Salem Lutheran Church

German Lutheran Church of Beaver Township

by C. E. G. Voss

On September 17th, 1892, a number of German Lutheran Christians, under the guidance of the Rev. S. Siefkes, founded a congregation in Beaver township (of this county) known as the Salems Evangelical Lutheran Church of Beaver township, Grundy County, Iowa.

The particular object of this church is to teach, spread and defend divine truth as given to mankind by God in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. It accepts the whole of the Symbolical books of the Evangelical Lutheran church, as contained in the book of Concord in year of 1580, as the pure and genuine exposition and interpretation of the Divine Word.

On January 1st, 1893, C. E. G. Voss, who had accepted a call of this congregation, was installed as its first pastor and has been serving it uninterrupted up to this time (1911). Beginning with only seven families, it has slowly grown to its present number, which is sixty families or three hundred and ninety-three souls.

The congregation owns a church site containing three and one-half acres, with the necessary buildings and a cemetery of one acre, as its private property, which managed subject to certain rules of constitution and by-laws, and an addition to the cemetery containing five acres of land. This addition it holds with the understanding that the sum of $20.00 annually is set apart for the support of the cemetery.

In connection with this congregation, is the Evangelical Lutheran Christian in Fairfield township, Grundy County, Iowa. This congregation used to be a part of an Evangelical Lutheran congregation in Cedar Falls, Iowa, but became independent in the year 1903, and called C. E. G. Voss for its first pastor, and he is serving it yet. It owns a cemetery but has no church building, holding its services in the public school house. It comprises twelve families with sixty-four souls. Both congregations are in membership with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa and other states.

--Atlas of Grundy County, Iowa, 1911, pg 93

Lutheran Church, Beaver Township

Salem's Lutheran church, in Beaver township, was organized Sept. 12, 1892, by Rev. S. Siefkes. The congregation will therefore celebrate its 40th anniversary September, 1932. The first signers of the constitution were M. Janish, I. Doescher, Emil Pieper, Geo. F. Boehm, C. Schuck, Myel Haack, C. Eilts and H. Helmers. Among the founders are found many names whose descendants are still active in the work of the congregation.

The first services were held in the public school building. In 1893, a church was built and dedicated March 5, 1893.

In the same year the first pastor Rev. C. Voss was called and served the congregation until 1914 when he was succeeded by his brother, the Rev. J. Voss, whose pastorate continued until 1926, when the present pastor, Rev. W. Paulsen, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was called.

During the 39 years, many improvements have been made to the church property. A parochial school was built and donated to the congregation in 1914 by J. P. Brown, of Parkersburg. When in 1927 the old church building became too small, an addition of 24x40 was added to the church. The Ladies Aid donated the bell and new pews, also new purple plush for altar and pulpit. The interior of the church was newly decorated recently.

Within the congregation is a Young People's Society of 21 members, a Ladies Aid of 31 members, a mixed choir of 18 members and a church orchestra. The Sunday School has an enrollment of 115 with an average Sunday attendance of 102. The church property is free of debt.

The congregation was united with the former Iowa Synod and is now a member of the American Lutheran Church.

The Lutheran church is the oldest and largest and the mother of all Protestant denominations. About 50 per cent of all Protestant denominations in the world are Lutherans.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 13 November 1931

A Brief History of Salem Lutheran Church

Beginning and Organization

In the year 1890 a young pioneer pastor, Rev. S. Siefkes, began mission work among the Lutheran settlers in the southern part of Butler county, Iowa. He organized the "Eben Ezer" congregation in Butler Center and a year later, 1891, the "Bethel" congregation about 4 miles northwest of Parkersburg. At this place he also established a school for the training of pastors. In the following year, 1892, his attention was called to a number of Lutheran families in the northern part of Grundy County. They invited him to hold services in a schoolhouse in Beaver township, Grundy county.

Here a new congregation, the "Salem Lutheran Church," was organized September 11, 1892, with the following charter members: Martin Janisch, Chr. Doescher, Emil Pieper, Geo. Boehm, Conrad Schuck, Meyel Haack, Adolf Eilts and Hinrich Helmers.

Shortly after, the following names were added: F. Rewerts, D. Rewerts, Wm. Pagel, R. Coners, J. DeBoer, Seben Stumberg, J. Beck, K. Alter, F. Reinicke, D. Flater, and B. Cordes. As far as we know, only one of the charter members is living, Hinrich Helmers, Stout, Iowa.

Only Three Resident Pastors in 50 Years
Let it be said here that the congregation had only three pastors in the 50 years of its existence. When the founder of the congregation, the Rev. S. Siefkes, was overburdened with work and could not take proper care of this young congregation, he was looking for help. A young candidate from Maywood seminary in Chicago was called and installed as the first pastor: Rev. C. E. G. Voss, who served the congregation faithfully about 22 years from 1893-1914. At his arrival a new church building was already in progress. Chr. Doescher had offered to build the church free of charge if the other members would furnish the building material. This offer was gratefully accepted. The dedication of the new church took place March 5, 1893. During the summer a new parsonage was built and dedicated September 25, 1893.

The church and cemetery ground was donated by Martin Janisch and is located in the southwest corner of Section 17, Twp. No. 89 North, Range No. 16, West of the 5th P.M., Grundy County, Iowa. An addition to the parsonage 16x18 feet toward the south was built 1897 and another part towards the east 12x16 ft. was added in 1901, to be used as a kitchen.

In 1907 the interior of the church was improved by installing new pews, altar and pulpit, delivered by the Altar Manufacturing Co., Dubuque, Iowa.

A new modern parochial schoolhouse was built, donated to the congregation in 1912 by J. P. Brown. The inscription of the cornerstone reads as follows:

Dedicated to the Service of the
Erected by
J. P. Brown     E. Brown
After 22 years of successful work Pastor C. E. G. Voss handed in his resignation October 1, 1914, and his brother, the Rev. E. J. Voss, was called and became his successor. He served the congregation for 11 1/2 years until 1926, when he retired from the ministry. In the spring of 1926 a call was extended to the present pastor, W. Paulsen, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who has served the charge for the last 16 1/2 years.

The congregation had a really serious language problem. The pastor realizing that English must eventually be used, introduced English into the Sunday school and in the course of the last 16 years the language question was settled to the satisfaction of all. The Sunday school and adult Bible class is entirely English. The congregation not being satisfied with only English evening service, September 22nd, 1936, voted to have English morning service every other Sunday.

Facts and Figures
When it became imperative to enlarge the old church, the congregation resolved August 2nd, 1927, to build a new addition to it 24x40 ft., with a full basement in order to make room for a new furnace and social activities; also equip the parsonage and church building with electric lights. These improvements costing about $6,000 were fully paid for in the next year.

The new addition was completed and dedicated December 16th, 1927. The speakers were President Rev. E. Rausch, Waverly, Iowa, and Rev. F. Voelker, Greene Iowa.

The 40th anniversary was held September 18th, 1932, with the speakers: Dr. M. Reu, Dubuque, Iowa, and Pastors J. Willms, Monticello, Iowa, and E. Arhelger, of Wyoming, Iowa.

Two daughters of the congregation, the Voss sisters, served in the New Guinea mission field. They left here in the year 1921.

Ida, married to Missionary V. Koschade, lives at present in Australia.

Luthilda was married to Missionary E. Hannemann and passed away November 11, 1921, at Kurum, New Guinea.

There are at present 7 sons of the congregation in the service of their country. They are:
Off. Cand. Otto Paulsen, Aberdeen, Maryland.
Pvt. Carl Alter, 159th Inf., Camp San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Pvt. Dave Walterman, 155th Inf., Camp Bowie, Texas.
Sergeant Harm Schiller, Hq. Sqdn., 2nd Air Force, Ft. Geo. Wright, Spokane, Wash.
Pvt. Luke Aswegen, Med. Det. 7th Inf., Fort Ord, Calif.
Pvt. Henry Freese, 329th F.A. Bn., Camp Shelby, Miss.
Pvt. Reinhart Alter

The church council consists of the following:
Elders: Mr. Ernest Alter, Mr. Henry Ahrenholz, Mr. Ubbe Marks.
Finance Committee: Mr. Albert Doescher, secretary-treasurer; Mr. Jake Klaassen, Mr. Christ Henze, Mr. John Ahrenholz.

Miss Henrietta Aswegen has served as organist for the last 5 years.

In the 50 years of Salem's existence, the following official ministerial acts were performed:
Baptisms ----- 680
Confirmations ----- 253
Weddings -----153
Funerals ----- 153

The Sunday School
The Church can never be too conscientious in properly instructing the children in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord," because after all, only the Holy Scriptures can "make men wise unto salvation" and also equip them for citizenship here below. Salem has a very active Sunday school. It is fully graded with departments for the beginners, primary, intermediate, junior and senior students.

The Sunday school also has been successful in organizing and maintaining an active adult Bible class under the instruction of the pastor. The age of the 38 students of the Bible class ranges from 16 to 65 years.

The faithful staff of officers and teachers at present consists of the following: Rev. W. Paulsen, superintendent; Mr. E. Alter, assistant superintendent and treasurer; Mr. A. Flater, secretary; Miss Henrietta Aswegen, organist.

Adult Bible ClassRev. W. Paulsen
BeginnersMiss Marian Niehaus
Primary DepartmentMr. Reinhart Alter
Intermediate DepartmentMiss Violet Hayes
Junior DepartmentMiss Leola Flater
Senior DepartmentMiss Henrietta Aswegen

Christian parents cannot be indifferent toward the command of God's Word, to "bring the children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

The Ladies' Aid
Salem's Lutheran Ladies' Aid was organized January 17, 1928, with the following 13 charter members: Mrs. W. Paulsen, Mrs. Martin Reinicke, Mrs. Til Schuck, Mrs. Joe Haack, Mrs. Herman Reinicke, Mrs. John Aswegen, Mrs. Harm Schiller, Mrs. John Reil, Mrs. John Hayungs, Mrs. Ubbe Marks, Mrs. Henry Freese, Mrs. Ukke Luepkes and Mrs. C. Walterman.

Without the valiant efforts of this organization Salem congregation would not be what it is, nor have what it has today. All its good deeds cannot be told, but soon after the addition to the church was built this society came forward with a gift of $474.88 to buy new pews and rugs for the church. Again when in 1930 funds were gathered for a 1000-pound bell, the Ladies' Aid volunteered to assume the payment of $122.33. In 1931 the entire interior of the church was decorated at an expense of $286.00. Altar and pulpit coverings are gits of the Ladies' Aid.

The present officers are: Mrs. W. Paulsen, president; Mrs. E. Alter, vice president; Mrs. H. Ahrenholz, secretary; Mrs. L. Aswegen, treasurer.

They meet every month on the first Thursday for working and quilting and are supporting the mission in New Guinea, the Orphans' Home in Waverly, Iowa, the Good Samaritan Home in Arthur, No. Dak., and Martin Luther home in Sterling, Nebraska.

This organization has proved to be a real asset to the congregation.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 17 September 1942

Salem Lutheran Church 90th Anniversary

Salem Lutheran Church, rural Parkersburg, will commemmorate its 90th anniversary on Sunday, September 12, 1982. A worship service with Holy Communion will be held at 10 a.m. Rev. George Dirks, a former pastor, will preach. Special music will be provided by the Kalkwarf Brothers and the church choir.

There will be a potluck dinner at noon.

At 1:30 p.m. an informal program will be presented featuring the Gospeliers quartet. Greetings will be brought from former pastors and friends of the congregation. Some memorabilia of the congregation will be on display.

Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized September 11, 1892 by eight families. Shortly after 11 more families joined. Rev. S. Siefkes was the mission pastor who organized the Salem congregation. In 1893, a young candidate from Maywood Seminary in Chicago was called and installed as the first pastor.

One of the members donated five acres of land for the church parsonage and cemetery. Another offered to build the church and other members donated the materials. On March 5, 1893, the new church was dedicated. The parsonage was built during the summer of 1893. It was enlarged in 1897 and again in 1901. It was completely remodeled and modernized in 1940. An addition with full basement was added to the church in 1927. The 50th anniversary was celebrated in September 1942.

On the morning of February 3, 1955, the church was completely destroyed by fire of unknown origin. The congregation decided to rebuild and the present brick church was dedicated in October, 1955.

On Sept. 11, 1967, Salem Lutheran celebrated its 75th anniversay under the leadership of Pastor Werner Taelle.

In the fall of 1968 the decision was made to join Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Ackley, to form a two point parish. Pastor Darwin Reiter accepted a call to serve this joint pastorate and made his home in Ackley. It was decided to sell and tear down the old parsonage.

At the present time Salem has 101 baptized members.

Officers of the congregation are: Council Members Bud Henze, president; Raymond Bruns, vice president; Reinhard Kalkwarf, secretary; Fred Freese, Teunis Byl and Johannes Luhring. Chris Freese is treasurer.

Pastors who have served Salem Lutheran Church are: Rev. C. E. G. Voss, 1893-1914; Rev. E. J. Voss, 1914-1926; Rev. William Paulsen, 1926-1942; Rev. M. O. Jahr, 1942-1943; Rev. George Dirks, 1943-1948; Rev. Alfred Schumm, 1948-1966; Rev. Werner Trelle, 1966-1968; Rev. Darwin G. Reiter, 1968-1979; and Rev. Gene V. Anderson, 1979 to the present time.

The public is invited to attend the 90th anniversary celebration at Salem Lutheran Church on September 12, 1982.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 9 September 1982

List of Ministers

NameYears Served
Rev. S. Siefkes1892-1893
Rev. C. E. G. Voss1893-1914
Rev. E. J. Voss1914-1926
Rev. William Paulsen1926-1942
Rev. M. O. Jahr1942-1943
Rev. George F. Dirks1943-1948
Rev. Alfred Schumm1948-1966
Rev. Werner Trelle1966-1968
Rev. S. M. Moe
Rev. Darwin G. Reiter1969-1979
Rev. Gene V. Anderson1979-1983
Rev. William Hampton1984