Church History

FIRST STEPS: The earliest beginings of St. John's Lutheran Congregation eventDate back to the early 1860's when Gottlob Schmidt, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Springfield, arranged to have services held in his home. Pastor Bartling, of Trinity Church, came occassionally to conduct services and to administer the Sacaments of Baptism and Holy Communion. Some years later August Bliefnick joined Schmidt and they arranged with Pastor Burkhardt to hold services every two weeks in the Dave Harmon school house 1 and 1/4 miles east of Chatham. Here church-school was also heled during the summer months for children. Later this small unorganized group was served by Pastors Benson and Lochner of Springfield and by students of Concordia Seminary.

CONGREGATION ORGANIZED: Under the leadership of Rev. Lochner, pastor of Trinty Lutheran Church, Springfield, St. John's Congregation was organized in October 1877, and pledged itself to the Lutheran faith and practice. Seeing the need for a place for worship, the congregation erected a frame church building on what would later be known as the Carl Wykoks farm, one mile east of Chatham.

After a decade of faithful service from Pastor Lochner, the congregation come under the care of Prof. A. Craemer, President of Concordia Seminary in Springfield. he served the congregation from 1887 to 1891 with the assistance of students from the Seminary. Students who were assigned were Messrs. Wenzel, Hueschen, Heinke, Jank, Beil, Wendt, and Wagner.