IAGenWeb Bremer County

History of St. John's Lutheran Church, Spring Fountain

To write a complete history of our 100 years of witnessing and serving our Lord is impossible. But we have listed most of the important events by years and our motto is......."whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God," I Cor. 10:31. We trust these efforts will be of interest to our children, relatives and friends. We are grateful to a few of our forefathers who in the fall of 1875 had the desires to organize St. John's congregation and by God's will we were blessed with this beautiful house of God. The original members were: Henry Steege, Henry Schnadt, Henry Keding, Fred Buhrow, Martin Hunemuller, Joseph Volker, Carl Bremer, John Drier, John Huenerberg, Christian Doss, Conrad Wilharm, Fred Volker, Theodore Hagen and William Schwake.

The parochial school was maintained from the time the first church was built in 1879 until in 1954 when, because of financial difficulties it became necessary to close the school. The first pastors also served as teachers of the school. The following teachers served St. John's: Helen Born, 19?? - 1934; Elmer Greene, 1934 - 1935; Oscar Moll, 1935 - 1936; Esther Wolter, 1936 - 1937; Oscar Moll, 1937 - 1938; Verena Nieman, 1938 - 1940; Faith Lange, 1940 - 1943; Floyd Schweiger, 1943 -1944; Carl Rogahn, 1944 - 1945; Betty Quandt, 1945 - 1947; Pastor Weiss, 1947 - 1948; Ellen Hoehne and Pastor Weiss, 1948 - 1950; Beverly Fink and Norma Kuepker, 1950 - 1951; Merle Rients, 1951 - 1953; Jack O'Benar, 1953 - 1954.

The sons of the congregation who have entered the ministry are Herman Kirchmann, Erwin Gaede and Arnold Aschbrenner.

Ministerial acts which have been performed during the 100 years are Baptisms, 872; Confirmations, 618; Marriages, 208; and Burials, 199.

The present number of baptized persons is 132; communicant members, 94; all male members over 19 years are voting members.

Fall of 1875 served by vacancy pastor, Rev. Wm. Kanning of Klinger.

Services are held in members' homes.

1876 Served by student Wm. Grumm.
Rev. Theo. Haendschke installed as pastor in Aug.
1879 Church built with school room.
Parsonage, barn, etc., built.
1912 Rev. Haendschke left in April having officiated at 473 baptisms, 
297 confirmations, 112 marriages and 128 funerals.
Rev. Schaller accepts call in May.
1915 New church built and dedicated in June.
Former church moved into Sumner and used by St. Paul's members.
1921 Rev. H. Schaller resigned in June.
Rev. H.C. Reikowsky accepts call in Aug.
During this pastorate, storms made it necessary to repair and redecorate the new church.
1925 Congregation celebrated Golden Anniversary in Sept.
Parsonage burned and rebuilt by 1926. 
Records probably destroyed in housefire.
1928 Rev. Reikowsky accepted call elsewhere in Oct.
Rev. C. Born accepts call in Oct.
Young people society organized.
1934 Rev. C. Born resigned due to ill health in Jan.
Rev. E.L. Runge accepts call in March.
School house moved south of parsonage.
Ladies Aid Society organized and later affiliated with Lutheran 
Women's Missionary League.
1935 Congregation celebrated 60th Anniversary.
20th year of new church.
1937 Mixed choir organized.
1939 Pastor Runge accepted a call to Latimer, Iowa, in Dec.
1940 Rev. Edmund Weiss called in March.
Rev. W. G. Nagler served as vacancy pastor.
Rev. Weiss installed in April.
German services 1st Sunday of the month and holidays for the benefit of the older members.
1941 Church debt paid, with a thank you service held.
Purchased new English hymnals for members.
Adopted articles of incorporation.
1942 Church interior redecorated.
1943 Several collections made for financial purposes.
1944 Church basement painted.
Garage built, old buildings torn down.
School repaired.
1947 School house remodeled.
1948 Church steeple and windows repaired.
Joined Pension Plan.
1949 Plans started for 75th Anniversary.
1950 Ask subsidy for school. 
New carpeting purchased for Anniversary.
Hammond organ purchased.
75th Anniversary celebration, Aug. 13.
1951 Rev. Weiss accepted call to Victor Iowa.
Rev. Ernst, Readlyn, vacancy pastor.
Rev. M. H. Sonntag accepts call and installed Oct. 7.
Purchased mimeograph machine.
1952 Heating system changed from coal to fuel oil.
Water system installed.
1953 Borrowed money for financial deficit.
1954 Started corn drive for financial support.
Voted to quit having parochial school.
Wed. and Sat. school instruction for catechism.
1955 Rev. Theo. Frese conducted services during Pastor Sonntag's illness.
1956 Started Vacation Bible School.
Rev. Sonntag accepted call to Conroy, Iowa.
Rev. Wangerin, Fayette, vacancy pastor.
1957 Reshingled church and parsonage.
School house auctioned.
1958 Church pews repaired and varnished.
1960 Parsonage - overall repair.
Memorial redecorating fund established.
Rev. Vaudt released.
Rev. Betke, Fayette, vacancy pastor.
1961 Merger with St. Paul's again considered.
Rev. E. Kramer called to serve in dual parish and accepted.
Parsonage to be used by a St. John's member and they do the janitor work.
St. John children attend Sat. school at St. Paul's.
1962 Church interior redecorated.
Church pews secured to floor.
Held Redecorating Thanksgiving service.
Basement repaired and redecorated.
1963 New amplifier purchased for church organ.
1964 Pastor Kramer accepts call to Immanuel, Waterloo.
Pastor N. Betke, Fayette, vacancy pastor.
Congregation buys Workmen's Comp and Liab. Ins.
Rev. LeRoy Gutermuth called, accepted, installed.
1965 Adding machine purchased for church treasurer's use.
New folding chairs purchased.
Security light installed on church.
1967 Basement walls finished with nu wood paneling.
Pastor Gutermuth asks for release of his duties.
Pastor Stalder, served as vacancy pastor, from Westgate.
Call extended to Rev. R.F. Kamrath, accepted.
Rev. Kamrath installed Aug. 27.
1968 Basement furnace purchased.
Self-study survey of both congregations.
1969 New pump and water system fixed at parsonage.
1970 Elms cut down because of elm disease.
1971 Pastor Kamrath released to Family Counseling position.
Rev. Dean Mues served as vacancy pastor.
1972 Rev. Douglas Corniels, graduate, called and accepted.
Celebrated 125th Anniversary of Synod.
Replacement trees planted.
1973 Articles IV and XIII of the Constitution revised.
All male members 19 years of age are voting members.
Voting members present at a meeting shall constitute a quorum.
Participated in Key 73.
1974 Services held in basement in Jan. and Feb. because of fuel shortage.
Centennial steering committee set up.
Iowa District East formed new circuit.  Our Westgate Circuit now includes Bremer, Artesian, Waverly and Shell Rock.
1975 The past year has been spent preparing for this centennial celebration.  Various committees were set up to carry out our plans. The church was repaired and redecorated. Thanks be to God for all the willing services of the members of St. John's.

We are truly grateful to our forefathers who built and maintained this church and to the following generations for the many financial sacrifices and material memorials given to aid and beautify the church.

Our thanks go out to all the faithful pastors, teachers, and members who have given us the true Word and Sacraments through these 100 years of service to Him. May God continue to bless us.