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