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A Brief History of St. John's,
New Ulm from 1948-1998
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Sunday October 15th, 10:30 | MLC College Choir Concert/Service 

Our concluding event will be a special treat as St. John's member Adrian Smith directs the MLC College Choir in a portion of their fall concert program. Again, please note that we will hold our Saturday evening 6:30 and Sunday morning 8:00 services (with guest preacher, MLC President Rich Gurgel), but no 9:30 or 11:00 Sunday services will take place. A brief presentation about the college will be given between the 8:00 and 10:30 services. We are blessed to have the college so close and to have so many of its students worship with and serve among us.

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Sunday May 7th | Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Chorus Concert

Special thanks to the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Chorus for kicking off our anniversary celebrations with a beautiful concert on Sunday, May 7th.

Click here to view pictures from the event.

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Sunday August 6th | 75th Anniversary Luncheon at MLC

Following the special services, a crowd of 240 members of the St John's family joined together for fun, fellowship, and a tasty burgers and brat lunch at the MLC gymnasium. Again, we are grateful for all who attended and for those who served.

 * Jim Dretske prepared a memorable slideshow featuring faces and places that God used to bless us and our ministry

* Nathaniel Struffert and Pioneer Caterers served us a delightful burger and brat meal

* Pastor Guenther helped us learn about our past and provided many smiles and laughs with his exceptional humor

* Bill Pekrul again captured some smiles and silliness in these fun pics

Sunday August 6th | 75th Anniversary Service

We are thankful for all those who faithfully prepared for and served as part of the special services and for all who attended. Special thanks to:
* Keith Wessel, who wrote a very uplifting and joy-filled service.

* Katherine Schmoller, who designed the service folder (as well as the banners, bulletin inserts, etc.) 

* Philip Wels, who took footage and made a highlights video of the day
* Bill Pekrul, who snapped some great pics.

* Our musicians - choir, organist, and handbells led by Craig Hirschmann, Jacob Behnken, and Becky Berg, They beautified our worship with the new concertato and several songs of praise.

* Pastor Bovee, who skillfully led us in worship

* Pastor Kolander, who shared an encouraging message of how God has preserved us and kept us forever young through 75 years of word and sacrament.

* Joseph Wessel, Silas Dose, and Justus Borgwardt, our sons currently preparing for pastoral ministry, who gave us cause for thanksgiving as they shared the word with us as lectors.

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Sunday September 10th | Organ Recital

We thank God for the many gifted musicians who help lead us in our efforts to praise and worship Him. Special thanks to organists Jacob Behnken, Becky Berg, Craig Hirschmann, Jon Roux, Adrian Smith, and Wayne Wagner who walked us through the church year in this special anniversary recital. The recital can be viewed/heard on our YouTube channel. Images of the event are also available on our Facebook page.

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Commissioned Concertato

Generous donations from St. John's members have already fully funded this special concertato based on Lord Jesus Christ, the Church's Head being developed by renowned composer John Behnke. Thank you! We look forward to the St. John's choir sharing it at our anniversary service. After that, the piece will be made available for other choirs across Christendom

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Ministerial Education Endowment

We have been blessed to have nearly 200 sons and daughters of our congregation prepare for public ministry at MLC and WLS. Many have gone on to serve as pastors, teachers, and staff ministers in our synod. Currently, more than a dozen of our members are studying to serve in those capacities. In addition to our prayers and encouragement, we want to support them financially. An open-goal endowment fund is being established to help us do that for many years to come.

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Sanctuary Seating and Flooring

As part of an upcoming larger renovation, we are gathering an anniversary offering with a goal of $75,000 to beautify God's house. Our 57 year-old sanctuary has aged well, but new floor tile is needed and the pews could use some touch up and fabric changes. The plan also calls for more flexible seating in the front, a contemporary color palette, and improved accessible options.

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A brief history of St John's was prepared for our 50th anniversary back in 1998. It was titled Not Unto Us. Check it out by clicking on the link or on the image of its cover.



Pastor Emeritus Wayne Laitinen has conducted extensive research and developed a very interesting and up-to-date history of St John's titled "Grace Upon Grace" as part of our anniversary celebration. It highlights the many ways in which God has showered blessings on our congregation over 75 years. A  digital version can be read by clicking on the cover image.


We wish to thank the members of the anniversary planning committee who freely gave many hours to plan and prepare for the events and communications that went into our year-long celebration. Next time you see one of them, please express your appreciation for their faithful efforts.

  • Laura Balza, Music/Arts

  • Denise Karstens, Event Planning/Meals

  • Wendy Ristow/Secretary

  • Ann Vogel/Communication

  • Steve Balza, Chair

  • Pastor Rob Guenther, Worship

  • Roger Klockziem, Finances

  • Pastor Wayne Laitinen, History

  • Ex Officio: Lisa Goeglein, Communication
      and Katherine Schmoller, Graphic Arts

We hope that you are able to participate in the various anniversary projects and events. If you have any questions, please contact committee member Steve Balza at 507-217-1731
or Pastor Rob Guenther at 507-240-2433
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