updated May 11, 2010
St. John's Attendance Nearly Equals town's Population
by Florence Clark, Gazette Correspondent.
Farmersburg - A church having an average Sunday morning attendance of nearly as many as the total number of residents in the town is St. John's Evangelical Lutheran church in this Clayton county community of around 300. It is not town people who make up most of the congregation, however. Attendance is largely from the farm area around Farmersburg, so much so, that the pastor, the Rev. R.H. Steege, classes it as a rural church.
Last summer a $7,000 organ with seven pipes was placed in the church to take the place of a smaller pipe organ that the congregation decided had served its time. The church property of St. John's includes a commodious parsonage. Mr. Steege moved to Farmersburg with his wife and two sons Aug. 3, 1945, to begin his work at the church. Property improvements completed during his pastorate have included new light fixtures, new oil burning furnace, redocoration of the interior of the church and paving of the street in front of the church.
The Ladies Aid has completely remodeled the parsonage kitchen and purchased an electric water heater and water softener for the pastor's home. The Brotherhood, men's organization of the church, has insulated the parsonage and the church and painted the church parlors, and with the help of the Ladies Aid and Luther League has purchased folding tables for the church parlors.
St. John's observed its fiftieth anniversary in 1950, with an elaborate ceremony that attracted much interest. The history of the church actually goes back to 1883, 17 years before the congregation was formally organized. It was in 1883 that the Rev. F.W. Seifert, who was at the time pastor of Zion Lutheran church in Clayton Center, began to conduct Lutheran worship services in Farmersburg on Sunday afternoons every other week.
Farmersburg was at the time the new town of Clayton county, having its start when the Elkader branch of the Milwaukee railroad was built from Marquette, then North McGregor. At first services were held either in the town hall or in the schoolhouse. Later on a building was moved in from a farm. The moving was a tremendous task, for a path had to be cut through the timber. This building served as a place of worship for St. John's until 1908, and is still used as a church by the Methodists of the Farmersburg area. Pastor Seifert conducted services in this preaching place in spite of the long drive over bad roads.
In May, 1900, a group of 45 men who had been attending the services organized the Lutheran congregation, adopting the name "German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Farmersburg and Surrounding Territory". The present church was built in 1908. It is a frame structure 60X36 feet with a 100-foot tower. Built on a hill, it has a high steeple which can be seen for miles around.
German Lutheran church, Farmersburg
St. John's Lutheran, Farmersburg
The 1957 photo at the top of the page is from an internet URL that is no longer valid
The article and 1953 photo at the bottom is from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, March 14, 1953
Vintage photo of the German Lutheran church from Judy Moyna's personal collection, contributed by Judy
~the news article was transcribed by S. Ferrall for Clayton co. IAGenWeb
to Church Index
Return to Clayton County Index