church altar

St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church
“Our First 150 years….”

St. Peter, also known as ‘the Fuelling settlement” dates back to the early 1840’s. We are a CHARTER MEMBER of the ‘German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and other States.’

Our founding fathers include the Rev. Friedrich C.D. Wyneken and the Rev. Friedrich W. Husmann. Important dates include:

1836 – Mr. Clamor Heinrich Fuelling was the first Lutheran settler to arrive in Root Township, followed by   Dietrich Gerke, in February of 1837.

1838 – Rev. Friedrich C.D. Wyneken arrived to minister to the spiritual wants of the Lutherans scattered in the region. First services were held in the hut of Clamor Fuelling.

1839 - School instruction started.

1841 - Ten acres were purchased from mr. Dietrich Gerke and Mr. Clamor H. Fuelling, for the sum of $30.00; the church-school (log building) was then erected – the first in Root Township.

1845 - Formal organization of St. Peter as Rev. Friederich W. Husmann was assigned as pastor.

1847 - St. Peter congregation voted to join the what is known today as The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

1850 - St. Peter congregation purchased a 10-acre site from G. H. Franz for $40.00 and allowed their first property to revert to the original owners.

1851 - A frame church (the second church of the congregation) was built and dedicated to the service of the Lord. This church was used for worship and school instruction. This structure presently stands on the land owned in that era, by Johann Henrich (John Henry) Fuelling farm.

1880 - A new and larger brick house of worship (the third church) was built and dedicated on January 11th. The edifice cost the members $5,973.00. This church served the St. Peter congregation until October of 1970.

1881 - Rev. Friederich Berg was installed as pastor of St. Peter on November 20, 1881 and was instrumental in promoting the St. Peter parochial school.

1889 - The first resident teacher, Mr. Gustav Estel, arrived to conduct the parochial school.

1903 - On July 8, 1903, the St. Peter Ladies Aid was officially organized.

1905 - The new pipe organ was installed in the church and currently serves as our rebuilt organ.

1908 - A brick school building was built at the cost of $3,774.00 and was dedicated on April 26;

1918 - The Young People’s Society was organized (November 3rd).

1925 - The 80th Anniversary of St. Peter was observed. In connection with the anniversary celebration, the church was remodeled and redecorated at a cost of: $3,700.00. A Mixed Church Choir and Men’s Choir was started previously (no date available) but pictures were taken in 1925 of both groups. Music played a large part in the history and heritage of the St. Peter congregation, and continues to do so.

1940 - The Church was redecorated; A Christ statue and Lord’s Supper Plaque were added; the School Basement was remodeled.

1945 - The 100th Anniversary of St. Peter was observed by installing a a water pressure system to buildings; new pews installed in church; new church paraments acquired and Rev. J.W. Behnken, President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, preached at St. Peter on September 23, 1945 for the Anniversary celebration.

1953 - Dedication of the addition to the school with the second classroom having been in existence since 1952. The Confirmation classroom building, built in 1870 (used as a classroom for Confirmation instructions and school classroom for the lower grades) was moved to the then Edwin Fuelling farm.

1957 - The Sunday School Program began in April.

1960 - Parsonage remodeled and a new garage built.

1966 - Last weekly German Worship Service was conducted on January 16th.

1967 - A Dual parish was formed with Mission congregation, Peace Lutheran, Berne, Indiana and Pastor Roger D. Eden was installed as the dual-parish pastor on December 17th.

1969 - A school consolidation was formed between St. Peter and Immanuel (Union) in September for grades 1-8. St. Peter’s first school instruction dates back to 1839 and Immanuel’s dates back to 1849.

1970 - St. Peter dedicated their fourth church building, an A-frame cement church, on October 11, 1970 and is still used presently. This was also the 125th Anniversary of St. Peter.

1971 - A Midweek Class of Religion (Confiramtion isntructions) was started in September, for children not attending our parochial school.

1972 - The first Youth Easter Sunrise service began. Vacation Bible School was started on June 2nd.

1973 - The debt on the new church (3 years old) was erased on October 14th.

1976 - A new fiber-glass roof was installed on the exterior of the church roof by local dealer: Old Fort Supply Co. of Flort Wayne at a cost of $64,200.00. The parsonage was extensively remodeled by Verlon O. Barkley for the bid of $10,933.00. Repairs included: new roof, 7 new windows, new vinyl siding, removal of Northwest porch, close 2 interior doors, replace basement windows, put on new spouting, and lower ceilings in the living, dining and bedrooms.

1977 - The school exterior was repaired at a cost of $6,360.00; the downstairs floor was replace by Leo Thieme at a cost of $1,839.00. The Southwest entryway was also renovated for $125.00.

1980 - The first family pictorial directory was completed on the 135th Church Anniversary.

1983 - The rpesent parsonage was again remodeled; bathroom was enlarged and utility room added; the woodwork was refinished.

1988 - A new teacherage was built and dedicated in October. The old teacherage was given to Mr. & Mrs. James Gariepy and was moved approximately one mile East, to 1940 East, 1100 North.

1989 - Kindergaten classes were started in the Fall. A Cherub Choir was organized in October.

1994 - In celebration fo the 150th Anniversary, the church was made handicap accessible and newly landscaped.

1995 - The 150th Anniversary of the formal organization of St. Peter in which a pastor was assigned to this parish was celebrated; the 1995 celebration agenda includes;

  1. Feb. 26th: A special Lessons and Carols service with a Mission emphasis;
  2. April 23: A joint, special service was held at Heritage High School, which included St. Peter *Fuelling), St. John (Bingen), and Emmanuel (Soest) congregations. Dr. Alvin Barry, President of the The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was the preacher for the day. Guest organist was Kantor Richard Resch; Choirs included the Kantorei from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne and a joint mass choir from the three participating congregations; a 150th Anniversary booklet was published.
  3. April 20th: A special service was held, honoring all former Confirmands of St. Peter with a reception following the service. The Lutehran Chorale of Decatur, Indiana was the guest choir. A permanent display of all available St. Peter Confirmation pictures was installed in the Fellowship Hall, along with memorable pictures relating to the church history.
  4. July 15th: An auction was held with a Farmers Market and Craft Sale, in the Picnic Grove of the church.
  5. September 17th: M Mission Festival services was held with a “Member Appreciation Hog Roast Bar-B-Q” was held in the picnic grove.
  6. October 8th: A special Church Anniversary service was held with guest preacher Rev. Roger D. Eden All St. Peter pastors and teachers were honored at this celebration. A Swiss Steak/Chicken Dinner followed the service. The Swiss Steak/Chicken Dinner tradition has continue at St. Peter and is held the second Sunday in October every year.
  7.  November 5th: A Final 150th service celebration was held on November 5th, with Rev. Timothy Sims, Indiana District President, preaching; the Chamber Singers from Concordia High School were the guest choir. In celebration of the 150th Anniversary, a replica of the 1880 brick church was built for display. Commemorative pewter Christmas Tree Ornaments with interior and exterior views of the church were available for sale. Also, a special Anniversary Cookbook titled: Feeding the Multitude – 150th Anniversary Edition, was published July 1, 1995.

God’s Word is our great heritage and shall be ours forever; To spread its light from age to age

shall be our chief endeavor.  Through life it guides our way, in death it is our stay. 

Lord, grant, while worlds endure, we keep its teachings pure throughout all generations.

(from The Lutheran Hymnal)