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St. John's Lutheran Church

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Our church celebrated its 100th Anniversary from October 1999 to October 2000. During this time, we had special events each month throughout the year. You can read about our Centennial Celebration and check out photos from the final weekend.

In 1897 the first services were held in the country school building near the Spring Hill Cemetery about one mile southwest of Dundee. The Rev. Eugene Melchert, pastor of the Lutheran Church at Ryan, conducted these services. By 1899 this group of people decided to build a church in Dundee. The building was constructed in 1900 and all formalities were completed on October 30, 1900. The official name given the congregation was "The German Evangelical Lutheran St. John's Congregation of Dundee, Delaware County, Iowa." The new congregation consisted of 18 adults and 32 children. German was the language used until converting to English during World War I.
The church today.
In 1904 a parsonage was built next to the church but it was sold and a new home was built north of the Dundee town park in 1979.
The parsonage.
Many improvements have been made to the church over the years. A new educational unit was added to the east end, the basement was remodeled and a handicap ramp was added to the front for better access for those in wheelchairs.

In 1987 the American Lutheran Church voted to be merged with two other church bodies to become the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Presently there are 118 baptized and 93 confirmed members in 53 households at St. John's. Thirteen children attend Sunday School Classes.

Centennial Celebration
On April 10, 1999, six youths and several adults from the church cleared an area around a few barely visible large rocks. These are the remains of the foundation of the Alleghany Country School. This area is located along W-69 about one mile southwest of Dundee across the road a short distance from Spring Hill Cemetery. Several special events are tentatively planned for 1999 and throughout 2000 to celebrate the centennial. The first will be in October 1999 with a church worship service at the school site. The last events will be a confirmation class reunion (September 30, 2000), and final centennial celebration (October 1, 2000). Events will be posted when details are finalized.

Here's a list of upcoming events for the Centennial Celebration
October 3, 1999
Alleghany School Service

The first centennial event was a worship service at the Alleghany School, the site of the first worship service in 1897. Sunday School children and the youth of the church marched to the site carrying a banner "Life High The Cross." They also carried balloons with the names of the founding fathers/mothers attached to the balloons, which were released at the site. Pastor Ron Spears, former pastor of St. John, gave the message where a homemade cross had been erected. The Keystone Barbershop Chorus from Elkader provided the music. A meal was served at the church following the worship. It was a blustery day with snowflakes in the air, but it was impressive and one we will always remember.

November 7, 1999
World Hunger Commemorative Gift Sunday

There are four areas where our commemorative offerings will be sent. One of these is World Hunger. A skit from World Hunger Resources was given by the youth and Sunday School stressing the need of persons who live daily with hunger and homelessness.

December 12, 1999
Old-Fashioned Christmas Service/Sunday School Program

Sunday School children interviewed older parishioners about their Christmas memories. Camcorders took pictures and recorded these memories which were later incorporated into the program. The Lord's Prayer was recited in German by a member of the church. After the program the children were given brown paper bags of hard candy, peanuts, and an apple reminiscent of treats received in 1899.

January 9, 2000
"See the Management" Worship Service

This was to be Hymnfest Sunday, but an opportunity arose to change the schedule. A talented group of college students from the area known as "See the Management" presented the worship service with music and a mini sermon. These were dedicated young people and we were fortunate to be able to hear them.

February 20, 2000
Family Banquet

Our family banquet date had to be changed from the 13th because of a snow storm. The banquet was a catered meal with approximately 100 persons in attendance. Following the meal the Keystone Barbershop Chorus gave a program of popular and Christian music. This fellowship was for invited guests as well as members of St. John.

March 5, 2000
Lutheran Social Services Commemorative Gift Sunday

Lutheran Social Services is one of the four areas of giving for our 100th anniversary celebration. During the worship service a supervisor from the Manchester office explained what Lutheran Social Service does statewide and in Delaware County for children and families. Some of these services include counseling, family centered services, foster family care, adoption services, and programs on aging. Social Services has helped thousands of people of all ages and has given Iowans hope for a better life.

April 2, 2000
Heritage Sunday

St. John celebrated Heritage Sunday starting with the worship service. The Holy Communion Service was conducted by Pastor Kevin Frey and Pastor Paul Matthias, 89, the oldest living former pastor of St. John. Pastor Matthias led the congregation in the hymn "Jesus Still Lead On" by singing the first verse in German. The Lord's Prayer, the Apostle's Creed, and the Nicene Creed were printed in the bulletin in German and Klingelbuetels (long-handled collection baskets) were used to collect the offering. Ushers seated the men on the left side of the church and the women on the right side. The church bell was tolled 100 times to proclaim the 100 years of the church's ministry in the Dundee community. A half hour following the service was designated for fellowship and a review of displays that were arranged in the educational area of the church. A noon luncheon was served with a menu of franks, sauerkraut, German potato salad, coleslaw, rolls, butter and German chocolate cake. After lunch everyone returned upstairs for a short program and closing. Charter members names were read and several people were recognized. A booklet of "Memories" was compiled and printed for each family. This was a memorable day for parishioners and former members.

The church historian has information and/or pictures of all charter members except the following couples: Mr. and Mrs. Albert Jeske, Mr. and Mrs. George Duerst, and Mr. and Mrs. John Schure. Any information a visitor to this website may have about these charter members would be appreciated. Please contact Dolores Thurn, Box 222, Dundee, Iowa 52038.

May 7, 2000 - 10:15 a.m.
Habitat for Humanity Commemorative Gift Sunday

Habitat for Humanity is the third recipient of our commemorative anniversary gift. During worship on May 7th, a couple from a neighboring community who had worked on projects for Habitat for Humanity shared their experiences with us. This organization of volunteers reach out to the poor and underprivileged by helping them build new homes and remodel older homes to make them more livable. We are called by God to be servants and this is an opportunity to serve by establishing homes and security for our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

June, 12, 2000
Bible School Trail

We biked from Farley to Epworth to Graf and back to Epworth, a total of 12 miles. In Graf, George Holland shared three stories that illustrated his personal faith journey. We then interviewed Gerri Wendling, who told us about how faith guided the life of her grandfather, Reinhard Hilliger, who was one of the church founders.

July 16, 2000
EWALU Commemorative Gift Sunday

EWALU Bible Camp near Strawberry Point, Iowa, is the fourth recipient of our commemorative anniversary gift. The worship service was held at EWALU and led by Pastor Ron Spears, former pastor and five counselors of the EWALU staff. The service was held at a shelter near the swimming pool. The counselors led us in camp songs with participation from the congregation assembled. A fellowship potluck followed immediately after the service. We are nearing the end of our year-long centennial celebration. The final celebration will be September 30 and October 1, 2000.

September 30, 2000
Confirmation Class Reunion

The year-long 100th anniversary weekend of St. John Lutheran Church, Dundee was completed on September 30 and October 1. A confirmation class reunion and open house was held at EWALU Stone Center for all confirmands, past and present members. Pastors and their spouses who wished were given lodging at the center and an open house was held from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. to renew old acquaintances and visit with former pastors and members.

October 1, 2000
Final Centennial Celebration

The final day of the year-long 100th anniversary celebration began with the 10:15 worship service. As the bell tolled calling us to worship the congregation sang "Lift High the Cross," our centennial theme, as the procession into the church was led by the acolytes followed by our pastor and seven former pastors. Each pastor in attendance had a part in the communion service. Worship closed with the singing of "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" as the bell tolled 100 times.

Following the service a catered meal was served to all members and guests.

Everyone gathered in the church after dinner for a program. The church historian related the history of St. John. Each pastor was introduced and those persons who had been confirmed by that pastor were asked to stand. Each pastor was then asked to reminisce about the years he or she served as pastor at St. John. Pastors who took part in this weekend were Paul Nordstrom, Paul Matthias, Howard Wolfgram, Kenneth Gamb, Ralph Marquardt, Charles Ager, Connie Kleingartner, Ronald Spears, Albert Hock, and Kevin Frey. Twin daughters of Pastor Engelhardt represented their father, who is deceased. Letters were read from former pastors Dean Hoferer, James Hughes, James Rushton, and the wife of Pastor Engelhardt. This finalized the celebration of 100 years of worship and community service at St. John with a vision of continued work and worship in the future.

The banner "Lift High the Cross" which was made by the Sunday School, was hung over the altar in the church after the first centennial observance and has remained there all year.

Photos from the final weekend of the centennial celebration are located here.

Pastors at St. John's since 1900
Eduard Haecker 1900 - 1903
Gustav Melchert 1903 - 1904
Prof. G. Zeilinger 1905
Carl Rembold 1906 - 1919
J.S. Seitzinger 1919 - 1920
William Mueller 1920 - 1922
G.E. Melchert 1922 - 1926
Werner Fritscehl 1927 - 1929
Fred Lutz 1929 - 1932
Henry Schiffler 1932 - 1934
Paul Matthias 1934 - 1940
G.D.A. Engelhardt 1940 - 1944
Carlton Rohr 1944 - 1947
James Hughes 1947 - 1950
Dean Hoferer 1951 - 1958
Howard Wolfgram 1959 - 1962
Charles Hart & James Adix
(Interim Pastors)
1962 - 1963
Kenneth Gamb 1963 - 1967
Ralph Marquardt 1967 - 1970
Ed Schlachtenhaufen
(Interim Pastor)
1970 - 1971
Charles Ager 1971 - 1976
Connie Kleingartner 1977 - 1980
Ronald Spears 1981 - 1988
Ted Eilders 1989
James Rushton 1989 - 1998
Albert Hock
(Interim Pastor)
1998 - 1999
Kevin Frey
(Interim Pastor)
1999 - 2000
Paul Nordstrom
(Interim Pastor)
2000 -

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This page created by Dundee's own
Lisa Guenther-Rhoades

Last Modified: 01/01/01