IAGenWeb Bremer County

History of Peace Evangelical and Reformed Church
(Also known as Peace United Church of Christ)

The following was written on the occasion of the twenty fifth anniversary

Twenty-five years ago, September 16, 1902, fourteen men, interested in the advance of the cause of righteousness, organized the Evangelical Peace Church.  These men were William Steege, Carl Juergens, Christian Eickemeier, August Dietrich, Albert Lindner, William Lindner, William Sohle, Henry Schroeder, Gustav Lindner, John H. Meyer, E. W. Telschow, W. Kruse and Gustav Buls.  A committee, consisting of Rev. A. Schlueter of Tripoli and Rev. J. Fisher of Siegel, was appointed to buy the church on North Harlington Street, for many years the property of the Evangelical Church prior to the erection of a new building on the opposite side of the block by this congregation.

Five of the fourteen organizers were among those present at the jubilee last Sunday commemorating an era of prosperity and accomplishment in the annals of the Peace Church.  The five organizers present were Christian Eickemeier, Albert Lindner, Gustav Buls, John H. Meyer and Christoph Lindner.

The following neighboring pastors in attendance on the joyful occasion were Rev. Ph. Blaufuss of Denver; Rev. E. Hardt of Clarksville; Rev. A. Graber of Nashua and Rev. K. Pfeifer of Douglas.

Besides these pastors a host of former members and friends thronged the church during the day's service.

The speakers in the forenoon were Rev. Ph. Hilligardt of Buck Creek and Rev. J. H. Buescher.  The pastors bringing the message to the audience in the afternoon were Rev. Dr. A. Muecke, of Stillwater, Minn., and Rev. W. Koch of Fredericksburg.  At the evening service Rev. A. Graber of Nashua, Rev. Buescher and Rev. Koch brought the message to the worshippers.

The splendid local choir was ably assisted by the large male chorus of St. Peter's Church at Tripoli, in furnishing music for the occasion. The spirit of worship was greatly enhanced and the audience charmed by the music of these two stellar musical organizations.

An interesting fact in regard to the Evangelical Peace Church is that a complete list is kept of the pastors who have served this congregation since the time of its organization. The men and their length of pastorate follows: Rev. A. Schlueter and Rev. J. Fisher, September 1902 to October 1904; Dr. A. Muecke, 1904-1900; Rev. W. Roeper, 1909-1911; Rev. Ph. Hilligardt, 1911-1920. The following three months the congregation was served by candidate of theology, Edwin Koch of Tripoli. Resuming the list we have Rev. J. Frank, 1921-1923; Rev. H. Muehleisen, 1923-1925 (April). From April of 1925 to the present date Rev. J. Fisher has been the pastor of the congregation. [Note: The name of Rev. K. Doring appears in another record as having served Peace Church in 1903.]

The result of Rev. Fisher's earnest and conscientious labors for the welfare of the congregation and the advancement of the Lord's work is shown with especial clearness in the report submitted by the pastor Sunday. The gist of the report is as follows: The Evangelical Peace Church has forty active and one hundred and eighty-one attending members. The Ladies’ Aid Society, with forty members, and the Young People's Society, with twenty members, have been valuable units in the church membership. There are seventy scholars and teachers in the Sunday school and the church collections for 1920 amounted to $2,332.83. Since 1912 the Ladies’ Aid Society alone has collected approximately $2,000.00 to further the Lord's work. Church property is free from all encumbrances and many improvements on church and parsonage have been completed--in fact, everything regarding the church is in the best of condition. The collection for jubilee day alone totaled $188.45.

The following is adapted from the 50th Anniversary Booklet, 1902-1952

The records of Peace Church from 1937 to 1940 give little information about the activities of the church. The records, however, contains the following information: The Rev. J. Fisher served the church until April 1929. He was followed by the Rev. C. Gabler whose pastorate terminated in May 1935.  From 1935 until 1938 Peace Church was served by the Rev. P. W. Wuerz, who was pastor of St. Paul's Church in Denver, Iowa. The Rev. F. W. Malin accepted the call to become full time pastor of Peace Church and served until  September 1940.

Information from the record left by the Rev. R. T. Fauth:

The Rev. F. W. Malin was succeeded by the Rev. Robert T. Fauth who came to Peace Church from Eden Seminary. Under the latter's leadership the congregation made a determined effort to regain its previous status of self-support. In November and December, 1940, the publication of “Tidings of Peace" -- an eight page monthly was begun. In December of 1941 a Junior Woman's Guild was organized with eight charter members. A balance of over $350.00 in the treasury of the congregation at the end of 1941, and an almost 100% payment of pledges during the year prompted the decision to pay $1,000.00 toward the minister's salary, an increase of $200.00. Mission Support continues at $370.00.

In the spring of 1942 plans were drawn for a general improvement of the church. An addition with basement was to be added at the West end of the church--a furnace and plumbing facilities were to be provided. However, the War Production Board refused to grant a priority rating on essential materials, and the plan had to be altered. It was decided to improve the present building as much as possible. This improvement took the form of a complete redecoration of the interior of the church--the addition of new pews, stained glass windows, dossal, and Orgatron. An expenditure of $3,600.00 was met completely through voluntary contributions. On the day of rededication (which was also the 40th anniversary of the congregation)--September 20, 1942--Dr. J. J. Braun, executive secretary of the Board of National Missions--joined a happy congregation in two joyous services.

In order to bring the congregation nearer to financial independence, a God's Acres Plan was begun in 1943. Under the leadership of Mr. Wm. Mueller, the men of the congregation, with additional hired help, farmed 25 acres on the J. H. Meyer farm. Corn was raised on a 50-50 basis. The congregation's share (750 bushels) was purchased by Mr. Meyer, and after all expenses were paid, the congregation received $475.00. In 1943 the congregation paid $1,200.00 toward the pastor's salary, contributed $81.00 to war relief, and paid $175.00 on a budget apportionment of $150.00. Twelve young men from the congregation were serving with the U.S. Armed Forces. The year 1944 was begun with a balance of $1,100.00 in the treasury. Accordingly, the congregation agreed to pay $1,452.00 toward the pastor's salary. The Mission Board contributed $360.00. Arrangements were made to continue the God's Acres Plan. On April 1, Pastor Fauth, having received a call to St. Peter's at Tripoli, submitted his resignation. On May 14, eleven new members were received into the congregation, bringing the total membership to 101.

The following information was gathered from reports in the Tidings and minutes of Council and Congregational meetings covering the period of August 1944 to December 1948.

The Roy R. Winkelman was unanimously elected as pastor of Peace Church on May 18, 1944. The installation service was conducted on September 3 with Rev. R. T. Fauth of Tripoli in charge of the service.

The work in the church was continued with emphasis on the building up of the congregation endeavoring to prepare it for the building program anticipated.

Since the church building had received some attention in recent years thought was given to the building of a parsonage. A new parsonage was a commitment made at the time the new pastor was called. On April 30, 1946 at a church council meeting a motion was favored to canvass all members of the church to solicit financial help for the building fund during the month of June. The canvass was started and as it progressed, Mr. Carl Nordman was elected treasurer. The men who conducted the canvass at their own expense were W. G. Schilling and W. G. Miller; Wm. Mueller and Carl Nordman; Ted Hankner and Henry Kuhrt; Ted Drape and George Segebarth; Carl Drape and Earl Nissen. Pledges ranging from $5.00 to $1,000.00 were subscribed. At a check-up meeting on July 22, 1940, these pledges with the cash on hand, totaled $9,000.00. This fell short of the goal of $10,000.00 that had been set, but the campaign assured the erection of a parsonage.

A “down-turn” came early in the year of 1947 when, quote: "Due to scarcity of materials and high construction costs it was the current opinion that the new parsonage would be unlikely this year." The parsonage was improved, therefore, by the installation of a linoleum covering for the kitchen, minor electrical fixtures put in and an oil fueled heater for the kitchen installed.

With the lapse of time the interest in the building program was again presented which included three-unit program, as follows: unit 1, a new parsonage; unit 2, educational building located to the rear and between the parsonage and church; unit 3, church proper or sanctuary. As this program progressed more and more the thoughts were being turned to further church improvements and to table parsonage considerations. Thoughts were also given to making application to the board of national missions for a loan to help in the anticipated building program.

At a congregational meeting on June. 22, 1947 action was favored for church improvement by a vote of 40 to 13. According to the Tidings of July 1947 at a special congregational meeting, the $10,000.00 that had been subscribed for the parsonage was to be applied to the church improvement. An additional $10,000 was to be borrowed from the Board of National Missions.

In furthering the plans of construction a number of companies and individual carpenters were contacted with the result that two contracting firms presented cost plus percentages as follows:

Kehe Construction Co. 15%
Drape Construction Co. 12%

The contract was awarded to the Drape Construction Company and the work on the building began the early part of September 1947. By November 1 the work of remodeling had advanced to the place where the church was no longer usable for worship. An invitation was received from the First Evangelical United Brethern Church in Waverly to worship with them while our church was under construction. Plans for sharing services were made and carried out with the pastors Rev. C. W. Dehne and Rev. R. R. Winkelman, an arrangement that proved very successful. By February of 1948, construction was far enough along that the church could be used for worship, and the shared services were discontinued.

As the detail work was being completed it became apparent that the $20,000 would not be enough to cover the expenditure. Efforts were made to cut down the costs by making adjustments in the building plans. After all the adjustments that were thought advisable were made it was still necessary to borrow $4,000 from a local bank. Members, in addition to their pledges, provided some of the items that were in the original plan which were taken out in the adjustment.

The indebtedness at the time of the re-dedication services was $14,250, with $10,350.00 borrowed from the Board of National Mission and $3,900.00 of the $4,000.00 borrowed at the local bank. The $3,000.00 was arranged in $100.00 notes and sold to individual members. To liquidate the debt to the board of national missions the plan known as “Dollar Per Month Per Member” was adopted at the annual meeting of the congregation held on January 11, 1948.

On May 3, 1948 members and friends of Peace Church assembled for the re-dedication service. Two services were conducted. At 10:45 a.m. the church was filled to the last seat with an overflow crowd finding place in the social room. The Rev. E. K. Schneider, chairman of the National Mission Committee of the Iowa Synod, delivered the sermon. Messages fitting for the occasion were given by visiting ministers. The neighboring E.U.B. Church dismissed the morning service so that the members and pastor could attend. The Rev. C. W. Dehne brought a special message in the name of the church that had cooperated so well during the building program. Substantial financial gifts along with floral contributions from neighboring churches and individuals were gratefully received and acknowledged.

In the afternoon at 2:30 the re-dedicatory service took place with Dr. Purd Dietz, chairman of the board of national missions delivering the sermon. Rev. Frank Kroll and Rev. B. K. Schneider assisted in the service. Rev. Kroll was a member of the National Missions Committee of the Iowa Synod.

After the service in the afternoon a fellowship tea, served by the ladies of the church, was enjoyed by all and brought the day to a fitting conclusion--a day long to be remembered by members and friends of Peace Church.

Peace Church was without regular pastoral service from December 28, 1948 to May 31, 1949.

On January 4, 1949, E. K. Schneider, pastor of St. Paul Church in Donnellson, Iowa for 11 years, was challenged by the work in Waverly and met with the Church Council to complete plans for his coming to Peace Church. He was duly elected and officially called by a congregational meeting on January 19.

During the interim Rev. F. W. Schnathorst, pastor of St. Paul Church, Denver, Iowa, assisted with the pastoral work in Peace Church. Rev. Louis Bultena, member of the faculty of the Teacher's College in Cedar Falls, had charge of the morning service. This arrangement continued until the pastor elect took charge of the work.

At this point we will recognize the gift in the amount of $500.00 received by Peace Church from the National Women's Guild. This money was taken from the Thank-offering project sponsored by the National Guild. A letter written by Mr. Ted Hankner gratefully acknowledging the gift is dated April 17, 1949.

Installation service for the pastor elect was conducted by Rev. Schnathorst in the evening of June 5, 1949. The work in Peace Church was continued with vigor and energy as the members were challenged to acknowledge achievements of the past, but to set their faces to the future.

The indebtedness of the church was recognized. Plans for payments to the board of national missions had been adopted in the form of the “Dollar Per Month Per Member” club, but the payments of the $3,900.00 borrowed locally had not been provided for. Out of a Brotherhood meeting came a suggestion known as “God's Portion Plan” to raise money to erase this local debt. A long list of items under home appliance, household goods, fruits and vegetables, needlework and baked goods, and miscellaneous items were sold at an auction sale held on September 17, 1949 at the fairgrounds in Waverly, with Arnold Hexom as auctioneer and Wilbert Oberheu as clerk. Articles put on sale, new and used, were given by members and friends. In addition to these contributions in kind, individuals, and individual industries gave substantial cash contributions. Cleared on this project was the sum of $3,005.64, according to the financial report issued on January 1, 1950. Some members holding notes turned them over to the church, either all or in part, and with the help of the Ladies Aid Circle and the Women's Guild made it possible to completely liquidate this indebtedness so that on May 27, 1951, a "note burning service” was held. It was at this service that the newly organized choir appeared in robes for the first time and using new music.

1951 - 1952

The work as carried forward starts in the church and centers in the worship service, where there has been an increase in interest and attendance. The average attendance for the year 1951 was 113. WorkIng out from this point we have the choir that enhanced the worship periods.

The Church School, headed by a staff that is alert, is engaged in the work of teaching the children and young people and providing them with a program of fellowship and activity. Three ice cream socials have been sponsored, providing the young people an opportunity of special work.

The Committee of Four, soliciting the help of all the ladies in the church, has established a very fine record since its organization. It was through its willing work and able administration that Peace Church was able to entertain the fall meeting of Synod in October, 1950--the first time that Peace Church was host to a church meeting of this kind.

With this experience the ladies did not hesitate to invite the N. E. Regional Woman's Guild to convene in Waverly in its spring meeting on April 18, 1951. The success of these undertakings has given the work in Peace Church a real lift. In addition to activities of the above nature one function of the Committee of Four is to provide every lady in the church, who is willing and able, an opportunity to help share in the work of the church. The programs of Thank-offering and Ladies nights are also in the hands of this committee

At this point mention should be made of six new pews purchased with the gift from the National Women's Guild and memorial money.

The Brotherhood, while not receiving the support from the members it should, has provided programs for the men and has filled a need in the life of our church. The Brotherhood can claim the credit for painting the church and parsonage, doing some much needed repair in the parsonage and purchasing the hymnals used at present.

The Ladies Aid Circle, the organization with the longest history celebrating its 40th anniversary on Feb. 1950, has stood by the church in its dark periods and is still recognized as an active organization. In addition to the above mentioned retired notes of indebtedness, it purchased the clerical chairs, and a private communion set in the fall of 1949, hymn books for the choir and one communion tray in 1951. Its activities include monthly meetings, annual picnic and bake sales.

The Women's Guild, embodying the suggested program of our denomination, provides fellowship, study and work for the ladies. In its monthly meetings, occasional food sales and bazaar and preparation of food for outside groups the ladies find activity. Through the years they have purchased six banquet tables for use in the social room, one communion tray, material for the choir robes--which the ladies of the church helped make--and retired a number of local notes.

The Youth Fellowship--weakest organization in the church--cannot boast of high record, but has provided a program for the youth. The young people's choir has been most satisfactory in providing a program for young people.

From the records of Peace Church we gather the following:

Baptisms 220
Confirmations 175
Marriages 93
Burials 118

The present membership stands at 224 individual members.

There remain at this writing only Mrs. C. A. Lindner, Mrs. Martha Lindner and Mrs. Johann Dietrich of the original group who organized the church in 1902.

~~Compiled by Carolyn Caplinger