KONGSBERG The 100th anniversary of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kongsberg will be celebrated July 1. Kongsberg is 6 miles west of Butte or 6 miles east of Ruso on N.D. Highway 53 or 2 miles east of Voltaire and 10 miles south.
The beginnings of the church go back to the arrival of families from Renville County, Minn., who settled in south McHenry County. Like many other congregations, those families held worship services in homes and schools with pastors arriving there via horse and buggy or even by foot.
The church was organized under the direction of Rev. Paul Schumm and the constitution of the church was adopted on March 18, 1912. Services were conducted in German until 1917 when English services were also held. In the mid-'40s the German services were discontinued.
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kongsberg will celebrate its 100th anniversary on July 1.
The Rev. Walter Meyer was ordained and then installed as pastor of the congregation in August 1917 in Knigge Schoolhouse. Finances were meager but members were determined to raise the monies due on a parsonage, including a garage, that had been built in Kongsberg. The total cost of $500 was paid in full and Meyer was able to move into the home on Dec. 20, 1917.
Beginning in May 1921, worship services were conducted in the new public school in Kongsberg which was built in 1920. The services were in German and English. A two-story house was purchased on the east side of Kongsberg in 1927 to replace the parsonage bought in 1916 and in 1929 the Kongsberg State Bank building was purchased for $1,000. A new organ for the church was purchased for the church for $200.
Many renovations took place during the years 1936 to 1944: the altar was rebuilt, the lower walls were repaneled and a baptismal font and lecturn were added. The flat bank roof on the church was replaced by a gabled roof in 1938. The cemetery plat was also revised during that time period. During the 1945-1950 era the congregation became self-supporting, the constitution was translated from German to English, the parsonage was "fitted" with a new basement and a hot air furnace was installed. An electronic organ for the church was dedicated on Nov. 8, 1953.
The 100th anniversary of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kongsberg will be celebrated July 1. Worship will be at 11 a.m. and a dinner will be served at noon. Pastor Paul Nelson will do the liturgy and the Rev. Larry Marschner will give the sermon. Toward the end of the service the new cross on the church will be dedicated.
There will be an afternoon service/program at 2 p.m. The Rev. Thomas Eaves will give a "sermonette."
The rural church building was purchased from the Max congregation in July 1962 and moved to Kongsberg, where it was placed on a cement-block foundation with a basement. A site which was purchased adjacent to the cemetery in 1922 was finally in use when the church was placed there. The house of worship was dedicated on July 7, 1963.
Three men from the congregation have entered the ministry: James Gary Schmidt, Robert Koebernick and Larry Marschner. Johanna Schmidt, one of the first confirmands, served as a Lutheran deaconness. The three ministers were present for the 75th anniversary celebration of the church on July 5, 1987.
The Rev. Paul Nelson will do the liturgy for the anniversary service and Marschner, who serves as pastor of St. Martin's Lutheran Church in Anamoose, will give the sermon.
Marschner said, "It is a privilege and joy for me to share a message with the congregation I grew up with on their 100th anniversary."