ST. PETER — One Sunday every other month since January, the parishioners of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church gathered after a church service to learn a little piece of history about their parish.
These history-infused gatherings were part of the church’s 150th anniversary. Anniversary committee co-chairman Marv Wollin said he and 11 other committee members spent a year and a half preparing for the nearly year-long celebration.
A stone sign welcomes parishioners to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.
Set up at each of these presentations were memorabilia from a different 25-year span in the church’s history. The final presentation, to be held Nov. 10, will feature items from 1994 through the present.
“In the last one, we’ll cover the last 25 years, but really, we’ll be looking back toward the whole 150 years and looking ahead at what would the next 150 years bring us,” Wollin said.
A special guest speaker has graced each of the gatherings, held in the St. Peter’s Lutheran School gymnasium next door to the church. Among those speakers were former parish reverends and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Central Illinois District President Mark Miller.
Wollin said the church is still looking for a speaker for the “finale” event because the originally scheduled presenter has health issues.
Though it may seem like St. Peter the town is the namesake for the church, Wollin said it is quite the opposite. He said the town was established in 1894, which was 25 years after the church was chartered.
The red canopy boasting a cross on the St. Peter's Lutheran Church exterior was added in 1990.
The church started as a congregation of 26 in 1869. Wollin said after the charter was signed, land was donated so the congregation could construct a church building.
“It was actually given to them by an individual — the land — with the objective in mind that that would help get the church started and help to make them have an additional location for starting,” Wollin said.
The growing membership of the church quickly outgrew the 30-by-50-by-14 feet church, so a new one was built across the street. Wollin said a parochial school was added to the church grounds in 1871 and is still in operation today.
A third church building was sought in 1948. The brick structure was dedicated in 1950, and nine years later, the $172,000 cost to build the church was completely paid off. The church remains in this location on East Third Street.
According to the 125th anniversary book, the congregation celebrated that anniversary nearly the same way current members are commemorating the 150th anniversary. There was a church service and a presentation by a guest speaker.
Wollin said though he wasn’t around for the 125th anniversary, he and his committee were able to find a wealth of knowledge and memorabilia from the church’s past. Though he is a co-chairman, Wollin said the credit goes to the entire committee.
A cement addition to the brick making up St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in St. Peter commemorates the 125th anniversary of the church, now in its 150th year.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” Wollin said. “I want to be very clear. I am one of 12 on a committee. We have a fabulous committee. The credit, I say, goes totally to the committee.”
The Nov. 10 church service will begin at 9 a.m. at the church with a final presentation to follow.