Faith-filled for 125 years: Rural Lakefield church celebrates quasquicentennial this weekendLAKEFIELD — About 140 years ago, the first settlers showed up in Rost Township, Jackson County. They began to gather in homes to worship God and for fellowship with their far-flung neighbors.
LAKEFIELD — About 140 years ago, the first settlers showed up in Rost Township, Jackson County. They began to gather in homes to worship God and for fellowship with their far-flung neighbors.
Although it would be a number of years before an official church body was formed, the seeds of St. Paul Lutheran Church were planted.
“There was a Rev. Ahner, stationed near Blue Earth, and at the request of the Meister family, he made his first journey to serve the people over here,” recounted Paul Rentschler, president of the St. Paul Lutheran congregation. “He also did other stations, traveled to other places … a missionary pastor. That was the very beginnings of the church. Then there were other pastors who came, and eventually they called their own.”
In the county recorder’s office, the first listing was for the German Lutheran Church, Rentschler noted, as it was started by German immigrants. St. Paul Lutheran Church was officially incorporated in 1885 and became affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
“This is the third church building,” said Rentschler about the brick structure that is situated west of Lakefield on 800th Street. “First they began meeting in homes of different parishioners, than a small church was built. Subsequently, another church was built in 1899, and the old church became a school building.”
The current church building was dedicated in 1959, and the former church was moved to Round Lake, where it still in use. A brick school building was constructed in 1948. St. Paul Lutheran School, however, closed its doors in 1990, and the building was demolished in 2007.
“The school was there for many years,” said Rentschler, himself a lifelong member of the church and alumnus of the school that offered a parochial education through the eighth grade. “There’s still a softball field on the church grounds. That was the center of the community for a long time, where people gathered and socialized. They used to have the annual 4-H picnic there for many years, and it’s still being used.”
Currently, St. Paul Lutheran Church has 211 communicants. It is part of a dual parish, sharing its pastor, Stephen Weiss, with Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Okabena.
This weekend, the St. Paul Lutheran membership — as well as past members and past clergy — will come together to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the church’s founding. Events begin with a casual gathering from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the church. Ice cream sundaes and root beer floats will be served, and there will be opportunities for fellowship.
Speaker for the 10 a.m. Sunday worship service will be the Rev. John Wohlrabe, vice president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and a chaplain in the U.S. Navy.
A catered meal will be served at noon in a tent on the church grounds. The anniversary program will be presented at 2 p.m.
Reservations for the meal are appreciated, said Rentschler, although all former members and friends of the church are welcome to attend the anniversary celebrations.
For more information, phone (507) 853-4585 or e-mail email@example.com.