The Holy Trinity continues to bless St. John Lutheran Church as He has always done through her 167+ year history in Sherman Center. While the names and faces have changed, God continues to keep His promise to call, gather, enlighten, and sanctify us through His Word and Spirit. Fifteen pastors preached, taught, baptized, and delivered Christ’s body and blood. Countless teachers taught the children of the congregation and community. Faithful laymen and laywomen gave freely to the congregation’s mission, governance, facilities, fellowship, and acts of service.
The founders built the first log church and parsonage in 1855. We celebrated the dedication of the church and the installation of Pastor W. Kolb on August 5th, 1855 with the Hauptgottesdienst, the Divine Service of the Lord’s Supper. On September 5th of that year, we rejoiced with first recorded service of Holy Matrimony. November 29th of that year, the congregation held her first Voters’ Assembly. The following year, on March 30th, 1856, nine catechumens confessed their Baptismal faith and were confirmed. The year ended with the first recorded funeral on December 31st. Pastor Kolb preached on Sunday mornings, conducted catechetical instructions, and taught in the Christian Day School during the week.
In 1857, St. John joined the “German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States,” founded just ten years previous, as a voting member. This church body would later shorten its name to the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). The congregation incorporated in 1859 as “German Evangelical Lutheran St. John Church, Town 13, of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.”
Questions of incorporation came up in 1988 regarding liability issues. These questions were answered when it was found that the church was incorporated in 1859, and all that was required was an update of the original German name. While we no longer include “German” in our official name, both Evangelical, “of the Gospel,” and Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the chief Lutheran Confession in its original 1530 form, remain in the official name. These emphases continue to distinguish St. John’s faith and life from that of neighboring Reformed and Unionistic protestant churches.
For the last 167+ years, St. John has been blessed to be served by sixteen called pastors and forty-five called or contracted teachers. The records show more than two thousand baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. Of those thousands, most continued to sit at the feet of Jesus in Sherman Center, receiving His Word, being forgiven, and fed with the bread of heaven. These same saints served their neighbors in loving kindness/ You can see the labor and dedication of these saints as you enter through the narthex, sit in the chancel, listen to the organ, reflect on the beautiful windows, walk the cemetery, observe the classrooms, and enjoy fellowship in the church and school. While many things come and go, Jesus’ abiding and forgiving presence always remains: The Word of God, who endures forever.