Warner Township

Clark County, Wisconsin

Weside Reformed Church 60th Anniversary

Contributed by Betty Comstock

Churches: 60th Anniversary, West Side Reformed Church, Warner Twp., Clark Co., Wisconsin

------Source: Greenwood Gleaner (Greenwood, Clark Co., Wis.) 06/21/1934

Surnames: Abel, Awe, Beilke, Bruengger, Buker, Busch, Decker, Dueminler, Franz, Franzmeier, Fravert, Goeke, Hall, Humke, Kippenhan, Liebzeit, Meyer, Meinholdt, Miller, Mueller, Noah, Penfield, Pfeiffer, Reineking, Saewert, Schmalz, Schoepfle, Schwarze, Senf, Steiger, Toburen, Veenker, Vollrath, Vriesen, Wehrmann, Zenk

West Side Reformed Church to Celebrate Sixtieth Anniversary Next Sunday

Appropriate Services will Be Held During the Day With Music Program in the Evening

Rounding out sixty years of its existence the West Side Reformed Church, which was organized on January 11, 1874, will observe its anniversary with special services on Sunday, June 24, 1934.

The service for the anniversary will begin with the Sunday school session at 9:00 a.m. At this service, the Rev. Otto Saewert of Elkhart Lake, Wis., a former pastor, will address the Sunday school. In the morning worship beginning at 10:00 a.m. the Rev. Otto Saewert will deliver the German sermon, and the Rev. Otto Vriesen of Hamburg, Minn., another former pastor, will deliver the English sermon. In the afternoon service beginning at 2:30 o’clock , the German sermon will be preached by the Rev. Otto Vriesen and the English sermon by the Rev. E.G. Pfeiffer.

Special music will be rendered at both services by the Junior and Senior choirs of the church. Dinner and supper will be served in the church basement to all friends and guests attending these services. In the evening beginning at 8 o’clock a musical will be presented The complete program of this service will be printed elsewhere in this paper. All members and friends are cordially invited to attend these services.

Sixty-one years ago the Rev. C.H. Schoepfle, a Reformed minister of La Crosse, Wis., came to the town of Warner and conducted German services for a number of families in what was then known at the “Decker Schoolhouse”. A year later on January 11, 1874 a meeting was called and the congregation organized as “Die Deutsch Reformierte Immanuels Gemeinde in Town Warner, Clark County, Wisconsin”, with the following charter members: Mr. and Mrs. Henry Schwarze, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Buker, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Decker, Mr. and Mrs. August Beilke, Mr. and Mrs. Ludwig Noah, John and Philip Vollrath, August and Adolph Noah, Henry Humke, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Schwarze. Besides these William Vollrath also took active part in this congregation from the time it was organized, but became a member some time later. These last six members are sill living, and it is greatly in their honor that the congregation intends to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary. Mr. and Mrs. Herman Schwarze are the only living couple who can celebrate their sixtieth anniversary with the congregation.

At this first meeting the Rev. C.H. Schoepfle was challenged to continue with the preaching services in the town of Warner, to which he willingly responded. In his absence reading services, conducted by one of the members were held. Soon the want of a church edifice of their own was making itself felt among the members and on April 25, 1875, the members bought forty acres of land from Russell H. Penfield for $160. This sum was immediately paid in cash, which was quite an accomplishment in those days for such a little group of poor pioneers. A two-storied log house was erected, the first story serving as the parsonage and the second story as the auditorium in which services were held. A cemetery also was laid out in the south east corner of the church property.

Shortly after the Rev. C.H. Schoepfle relinquished his duties, the congregation challenged the Rev. Henry Bruengger who had studied in the Mission House Seminary, to assume the duties of pastor. This challenge was accepted and he came here on Christmas day in the year 1878. At this time the congregation consisted of thirty members and the preaching services were well attended. During his pastorate in the year 1881 the following members were received into the congregation: Peter Mueller, John Schwarze, Henry Meyer, Frederick Wehrmann, John Dueminler, William Reineking, Adam Kippenhan, John Kippenhan, Frank Abel, Christ Senf, William Toburen, and Christ Kippenhan, The Rev. Henry Bruengger severed his pastoral relation in the year 1882.

The next pastor to assume the duties of the congregation was the Rev. G. Veenker. During his pastorate in the year 1884, the August Franz family was received into this congregation. He resigned his pastorate in the fall of 1884.

From the year 1885 to 1887 the congregation was served by the Rev. C. Busch who did not belong to the Reformed church and who had studied in Germany. During his pastorate the congregation became a member of the Sheboygan Classis. Thus far it had been a member of the Minnesota Classis.

When Rev. C. Busch left in the year 1887, he was succeeded by the Rev. John Schmalz who had just completed his theological course at the Mission House Seminary. He has the honor of serving this congregation longer that any other minister. He served this congregation for twenty years. During his pastorate a new church building was planned and constructed by the late August Franz, and it is still being used today for educational, instructional and recreational purposes. In the year 1889 the congregation celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary and in connection with this entertained the Sheboygan Classis. At that time the congregation had 171 communicant members. In 1907 a Ladies’ Aid was organized, which now numbers 51. The present officers are: Mrs. Albert Liebzeit, President; Mrs. Lydia Goeke, Vice-President; Mrs. Edwin Steiger, Secretary; Mrs. George Humke, Treasurer and Mrs. Paul Franzmeier, Treasurer of the Flower Fund. It is still active in supporting the local congregation and the church in general. During his pastorate here, Rev. John Schmalz also organized Reformed churches at Thorp, Town of Hixon, Longwood and Greenwood City. The last two were united with this congregation and formed one charge. After these many years of faithful service the Rev. John Schmalz was called to Harbine, Nebraska, in the fall of 1908.

His successor was the Rev. O.J.F. Saewert, who came here in the fall of 1908. During his pastorate plans were made and the contract for a new church edifice and parsonage awarded. The entire cost of the church including inside furnishings and the parsonage was approximately $7,000. The corner stone of this church building was laid on May 29, 1910 and on September 25 of the same year this building was dedicated. Many will remember this as a very dry year. In 1911 the congregation entertained the Sheboygan Classis

The Rev. M. Hall of Hoesington, Kansas, was called to succeed Ref. O.J.F. Saewert and was installed as pastor on August 6, 1916. During his pastorate our country declared war on Germany and her allies. These were trying times for the congregation, because many of the members had come from Germany or had relatives there. The members of the congregation who served their country in this war are the following; Otto Reineking, Alfred Schwarze, Emil Noah, William Wehrman, Gustav Wehrman, Calvin Franz, Arthur Meinholdt, Oscar Decker, Calvin Miller, Paul Schwarze, Arthur Awe, August Kippenhan, Otto Fravert, Adolph Franz, Calvin Noah and Arthur Miller. The Rev. F. Hall resigned his pastorate in the spring of 1921.

The congregation was next served by the Rev. G.J. Zenk, but after serving three months, he was forced to resign, due to the fact that this climate was unwholesome for his wife.

The Rev. Otto J. Vriesen of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, was installed as his successor on September 11, 1921. During his pastorate the Reformed churches of Braun Settlement and Greenwood City were separated from this church and formed a separate charge. During his pastorate also a heating and lighting system was installed and many improvements were made on the church property. English services were introduced and held once each month. The Busy Bee Club, consisting of young women of the congregation and conducted in the English language, was organized. This society is still active in supporting the local congregation and in missionary activities. The present officers are: Miss Leona Franz, President; Miss Beatrice Vollrath, Vice-President; Miss Cora Humke, Secretary and Miss Erna Miller, Treasurer.

During his pastorate there, a new cemetery was laid out on the west side of the church property. In the year 1924 the fiftieth anniversary of the congregation was celebrated and as that time also the Sheboygan Classis was entertained. The Rev. O.J. Vriesen resigned his pastorate in the spring of 1929.

From a small group the congregation grew until at the present time it numbers 246 members.

During the past sixty years the total pastoral duties performed were as follows: baptisms 493, confirmations 462, marriages 127, and burials 143.

The officers are Henry Awe and Fred Buker, elders; Emil Noah, Otto Reineking and Henry Vollrath deacons.

Looking back over sixty years, the Immanuel Reformed congregation has steadily gone forward and has been a force of righteousness in the community.



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