Chesterton Tribune

History of St Paul Lutheran Church

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History of St Paul Lutheran Church

This article was printed in the Chesterton Tribune, October 18, 1972.


St. Paul Lutheran congregation will observe the 75th anniversary of its organization, on Sunday Nov. 11th.  The Festival service will begin at 10:45 a. m. with the Rev. Howard Behrens of Franklin Park, Ill., preaching the sermon.  At the close of the service the roll will be called of all who were confirmed in St. Paul church.

After the service there will be a dinner in the multi-purpose room of the Yost school.  The dinner will be followed by a short program and a pageant entitled "The Christian Sings From the Cradle to the Grave."

St. Paul's congregation invites all to join them in observing this momentous occasion in its history.

St. Paul Ev. Lutheran church is one of the oldest church organizations in Porter.  It is a member of the Lutheran church - Missouri synod.  It was founded in 1887 by a group of members who had preciously been affiliated with the present St. John's church of Chesterton.

Many of these founders were employees of the Porter brick yard upon which Porter residents depend for a livelihood.  They were a German speaking group; consequently, their church services were conducted in the Germany language.  Even thought English has been the only church language used for many years, it is not unusual to hear one of the younger generation refer to St. Paul's as the "German" Lutheran church.

Founders of the church in the year 1887 were:  John Bartels, William Biem, Henry Beu, John Beu, W. Bush, J. Brahst, John Foss, William Garlon, F. Genssen, F. Goetzelmann, Ernest Grehe, G. Grieger, Karl Huehr, K.Huepner, August Kemp, John Krueger, R. Krueger, B. Michaels, F. Michaels, J. Moldenhauer, M. Parlock, William Pazels, W. Rohrdanz, T. Schuett, Henry Schwartz, A. Sokshensky, William Schroeder, B. Stiepner, A. Strueck, Paul Tappart, H. Timmerman, August Witt, G. Wolenschleger, and K. Michaels.

The congregation was first served by the Rev. F. W. Schlechte, who served a church in Otis.  He served until 1895.  From 1895 to 1900, the Rev. M. C. Baade was pastor and from 1900 to 1904 the Rev. E. H. Polzin served.

In 1905, the Rev. John A. Bescherer was called from Lakin, Kansas.  He became the first resident pastor and served St. Paul congregation for 54 years. With God's blessing he officiated for five generations.  On October 4, 1959, the date of his retirement, the congregation expressed its gratitude and honor to him at a special service and dinner.

On the evening of the same day, the Rev. Winfred Neuendorf of Kokomo was installed and was extended a welcome at a reception held after the installation service.  The Rev. Neuendorf served until November 5, 1961, when he accepted a call from the Wanatah-Hanna congregations.

For the first time in 74 years, St. Paul congregation was dependent on visiting pastors from Valparaiso University.  On April 4, 1962 its prayers were answered when a call was accepted by the Rev. L. W. Schulenburg of Decatur, Ind.  Pastor Schulenburg was installed on May 20, 1962 and is serving St. Paul at the present time.  A reception for Pastor and Mrs. Schulenburg and their children was held after the installation service.

St. Paul's record of six pastors in a period of 75 years is outstanding in the community.

In thankfulness for God's many blessings, St. Paul congregation has celebrated anniversaries in special observances of members and friends.  Especially significant were the festivities and reunions on the occasions of Pastor and Mrs. Bescherer's 25th anniversary at St. Paul, 40 years at St. Paul, his 50 years in the ministry and 50 years at St. Paul.  A rededication service was held on October 25, 1953.  In March of 1957, St. Paul congregation became self supporting.  Up until this time and for many years Pastor Bescherer had served as pastor also of St. Peter's Lutheran church, McCool.

Today St. Paul's congregation again gives all thanks to God as it observes the 75th anniversary of its organization.  "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto they name give glory."  So say we all with deepest gratitude to God for His unmerited blessings.

The church board of the congregation at the present time consists of: James Gland, Herman Pope, John Perez, Charles Brown, Dennis Bucksbarg, Charles Masson, Vernon Packard, Jack Gland, Henry Jacobsen, and Paul Dillingham.

The organizations of the congregation are the following: the Sunday School, the Adult Bible class, the Teenage Bible class, the Women's Missionary League, the Ladies' Aid, the Men's club, the Mr. and Mrs. Club, the Youth League, the Ruth circle, the Lydia guild, the Adult choir, and the Junior choir.

The records of St. Paul Lutheran list the following official acts during its 75 year history: baptisms 504: confirmations 403: marriages 109: burials 226.

The real history of St. Paul congregation has not been written, Pastor Schulenburg says, nor can it be written.  It will, however, be known in heaven.  Nor has the real task, the real history of St. Paul Lutheran been completed.  This will not be until the Church Militant because the Church Triumphant.

As in the past, so in the future may St. Paul church be a fountainhead from which flows, the pure gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of immortal souls of men to the glory of the everlasting Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

 Posted 9/21/2002