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Centennial Celebration

St. Peter's Lutheran Church

The following information and photos were copied from the 1967 50th Anniversary Booklet


A call was extended to Rev. A. M. Schemmp of Eldridge, So. Dak. He accepted the Call and moved to Brunsville with his family in June, 1928. He faithfully served the congregation for over eleven years, preaching the Gospel and teaching the young. His wife also was a faithful worker in the Ladies Aid and among the members of the congregation. Even then, when the congregation met with adverse financial conditions, caused by drought and grasshoppers, and was not able to pay the stipulated salary, he stuck to his post, hoping for better times. In 1939 he received a Call to Atalissa, Iowa.

He felt inclined to accept this Call and asked the Congregation for an honorable discharge, which was granted him. Up to this time the German language was still much in use in the Congregation; about every other Sunday the service would be conducted in German.

The Congregation asked the Rev. L. Summak of the Lutheran Church of Merrill to serve the Congregation until it was able to call a resident pastor again. He agreed and served faithfully in preaching and teaching until June, 1940. In May, 1940, Pastor H. Flentje of Sheldon was called to serve the Congregation. He accepted the Call and moved with his wife on July 5, 1940, to Brunsville. During the last two years the Congregation increased considerably in membership and made many improvements. The old garage was torn down and in a better place was built up again. New cement approaches were laid to the church and parsonage. The Church was remodeled with Nu-Wood. The outside of the church and parsonage was painted. A new cistern at the parsonage was built. The interior of the parsonage was redecorated by the Ladies Aid. Also the parsonage was newly shingled. Willingly and cheerfully the members donated money, time and labor to make these improvements. 

 By the end of the first twenty-five years of the congregation's history the English language was being used exclusively in church services and in Christian education. Honorable mention was made at the 25th Anniversary of the Congregation of the faithful service rendered by one of its members during the first twenty-five years of its history, namely, that of Mr. John Dirks, who was one of the founders of the Congregation and served the same as Secretary for twenty-two years and in other offices for the other years. 

The Silver Jubilee Booklet also contained a picture of its oldest member at the time, namely that of Mrs. Mary Bruns, whose family the village of Brunsville was named after. The second half of the 50 year life of St. Peter Congregation began in 1942. Pastor H. Flentje had served the Congregation two years by that time. World War II was raging at the time and many of the young men of the Congregation were in the armed services. The welfare of these men was of great concern to the Pastor, who referred to them affectionately as "my boys." They in turn felt very close to their pastor.

Pastor Flentje's health began failing during his ministry at St. Peter's and he passed away in April of 1946. His was a fruitful ministry in a parish he loved and it made a decided change in the attitude and the mood of the people. During the depression years the outlook had been one of pessimism and apathy in the face of a declining membership and waning program. Pastor Flentje's optimism and strong leadership gave the congregation much needed courage and vitality which is evident even to this day.


Rev. Elmer Jacobs of Merrill was asked to serve the congregation for the period following the death of Pastor Flentje. He served until 1947 when Pastor A. F. Zenk was called. Under his ministry there was again a period of progress. The congregation gradually grew and eventually there began to develop a feeling of an increasing need for larger facilities, particularly in the Sunday School. Discussions were held concerning this and in 1955 they were ready to build. Ground was broken that year for a new brick structure, greatly enlarging the worship area and providing space for Sunday School classrooms. The cost of the new church was about $55,000.00, which was fully paid within four years of its construction. There were numerous gifts from members of the congregation and friends in the community which were used in constructing the new church edifice. Ground for church was donated by Henry J. Harms. The Men's Brotherhood conducted a cooperative farming venture which resulted in a sum of $15,000.00 for the building fund. It is also remembered with gratitude by the congregation that Pastor A. F. Zenk made a substantial contribution through his acceptance of a nominal salary during these struggling years, at a great personal sacrifice to himself and his family. This self-denial cannot be measured in dollars and cents, but it is doubtful that as much could have been accomplished without it. Several years following his retirement, the congregation was especially happy to participate in the observance of the 50th Anniversary of Pastor Zenk's ordination and help him to celebrate that significant occasion, expressing a measure of their appreciation and esteem for his steadfast devotion and untiring efforts in behalf of this "his Church.'" Thus the church was built through the love, enthusiasm, gifts and sacrifices of pastor and parishioners and friends of the congregation. Dedication services were held May 27, 1956, and mortgage-burning ceremonies were held in May of 1960.

In the year 1958 an important step was taken in the life of the congregation. Up to this time the congregation had maintained itself as a one point parish. Now, however, it was beginning to feel the pressure of an economic trend that was sweeping across all of rural America, namely, larger farms and fewer farmers. This had its effect on the church in terms of necessary consolidations and realignment. St. Peter was no exception here. So, in 1958, under the leadership of Pastor E. E. Senst, a merger was brought about with the St. Paul Lutheran Church of Johnson Township which he was serving at the time. Now a two-point parish was organized with each one sharing the cost of operation. They maintained separate worship services, Sunday School, Women's organizations, and Brotherhoods as previously, but united their Luther Leagues and Confirmation classes under one and have continued this practice up to the present time. Pastor Senst continued to serve and guide this newly organized parish for the most part of its first year. On Dec. 1, 1958 he resigned his post and yielded it to a young man who was soon to be called.

Rev. Cyril Jandrey was called before the end of the year in 1958 and, upon his acceptance of the Call, became the first active, full-time resident pastor of the parish. His was the task of guiding the two congregations in a united service in Kingdom ministries. The Luther League, working now as one, took on new interest and zeal as they planned with their pastor devotional programs, outings, Bible camping and conventions. A goodly delegation of young people of the parish attended the International Luther League Convention in Miami in 1960.

St Peter's Lutheran Church

Centennial

"...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matt 28:20

   

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