles Deterding - Navy                               

Firmin Henry Hanebutt - Army                                   

Paul Liefer - Army Reserves

Darrell Erwin Schrader - Army, drafted.  Buried in Kolmer Memorial Cemetery, Waterloo, IL

James William Tobin - Army, drafted

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