St. John's E. & R. Was Organized on April 19, 1925
by Verna O'Connor, Gazette correspondent
Organization of St. John's Evangelical and Reformed church at Garber, a village of 200 southeast of Elkader, was begun on April 19, 1925. It was on that date that the first organization meeting was conducted in A.M. Zapf Hall by the Rev. C.H. Franke, pastor of the Evangelical church in Elkader. Great interest was shown and a committee was appointed ot canvass the field and determine what the chances were for organizing an Evangelical congregation. A month later, on May 10, Mother's Day, the congregation was organized with 51 charter members.
First step in the organization was selection of a church council to function as a soliciting and building group, and to carry through the program. Officers were Edward Lundt, Elkport, president; John Schweikert, Garber, vice-president; E.J. Prolow, Garber, treasurer, and Louis A. Zearley, secretary.
A constitution was drawn up and adopted, and work of the church was begun. Within a month, on June 1, work on the new church building was begun. Cornerstone was laid on July 19th. By Christmas of that year, the building was far enough along that the congregation was able to have the Sunday school Christmas program and the Christmas day services in it. The church was dedicated on July 18 of the next year. At the same time the congregation was received into membership in the Evangelical synod.
Since then the congregation has acquired a parsonage and improvements such as new lights, carpeting in the chancel and redecoration of church. The basement has been remodeled so that the congregation now has a modern kitchen and dining room for parish affairs and church dinners.
In its 26 years, the congregation has been served by 13 ministers. They are the Revs. C.H. Franke, L. Emigholz, W. Anderson, J.H. Bunge, R.R. Hunger, H. Hohman, C. Schrupp, J. Gaterman, S. Birkner, W. Vonderhoe, R. Miller, M. Pepmeier and Gerhard E. Hesse, the present pastor. The congregation has been served at varous times by students from Eden seminary and the University of Dubuque. During it's 27 years, there have been 179 baptisms, 143 confirmations, 27 marriages and 79 funerals. present Sunday school enrollment is 42.
First wedding was that of Ernest Smith and Miss Carrie Noack, who now live in Guttenberg. First funeral was that of Mrs. Joseph Meyer of Garber, held in March, 1926.
Present members of the council are James Zearley, president; Ernest Groth, vice-president; Don Chattinger, treasurer; LaVern Schroeder, secretary, and Clyde Jennings and August Thein.
~source: Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 24, 1953
~note: the article was typed exactly as the original was written; errors were not corrected.
~contributed by S. Ferrall
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