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Our Roots

May 30, 1898 Saint Paul Lutheran Church organized. Charter members were H. A. Wobig,
   A. F. Wobig, Charles Arndt, Henry Groth, Oscar Kunz, F. P. Wobig, Frank Haase,
   A. E. Wobig, Fred Schmuck, August Brierfeldt, Fred Haase, Fred Smutlack, Emil Krause,
   Frank Manthei, Frank Protcka, Paul Remarkel, John Krause and John Augestin. 
First Congregation Council: Frank Manthei, Frederick Smutlack, Frederick Schmuck,
           Herman Wobig, John Ferb
Only men’s names are listed as charter members. Women had no congregational vote.
During worship services, men sat on one side, women on the other. Records written in German

Services were held at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the 400 block SE.

Annual meeting 1899 voted to build the first sanctuary later that year.
     Building Committee: Louis Ferber, Frederick Wobig and John Ferber.
     Ladies Aid, Luther League and Men’s Club donated labor and financial support
                    for the buildings and furnishings.

Church dedication in 1899 was in both German and English.
          Worship was only in German until 1916 when English was used. 
           From 1916 - 1955 two communion services each year were in German.

Saint Paul Lutheran Church has been served by many pastors. First, “supply” or “student” pastors did the work part time, many times staying only a few days. In the early 1900s pastors’ salaries ranged from $80 to $200 a year. Many years, the one source of income for the pastor was certain special offerings. Job security was a problem. A young minister’s preaching might draw a reaction from some members who wanted to “throw him out” after only a few Sundays.


  • Joachim Oelkers, 1899;
  • John Fritz, 1900-01;
  • Rudolph Kohlrusch, 1902-03;
  • C. Meyer, 1904;
  • Herman Drews, 1905;
  • Alexander Moench, 1908-16;
  • Leopold Moench, 1916-18;
  • William Zibell, 1918-23;
  • Dr. Edward Arthur Welke, 1923-31;
  • Rev. George Matthiae, 1931-40;
  • Henry Prieb, 1940-48;
  • Erwin Otto Kunz, 1948-58;
  • Larry Kocha, 1958-63;
  • Elroy Buhr, 1963-68;        
  • Carl Klein, 1968-80;
  • Randall Schlecht, 1973-78;
  • William Straka, 1979-83;
  • Stephen Kidder, 1981-83;
  • Merlyn Satrom, 1983-84;
  • Terje C. Hausken, 1984-92;
  • Earl Amundson, 1985-88;
  • Judd Larson, 1989-90;
  • Tom Danklefson, 1990-93;
  • Tom Anderson, 1992-93;
  • Al Walck, 1994;
  • John Lohre, 1993-2014;
  • Gail Madson, 1994-2000;
  • Kathy Gauger, 2000-01;
  • Kip Groettum, 2001-Present
  • David Beckstrom, interim, Fall 2014-Feb., 2015
  • Audrey Lukasak, interim, March, 2015-Jan. 17, 2016
  • Pastor Darby Lawrence, Feb. 1, 2016-

Pastors who left pastoral ministry to serve in other work:

  • Leopold Moench to mathematics professor, Saint Paul Luther College, Saint Paul,
  •                                  in 1918 and 

  • Dr. Edward A. Welke to president of Minnesota District, American Lutheran Church
  •                                  in 1931 for 20+ years

    Seven members were ordained into parish ministry:

    • Robert Grendahl 1959
    • Allen Hastings 1964
    • Gary Wees 1990
    • Carl Glamm 1995
    • Matthew Hausken 2000 
    • Jack & Dawn Coffey 2000


    • First parsonage was purchased from Albert Glamm in 1906.
    • Present parsonage (213 2nd St SW) built in 1919. Pastor William Zibell lived in it first.
    • In 1972 the (1919) parsonage got new siding, shingles, and interior remodeling.
    • SPLC owned schoolhouse for religious instruction, used 4 days/week for 3 months/year.
    • In 1916 Sunday School wing was added to the sanctuary.
    • Fellowship hall built in 1957 with temporary wall - later opened to join to new sanctuary.
    • Present sanctuary built in 1969 and dedicated Feb 22, 1970.                                       Lord’s Supper scene from the original altar was built into the new altar.
    • Bell tower built in 1970 with memorials and money raised by the women.                        Bronze Bell (1300 lbs) purchased by Ladies Aid in 1911 still calls people to worship.

    The Organ and Organists:  

    • First pipe organ dedicated in 1927. Completely rebuilt during this 75th anniversary year, enlarged to 15 ranks and moved to present location in balcony. 
    • Second dedication May 20, 1973 with organ recital by Rev. R. E. Scoggin of Rochester.
    • Second complete rebuilding began in the summer of 1995. It is enlarged to 26 ranks,     10 pipe ranks and 16 electronic ranks. Dedicated during our centennial in 1998.
    • Some organists served for only a “thank you”; some for $12 a year.                                 Among them are:
      • Hedwig “Hattie” Schultz (Mrs Leonard Lueck)                                                    (Hattie played German service 1/year after 1932
      • Katherine Klingsporn 1932-2007,
      • Amanda Birkholz (sub Katherine Klingsporn’s daughters births 1943, '45, '48),   
      • Florence Lewis and Thelma Miller (also subbed for Katherine),
      • Diane Webb 2002- Present.

     Firsts and Milestones::

    • First baptism was Emma Clara Arndt on August 21, 1898
    • First confirmands were Ida Krause, Agnes Stiller, Helen Remarkel
    • First couple married was William Wobig and Amalia Stiller
    • First couple married in sanctuary was Mr & Mrs Fred Glamm
    • First recorded funeral is Albert Stiller, 13-year-old son of Mr & Mrs August Stiller.

    Significant changes are:

    1942 - German Seal of Saint Paul Lutheran Church is recorded in English.

    1944 - Set of individual glasses for communion is purchased, replacing the common cup.

    1947 - Envelope system for contributions is started.

    1950 - Building Fund Committee for a new church: A. E. Wobig, Ed Starz, Marion Hopper

    1954 - Congregation votes that all women members 21 or older are voting members.

    1959 - Lorraine Smith becomes the first church secretary (as a volunteer).

    1969 - New constitution is adopted. All members 18 years of age or older could now vote.

    1971 - First Communion classes began for fifth graders.

    1973 - Sunday School children (lower grades) attend 20 minutes of worship then go to class.

    1974 - Service Groups begin and work well.

    1975 - Office is built for the secretary. New blacktop is laid on the NE parking lot.

    1977 - Church library begins by lending out books.

    1978 - Kitchen is remodeled. We begin using, The Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW).

                Carlyle Johnson becomes church custodian.

    1979 - Congregation purchases the Glamm property, west of present sanctuary.

                Congregation sponsors missionary Pastor David Johnson and family

    1982 - Stewardship Committee completes an “every member visit”.

    1983 - Fellowship Hall gets new roof. Sell + move Glamm house + pave west parking lot.

                Doug Strandell becomes music director until 1988.

    1984 - Diane Webb becomes choir pianist.

    1985 - Grant Boyer became our parish assistant (June). Library moves to Fireside Room.

                New carpet laid in Narthex, Fireside Room + offices.

    1986 - Anna Loos Estate gifts Saint Paul. 
               Women make + present quilt to SPLC confirmed high 
    school graduates each May.
               1986 - 2008 they made and presented 350+ quilts

    1987 - Purchase and demolish Darrel Miller house to enlarge west parking lot.

    1988 - New office addition and handicapped facilities were added. 
               Diane Toogood is
    Minister of Music for 8 years, organizing and conducts 7 choirs.

    1989 - Ruby Mohr gives Steinway grand piano.

    1990 - Establish Building fund. Chime bells are a gift from Rudy Mohr.

                Youth attend Dallas National Youth Gathering. 
                Stephen Ministers start training October.

    1991 - Ratify “Amended constitution”. Trustees and deacons now called council members.

                Secretary Lorraine Smith retires: 31 years. 
                Karel Titus is new administrative secretary.

    1992 - Committee of 5 raises funds for office remodeling.

                Youth go on Boundary Waters canoe trip. 
                Establish Bill Mahlke campership memorial.

                Office begins using computers for bookkeeping. 
                Jule McCullough is volunteer office staff.

    1993 - Congregation amends by-laws to establish a Mission Board. 
                Church income is $196,180.

                Remodel the office area. 
                Youth backpack trip at Sky Ranch, CO.

    1994 - Grief and Growth seminar begins using interim Pastor Al Walck’s 8 week outline.

                Youth attend Atlanta National ELCA Youth Gathering.

                 Responsion benevolence program begins.

             Reshingle sanctuary roof.             
    Repair hail damage on Fellowship hall roof.

             Gift of 2 pouring chalices to use for Holy Communion.

    1995 – Congregation approves Mission (Board) Committee constitutionally.

                Mission Committee administers Responsion monies for local + worldwide needs.

                Fund begins for new sanctuary lighting. 
                Fund begins for rebuilding the pipe organ.

                Seventh graders go on retreat at Good Earth Village to study the Apostle’s Creed.

                High School youth canoe trip to Boundary Waters.

                We adopt a “sister” congregation, San Lucas Lutheran, in Bogota, Colombia

    1996 - Kent Jurgenson becomes music director. 
               Youth trip to Superior Hiking Trail on North Shore.

               “Fellowship for Families” begins.

                Youth and adult work/service group paints Irene Glamm’s house.

                Pave the west parking lot.  Lay new Carpet in the sanctuary.

               “Dinners for 8” fellowship groups begin.
                Jule McCullough begins as additional paid office staff.

                Church Income is $205,777.

    1997 -  Centennial Celebration Committee oversee special event each month of 100th year.
                Congregation purchases adjacent Samuelson & Holte 
    properties for $82,000. 
                Youth attend New Orleans National ELCA Youth Gathering

             Youth + adults paint Arnold Ferber home: service project. 
             Music Director: Doug Strandell
             Marlowe McGowan - Financial Secretary

    1998 - 100 years old  
    Dedicate rebuilt Pipe organ in honor of Katherine Klingsporn.
    Carlyle Johnson retires after 20 years.  
    New pews upholstery, sanctuary lights, landscape.

                New picture directory of members celebrates Centennial

    1999 - Create 10 for 10 to thank God for 100 years.  
    Purchase the Keane property for $140,000.

                Part-time Education Director: Lynn Ness
    Replace 19 windows in fellowship hall with bequest.

                Custodians: David & Becky Radtke
                Paid Office Staff: Carol Larson

    - 30 Youth + Alfonso Corso (Bogota, Colombia) St Louis National Youth Gathering

                Install 2 new boilers.
                Custodians: Lonnie, Audrey, Kelly& Casey Sather

    - Pastor Kip Groettum begins
                Project worship words on screen (9/9). 
                Give Scholarship $ to San Lucas in Bogota, Colombia

                Largest special offering ever is Lutheran Disaster Relief (9/11), $3,000.

                Stewardship picture presentation shows budget percentages and member activities.

                Begin series of 7 years of Lenten dramas, 5 by Arley Fadness. 
                Lead Music Accompanist: Diane Webb
                Church Income is $299,481.44

     - Education Director position: Lynn Ness & Laura Gathje share
                Take down Sacristy walls.

                Move screen to back wall. We project worship words and pictures to screen.
               Daniel Corso (Alfonso’s brother) stays with Lunde family to learn English.

                New picture directory of members honors Katherine Klingsporn
                        for 70 years of Service in Music to the Glory of God, 1932-2002.

    2003 - 
    Jan 22 special meeting - 84 yes, 12 no: construct 104’X64’ addition: 
                                                                                                       $654,126 @ 5.75%

                34 Youth attend National Youth Gathering in Atlanta, GA

                Fiancial Secretary: Julie Vahlsing  
                Paid Office Staff: Diane Webb

    2004 -
      Education Directors - 
    Jody Titus & Laura Gathje share   
                ELCA MIF Loan $743,904 @ 5.25%
    astor Kip Groettum & Laurel Stoen marry here - June 26
                Lead Office Staff:
    Lori Weis 
                Administrative Financial Staff: Karel Titus
                Oct 3 special meeting: 107 yes and 115 no – votes not to buy Ella Reiter house

    2005 –
    Move Samuelson house at 209 Second AVE SW - doubling west parking lot
                Youth Mission Trip to Appalachia Kentucky

    2006 –
    Contemporary Sat worship service begins Feb 4.
                Complete West parking lot: cement driveways, curb + gutter, west sidewalk,
                              bituminous topping, striping for 52 parking spaces $43,120.32.
    Rock wall erected north side west parking lot by volunteers.

     Youth attend San Antonio ELCA National Youth Gathering.

     Financial Secretary: Lydia Grant
     Church Income is $399,523.58 – highest in our 110 years.

    2007 -
    April 14 auction $4,204.30 for: parking lot $500, building addition $1000, 
                           Baja adult/family mission trip $2000 and benevolence $710.

                Complete Landscape planting on north side rock wall - given by Ron Flemke family.

    Youth July Mission Trip Blackfeet Reservation, MT

    New internet based education curriculum, “Akaloo” (means to follow Jesus)
    begins in September for children through adults.

                Oct 14 – sixth annual “Bless the Animals” worship

    2008 – 
    Financial Secretary: Kim Fall

                April 5 auction raises $10,000+ for building materials.

                47 people built 4 homes in Baja, Mexico in October 11-18

                March 29 – Fifteenth annual Grief and Growth seminar

                14th year holding Healing Services in April + October (communion Sun)

                6th year holding Vocational Blessing services in May + November (communion Sun)

                New picture directory of members celebrates 110 years.

    – Saint Olaf College Art Professor Emeritis Mac Gimse: “7 Last Words in Sculpture” 
      in Lent and Easter Sunday – hands on sculpture expresses Jesus Words from Cross

                Financial Administrator: Kim Fall. Karel Titus finished her FA work in August.

                Financial Secretary: Heather Barker

                Children’s Choir began in Sept – Heather Dale director, Diane Webb accompaniest

                Praise Team led 2nd Sunday of month worship. They began 8th year in Sept.

                National ELCA theme – God’s Work, Our Hands (on sanctuary banner)
                New Worship Projector purchased - Sharp XG-C435X-L     $2,311
    New Orleans National Youth Gathering – 30 youth, 8 adults,  July 20-29
                         36,000 each did 1 day of service to New Orleans community
                Next Youth Gathering will return to NO in 2012
                Interfaith Hospitality Network, at PI UMC
                          2nd year, 43 volunteers, house homeless 4 weeks/year

    2010 "God's Work, Our Hands" is our mission and daily work
                       to tell our faith story in word and deed.

                 15 youth and 4 adults spent a week serving others in Chicago.

                 54 trained volunteers who help with the Interfaith Hospitality Network.

                 18 children were baptized.

                 20 3rd graders received Bibles and were taught how to use them.

                 25  5th graders participated in first communion instruction.

                 26  10th graders affirmed their baptisms in the rite of confirmation.

                 Our area was flooded Sept 23-24.  SPLC helped house victims
                        SPLC church members logged hours using their hands to do God's work 
                        helping those affected by the flood water.

                  15 new families joined our church.

                  Community members, via the Pine Island Sharing Shelves invited to Wed night meals
                         during the summer
                  Education Director position: Laura Gathje & Tracy Barsness share

    2011 -
    28 baptisms
               15 new families joined
               33  3rd graders were given Bibles and instructions in how to use them
               19  10th graders Affrirmed their Baptism - last 10th grade class
               24   9th graders Affirmed their Baptism - 1st 9th grade class
               48 SPLC members and 7 others built 5 homes near Vincente Guerrero, Baja, Mexico
    Oronoco/Pine Island community Committee helped with flood recovery
               Bell Choir Directors: Terry Biberdorf followed by Joe Jackson

    114 years of serving God in the Pine Island area and counting.  1318 baptized members.

                We thank God for the faithful witnesses to God’s love 
                      who share their lives, time and talents 
    through Saint Paul Lutheran Church.

    Click here to send us email.  mailto:saintpaulpi@yahoo.com