St. Johns Lutheran Church -- Merrill, Iowa, 1914

[The sign by the church says: Town of Merrill, Slow Down to 8 Miles Per Hour]

In February, 1912, a group of twelve men organized the St. Johns Lutheran Church of Merrill.  They were: Onno Redelfs, Mike Klenk, Felix Karli, Adolph Peters, Geroge Kress sr., August Braune, Gottlieb Lehman, Andrew Carstensen, Chris Wettstadt, Carl Johnsen, Phillip Deutschle, and William Braune.

The first services were held in the Merrill School and later the city hall. The pastor at this time was J. J. Roesch, who lived in the country parsonage next to St. Paul Church, and served both congregations.

A lot was purchased from John Turton and a new church was built at the cost of $3,000.

The first baptism in the church according to records was Louise Margaret Baack, daughter of John Baack and Finor Cornelius on December 10, 1913.

The first person confirmed was Josephine Karli on December 26, 1916, and the first funeral was that of Mrs. Katherine Kress on July 12, 1917.

The first resident pastor was Rev. Adolf Killian in 1918.  Although there were baptisms and weddings in the homes prior to this, the first marriage performed in the new church building was that of Gretchen Carstensen to Hans Simonsen, July 21, 1920.

In 1952 the Lutheran Church building from east of Hinton was purchased and moved in across the street and serves as the present church [1972.] A new parsonage was built next to this in 1956. In 1962 the church held a 50th  anniversary celebration.  In 1969 the mortgages of both church and parsonage were burned.

The present pastor [1972] is Rev. Harold Norheim serving 406 baptised members and a Sunday School enrollment of 102 with 14 teachers.

The organizations of the church are: American Lutheran Church Women, American Lutheran Church Men, and Luther League.

~Source: Merrill Centennial 1872-1972, pp. 251-252




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