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Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church
a/k/a Germanville Hope Lutheran

Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1968

"The Fairfield (Ia.) Daily Ledger"
Friday, August 10, 1945

A Century of Grace
1845 - 1945

The centennial observance of the founding of Hope Evangelical Lutheran church will be held Sunday and Monday, August 12 and 13, at the church located near Germanville, Walnut Township, Jefferson County, Iowa. Rev. Paul KENYON is the present pastor.

The opening anniversary service will be Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. and the speaker is the Rev. E. C. REIBER of Aiden, Minnesota, a former pastor of the church. Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. a list of the confirmation classes for each of the 100 years will be read by the Rev. H. W. SIEFKES of Waterloo, president of the Iowa district of the American Lutheran church. An informal program will be given Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. by members of the Luther League.

Closing the two-day observance will be communion on Monday evening in charge of Rev. J. F. MEYER of LaMoille, Illinois, another former pastor.

Church History

Hope Lutheran church was organized December 1845, when about two dozen families, who had been directed by the Ohio Synod to John SPIELMAN, pioneer who had already settled there banded together and built the first church, a log structure. Mr. SPIELMAN served as a lay-reader in the church when the services of a pastor were unobtainable. It was believed, however, that services were held in the homes of the several families at least five years before the log church was built.

The first church had a hard tramped clay floor, hard homemade joists and planks to sit upon and the pulpit and altar were also built of rough lumber, and very simple in style. Services in this church were all preached in German. A list of charter members is unobtainable but some of the men playing a large part in the organization were: John SPIELMAN, grandfather of Mrs. H. C. WHITING, Fred SPIELMAN and the late Mrs. Dillon TURNEY, all of Fairfield; John P. CRILE, Michael CRAFF, Peter DIERS, John MANNHARDT and others. It was accepted as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa in 1864. The oldest date found on a tombstone in the adjoining cemetery is 1843, two years before the organization of the first church.

In 1862, the old log church was replaced with a frame building. A steeple and bell were added in later years. As the congregation increased with the passing years, it was necessary to rebuild again in 1913. A log parsonage was built to the south of the church. Since that time it has been remodeled several times and in 1938, was completely remodeled and modernized.

The English language was introduced in the church in 1900 and has continued so up to the present time.


Many organizations which have been called into being in the church include Sunday School, Daily Vacation Bible School. Ladies' Aid Society, Luther League and the Choir.

The church council members are Harlan DIERS, Charles BEKEL, Harold REBLING and Edmund TAGLAUER.

Divin (sic) services are held every Sunday and Holy Communion is administered six times a year. The gregation (sic) also observes an annual-Mission Rally for the purpose of promoting home and foreign mission work.

In the past century, the church has grown from about two dozen families to the present congregation of 214 baptized, 157 confirmed and 157 contributing members. It is affiliated with the American Lutheran Church and has adopted its constitution without change.

Ministers having served in the church during the past one hundred years are: Rev. HEIDER, Rev. HAAK; Rev. M. BURK ;Rev. (sic) HEMPLER; Rev. OBERMAN; Rev. REHWOLD; Rev. A. PFISTER, 1867-'92; Rev. D. KNIERIEM, 1892-'99; Rev. G. GENTNER, 1899-1906; Rev. M. J. GIERING, 1906-'07; Rev. W. F HERTEL, 1907-'09; Rev. KESSLER, 1910-'12; Rev. A. RETTBERG, 1912-'15; Rev. E. G. REIBER, 1915-'20; Rev. R. REICHEN, 1920-'24; Rev. J. T MEYER, 1924-'30; Rev. S. MEYER, 1930-'32; Rev. J. L. SEITZINGER, 1932-'41.


"The Fairfield Ledger"
Saturday, June 23, 1956


....To Retire After 47 Years. ....He has been pastor of the Jefferson County rural church for the past five years, coming to this community from Wisconsin.... He is a native of Germany, son of Frank and Sophia MEYER and attended school in Berlin.... married Aug 18 1909 Emma DAWMM, at Carton, Neb., while he was serving as a circuit preacher in that area. Five children: Mrs. Walter MEYER, Watertown, Wis.; Mrs. William SCHNEIDER, Milwaukee; Mrs. Edwin KRIEDER, Fairfield, Neb.; and twin sons, William MEYER, Milwaukee, and Martin MEYER, Des Moines.

The Rev. MEYER will be succeeded by Rev. Alfred SCHULTZ, Bessie, Okla., who recently graduated from the Dubuque Seminary....

Its is only fitting and proper that Rev. MEYER should close out his long and interesting career in a church that has an interesting history that dates back more than a century. Rev. MEYER said it is the oldest Lutheran congregation in the state of Iowa, having been organized 111 years ago.... In 1938 the parsonage was completely remodeled and modernized. The Hope Lutheran church is still one of the most active rural churches in Jefferson County.


"The Fairfield Ledger"
Saturday, August 24, 1968
Page 8, Column 3

Rev. ABELMANN, Minister Fifty Years, Retiring.

Rev. Irvin ABELMANN, pastor of the Hope Lutheran Church northeast of Fairfield in Walnut Township, is resigning from the pastorate after 50 years as a minister. He will deliver his final sermon at the Hope Lutheran Church tomorrow, Sun. Aug. 25. He and his family will leave Monday for Watertown, Wis., where they will reside....

(Note: The parsonage was recently advertised for sale in "The Fairfield Ledger". Upon driving past the church, it appears that the Hope Lutheran congregation has built a new parsonage near the old one.)

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