Church: Curtiss, Wis., St. Paul's American Lutheran History
Surnames: Wilhelm, Laabs, Krueger, House, Olson, Peterson, Holway, Odland, Anderson, Thompson, Tellock, Jenkins, Minshall, Dunow, Kramas, Podgorski, Johnson, Rosenau
----Source: Contributed by Eva Schiszik--From "100 yrs. to the Glory of God", 1985
History of the United Congregations: St. Paul's American Lutheran Church
Curtiss, Clark County, WI 1953 - 1985
Contributed by Eva Schiszik--From "100 yrs. to the Glory of God", 1985
St. Paul's ALC - 1960
The newly combined church was confronted with the question of whether to move the old Reformed church to be attached to the parish hall or to remodel it at its present site. In 1955 after the Rev. Max Wilhelm had accepted our call, the decision was made to build a new church, salvaging the usable materials from the old building.
Confirmation Class 1959: G. Laabs, D. Krueger, Rev. Wihelm
Confirmation Class 1962
(Back Row) K. House, D. Olson.
(Front Row) T. Peterson, Rev. D. Olson, S. Laabs
Serving on the building committee were Henry Nacker, Fred Laabs, Ralph Peterson, Arthur Laabs, Bud Nelson, Albert Bakke, Ervin Koerner, Harold House, Walter Krueger, Wayne Olson and Pastor Wilhelm. Minutes of their numerous meetings were recorded by Esther Peissig.
Building was begun early in 1956 and the roof of the new church was completed in a snowstorm at 10:30 on the night of November 14th; men from Holway helped, using lights on extension cords, as the shingling was finished. The new edifice was dedicated October 6, 1957, with several former pastors present for the ceremony.
On June 19, 1960, the 75th anniversary of our church was celebrated. Pastor Olson officiated at the morning worship and Pastors Max Wilhelm, Otis Odland and William Anderson participated in the afternoon service.
In December of 1961 Pastor Olson requested his release from the Curtiss-Holway parish and entered the military chaplaincy the next March.
On August 5, 1962, Arthur Thompson, president of the congregation, called a special meeting to submit and act upon a formal motion of ratification of the merger proposal uniting St. Paul's Lutheran Church and the Curtiss Evangelical Church. Our newly installed pastor, the Rev. Roger Tellock, explained the process after which a unanimous vote incorporated the two congregations. Thus was completed the joining of the three Curtiss churches which comprise St. Paul's Lutheran Church, now the official name.
Pastor Roger Tellock, 1962-1977
Later in December of the same year the congregation decided to give the Norwegian Lutheran Cemetery land to the cemetery Association to facilitate implementing the improvements planned. The next year the name was officially changed to St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery.
St. Paul's after addition of redwood steeple
In November, 1963 at a special congregational meeting, five goals were set forth and discussed. The first three, to finish the basement, to add a redwood steeple and to obtain a new organ were accepted. The last two, to build a new kitchen and to convert to gas heat, were rejected. Over the next few years the first three goals were fulfilled.
St. Paul's altar in 1960's
1965 saw the implementation of a three-year confirmation curriculum, consisting of one year in Sunday School and two years of confirmation instruction by the pastor.
In 1970 the congregation voted to aid any student who planned to enter the ministry by giving him $150 per semester. Dennis Olson, son of Wayne and Irene Olson, was the first student from our congregation to take advantage of this help. Dennis is presently the pastor of Eleva Lutheran Church in Eleva, Wisconsin. That same year the voting age was changed to include all confirmed members.
About this time we decided to have new pews and carpeting in our sanctuary. The money for the pews was donated by individual families. Other modernization plans included expanding the kitchen and refinishing the woodwork in both the church and the parish hall. Our new parish hall and kitchen were completed in 1975.
President Arlan Hamm, in 1977, proposed several new committees to advance the effectiveness of our ministry. The first, an evangelism committee, was to aid in the contacting of new members, arrange for 'greeters' each Sunday and plan family Night programs. A secretarial pool was to publish a monthly newsletter, and the grounds keeping labor pool was to take care of the exterior while the worship enhancement committee was to recruit choir members, decorate the sanctuary and help with the cleaning. That year we held Fireside Meetings in individual homes where church affairs and problems were discussed. In the fall of 1977 Pastor Tellock, after having served the parish for fifteen years, accepted a call to Sheboygan Falls where he is continuing his ministry. Pastor Allen Jenkins, retired, of Wausau capably served as interim pastor until the Rev. and Mrs. Alan Minshall and family moved here from Coloma in 1978.
Pastor Alan Minshall, 1978-1983
During Pastor Minshall's ministry we began the practice of holding one service at the old Norwegian Church in the country during the month of August. Henry and Virginia Dunow volunteered to repair and paint the old church. They have continued their efforts throughout the ensuing years with all supplies being paid for by contributions from interested persons. In the fall of 1984 Marcy Nelson and Paul Kramas, Jr. were married in this beautifully refurbished old church.
The area of concentration as outlined by President Wayne Olson in 1981 included evangelism, adult education with renewed emphasis on a Bible class, stewardship and development of the leadership of the church.
Interest from a trust fund established in 1982 by the Eleanor Podgorski estate and later added to by other benefactors, is to be used for benevolent purposes, the first of which was to buy Bibles for each new confirmand. Money from this source has also helped pay the expenses of children attending Bible camp.
The acquisition of a church secretary enables us to have our monthly newsletter. In 1980 Pastor Minshall suggested highlighting one of our senior members each month. The first to be so honored was 90-year-old Mrs. Edwin (Anna) Peterson, then a resident of the Continental Manor Nursing Home in Abbotsford.
In 1982, the year Curtiss celebrated its centennial, our church cooperated by having a special service at which Pastor Tellock officiated and by serving a dinner, during which time we renewed many old acquaintances.
In July 1983 Pastor Jeffrey Johnson accepted the call to St. Paul's.
1984 saw the adoption of the Partners in Caring project; money raised through this project will be used to further social services in the local area. We are also involved in the World Wide Hunger Appeal and Lutheran World Relief.
Currently we are planning to remodel the basement for additional Sunday School rooms. Our financial goal is to retire our local debt by the time we conclude our centennial celebration in July.
Plans for our centennial year include a dinner in February 1985, the actual anniversary of the official beginning of our church. Pastors Minshall and Tellock were here in March and April respectively, with receptions following both services. During May the Rev. Dennis Olson of Eleva will conduct joint Pentecost services with Holway, and Pastor J. Rosenau will be our guest minister in June. Our celebration will culminate in a service out at the old Norwegian Church, followed by a dinner at the park in town on July 28th. The Rev. and Mrs. O. K. Odland plan to be with us that day.
Were the founding fathers of our congregations to return to Curtiss, they would undoubtedly be overwhelmed by the myriad of changes in the church as well as in the community. Unchanged, however, is the word of the Lord which sustains us and enables us to endeavor to fulfill our Christians obligations to our community, to our synod, and to the church universal.
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