St Paul's Lutheran Church (1860-Present)




The three church buildings of St Paul's Lutheran Church. The "Seminary" building used from 1866-1894; The Church that opened in 1894; A color picture of the 1894 Church; The present Church (at the far right).


The three pictures on the left are from the St Paul's Lutheran Church Facebook page. The picture on the right was taken by Alan Sparks.


From the Thursday, April 2, 1914 Moniteau County Herald:


The Lutheran Church


The Evangelical Lutheran Church, at this place was founded in 1860. The first service was conducted by Rev. Juengel of Pleasant Grove, October 30th, 1860, who was the first minister of this church. The congregation was organized with the eight voting members as follows: Christoph Gross, Ferdinand Markworth, H. Holzfuerster, Louis Boeckhaus, Fred Boeckhaus, Henry Boeckhaus, G. Ziebold and Wm. Kuhlmann. The services were generally conducted in the so-called Seminary and in the court house.


In 1863 the Rev. Theo. Grueber was called as the first minister stationed here in California.


In 1866 the so-called Seminary was bought, from which time regular services have been conducted at the present place of the Lutheran Church. Since 1866 the congregation is known as the Evangelical Lutheran St. Paulís Congregation. In 1873 the congregation was incorporated under the laws of the State of Missouri. In 1894 the new church building, as shown in picture, was erected. The Lutheran congregation has also a nice school building on their church lot. This school is taught in opposition to the Public School. This is not the case. Everyone who studies church history, knows our Lutheran church always has, at all times, regarded it of great importance to have their own parochial school, and for the simple reason, because it is the duty of the church to instruct their children in the Word of God. We instruct the children in Cathechism, Bible history, German, English, reading and writing, spelling grammar, arithmetic, history, geography and singing. The following ministers have been pastors of this congregation: Rev. Juengel, Theo. Gruber, G. Lehuigk, G. F. Shilling, H. P. Wille, B. Selvers, J. G. Griebel, P. Franke and P. D. Mueller.


F. W. Mueller, Pastor


From Ford's 1936 History of Moniteau County:


St. Paul's Lutheran Church was organ≠ized October 28, 1860. A constitution adopted in 1866 contains the names of G. F. Shilling, pastor; G. H. Meyer, C. Gross, R Hecht, F Boeckhaus, H W. Boeckhaus, George Hauser, John Gottlieb Scholle, Adam Hinkle and Wm. Bertram. In the middle sixties the congregation bought an old seminary which was converted into a church, school and parsonage. This served until the present church was built in 1894.


A school has been conducted since the organization of the church. Since 1869 St. Paul's has been a member of the Missouri synod and the congregation was incorporated in 1873. The congregation contains about 250 communi≠cants and is a progressive and efficient organization. The data concerning the church's early history is from a souve≠nir booklet compiled by the pastor, Rev. W. H. Schwab, on the occasion of its seventy-fifth anniversary in 1935.


From the 1980 History of Moniteau County:


Available historical resources indicate that the inception of St. Paul's Lutheran Church took place when the Rev. Johann Buenger of St. Louis, Missouri visited the California community during the summer of 1860 and made arrangements with the Rev. Juengel, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Pleasant Grove, to serve the Lutherans in this community. October 28, 1860, the date when the first service was held, marks the beginning of this Lutheran Church. Charter members include F. Markworth, Chris Gross, William Kuhlmann, Fred Boeckhaus, Louis Boeckhaus and Henry Boeckhaus.


Services were held in rented facilities until the group acquired property in 1866. In 1863, the Rev. Theodore Gruber became the first resident pastor. He also opened a parochial school, which he taught in additional to his other duties.


He was succeeded by candidate G. Lehnick in 1864, who in turn was followed by candidate G. Schilling. Under his spiritual leadership the congregation acquired an old seminary in 1866 that served as church, school and parsonage; in 1866 adopted a constitution, and in 1869 joined the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The gradual transition from the German to the English language in the services and school was initiated with the Rev. H. Wille (1870), who was followed by candidate B. Sievers in 1879, During his service the congregation purchased property to serve as a parsonage.


During the pastorage of the Rev. Paul Franke, beginning in 1892, the old church was razed, a new school built, and the present church dedicated in 1894.

The Rev. Franke was succeeded in 1895 by the Rev. P. D. Mooner. During his years of service a Kilgen pipe organ was instal1ed in the church, a new parsonage erected, and a Ladies' Aid organized with 18 charter members.


The Rev. F. W. Mueller, brother of the former pastor, served the congregation from 1907 to 1926. During his tenure the young people joined the International Walther League and the congregation made the transition from the German to the English language in school and worship services.


January 1927 The Rev. William Karstens was installed as pastor. Under his spiritual leadership the Sunday School was organized and a woman teacher was engaged to teach in the California Lutheran Church parochial school of the congregation.


Under the next pastor, The Rev. T. A. Weinhold (1928 to 1933) an adult Bible Class was organized with an enrollment of 29 adults, thus initiating the congregation's program of religious education for adult members.


August, 1933, The Rev. W. H. Schwab was installed and served the congregation to 1949. During his tenure the present church was enlarged by adding space for a larger chancel, art glass windows were installed, the interior redecorated, the exterior tuckpointed and the church refurnished with new furniture. The rededication services were held February 1. 1942. The Men's Club was organized. The dedication of Maas cathedral chimes in memory of four men who died in the service of their country took place January 1947.


November 20, 1949 The Rev. F. Reith was installed as pastor, who served to 1965. January 1952 the Evening Guild was organized. In the summer the congregation resolved to close the parochial school. In the fall of 1959 the church interior was redecorated. October 23-30, 1960 the congregation celebrated the Hundredth Anniversary of its founding.


The Rev. Keith Kiihne was installed July 25, 1965. During his tenure the congregation embarked upon a three phase building program, consisting of plans for new educational facilities, a new parsonage and a new house of worship. The first phase was initiated before Pastor Kilhne followed a call to Nebraska.


The present pastor, Rev. Martin F. Hofman was installed October 26, 1969. The new Educational Building was dedicated May 14, 1970 and the new parsonage December 5, 1971. Plans for phase three of the building program are being developed presently by a committee working together With the architect, Mr. James Darrough of Columbia, Missouri.


As of December 31, 1979, St. Paul's Lutheran Church numbers 496 members of which 383 are communicant members.


From the 2000 History of Moniteau County:


On this Jubilee year, St. Paul's Lutheran celebrates its 140th anniversary of bringing Christ to the nations and the nations to the Church. During these seven score years, 1,060 infants and children have been baptized into the Kingdom of God through the Gospel-centered ministry of this California congregation. In addition to having a strong emphasis upon the Christian education as the highest philosophy, St. Paul's has sought to serve the community of California and other civic groups use of its multi-purpose facilities.


It was back on October 28, 1860, that St. Paul's conducted its first worship service. Pastor Juengel of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Pleasant Grove (near Prairie Home), rode on horseback to conduct this first Divine Worship for a small group of German Lutheran settlers. And the Word of the Lord grew.


As the congregation grew, so did the need for services on a regular basis. Encouraged by the Reverend Juengel, the group called its first pastor. In the summer of 1863, Theodore Gruber of Perryville, Missouri, received and accepted this call.  Until 1871, services were conducted exclusively in German and over a period of many years services were made a gradual switch to English.


From its beginnings, St. Paul's Lutheran has put a premium on Christian education. Its pastors have a minimum of eight years of college and university training. Because the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod believes the Bible is God's infallible Word, its pastors are required to study the Hebrew and Greek languages so that the Gospel will be the dominant note of its proclamation.


Throughout its 140 years, a Christ-centered Bible-based approach has marked this California congregation. From 1863 to 1952, St. Paul's had its own parochial school. When the school closed, a mid-week school evolved to offer children an opportunity to grow in the grace of God which is in Jesus Christ, as well as to prepare them for life's most important meal: the Lord's Supper.


Presently, St. Paul's Lutheran has a beautiful sanctuary for worshipping the Triune God and conducting a Word and Sacrament ministry. Along with a lovely house of worship, half of its building complex is designed for Christian education and fellowship activities. During the last sixteen years, St. Paul's has brought to the community weekly radio broadcasts of its Sunday services and for the world produced thousands of books in Braille sent to comfort people with the Gospel.


During the 140 years of its existence, St. Paul's have been served by 18 pastors. Its present pastor is the Reverend Dr. Peter M. Kurowski. Today St. Paul's Lutheran is a congregation of 500 baptized members. Its mission statement, developed in 1999, reads, "We, the members of St. Paul's Lutheran, saints through Jesus Christ, give glory to God for His free gift of salvation and personally reach out to the community and the world with this good news."



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