Church: Abbotsford Christ Lutheran (100 Years - 2015)
Contact: Robert Lipprandt
Surnames: Ahrens, Borchardt, Bruce, Busse, Hunsicker, Loehrke, Lueck, Paul, Schauer, Sprengler
----Source: The Tribune - Phonograph (Abbotsford, WI) 10/21/2015
Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Abbotsford, is celebrating 100 years this Sunday, Oct. 25.
The celebration will begin with service at 10 a.m. conducted by Vicar Don Bruce. Throughout the day, a slideshow will portray the history and pictures of members and activities.
A noon meal will be available. An afternoon session will begin at 2 p.m. with Rev. Kenneth Loehrke leading the program. Rev. Ken Schauer (Alaskan missionary), Rev. Robert Busse and Rev. Ed Borchardt will speak during this session. Also recognized in the afternoon session will be former pastors who have served the church, Rev. Paul Hunsicker, Rev. Gary Paul and special guest pastor, Donald Sprengler. North Wisconsin District president Dwayne Lueck, Wausau, will be another guest.
At present, Christ Lutheran is in a dual parish agreement with St. Paul Lutheran Church of Green Grove, sharing a vicar.
Two Lutheran-based organizations find their home at Christ Lutheran, the Priscilla Guild LWML and the Lutheran Layman’s League (LLL). The guild meets monthly and the LLL meets each quarter. Both organizations are important arms of the LCMS.
A full-day day care facility shares the church building. Presently there are 25 students and seven teachers and helpers.
History is recalled:
The first church started with a number of Lutheran families in 1915 in the village of Abbotsford. Services were held in the old Episcopalian Church building. Three days after the group organized as a church body, they purchased the building for $700. St. John’s Lutheran, another Lutheran church body located three miles northeast of Abbotsford, was organized in 1924.
The building Christ Lutheran was using, “The Old White Church,” burned to the ground in February 1925. A new brick building with a seating capacity of 180 was constructed at the corner of Birch and Second streets for a cost of $10,000. The cornerstone was laid in April 1925 and the new building was dedicated Aug. 16, 1925.
By 1945 the congregation had grown to 290 baptized members. At this time a call was extended to Rev. F.H. Sprengler. In 1954 a new addition was built for a cost of $50,000, bringing a 300-person capacity to the building. The congregation consisted of 459 baptized members at that time.
Seven years later, work needed to be done to accommodate the growing congregation. In 1961 the work began. When completed, there was room for 425 worshippers. There were 609 baptized members at the time of the 50th anniversary in 1965.
Rev. Daniel Ahrens was called to Christ Lutheran in 1983. Soon after his time with the church, plans were made for the congregation’s 75th jubilee. Many mini-celebrations took place during this time.
Shortly after the event, discussions were held about remodeling or building due to space demands for children and handicap needs.
Jan. 15, 1995, after consideration, the voter’s assembly decided to erect a new building and the project was called “Building for Christ.”
Committees were formed and plans were started. The groundbreaking for the new building took place on the present site at 308 W. Linden St. March 17, 1996. Construction was soon underway.
Building committee members were sincere about hiring local companies to build, furnish and decorate the new building. The total cost was kept under $1 million through careful planning. The cornerstone was laid Aug. 25, 1996.
The last service was held Oct. 20, 1996, in the building on Second and Birch streets. Rev. Daniel Ahrens led the congregation. He retired Aug. 24, 1997.
Following Ahren’s retirement, Rev. Paul Hunsicker filled the pulpit for 12 years. When he retired, Rev. Gary Paul was a vacancy pastor at the church from 2011 to 2015. Vicar Don Bruce is presently doing his vicarage at Christ Lutheran.
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