|Our congregation, The Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Waukechon,
in Shawano County, was organized on November 25, 1874, at the home of Anton
Pedersen. The following composed the Board of Trustees elected at
that time: Johannes Lund, Jacob Olson, and Peter Hanson, Secretary.
Pastor E.J. Homme of Winchester, Wisconsin, presided at that meeting.
It was not, however, recorded until about a year later, on November 10,
Pastor E.J. Homme conducted his first service in this parish on December
7, 1869. Twenty-three guests were present at the Lord’s Table at
that first meeting, of whom eighteen decided to form a congregation.
The first service, according to reports, was held at the home of Martinus
and Bertha Anderson, now the Henry Schwant place on Highway 156, about
thirteen miles south of Shawano. It was the FIRST Norwegian Lutheran
Service held in Shawano County. The next service, according to reports,
was held on January 15, 1870 in the Shawano Congregation’s School House,
which was located a little southwest of the home of Louie Peterson, near
Junction “W” with 156. Since members were so scattered, Pastor Homme
promised to come twice a year. In 1870 and 1871, four services were
held each year, with five services in 1872, whereas six services were held
The Navarino and Waukechon congregations, or Jerusalem and New Jerusalem
(ours being the New Jerusalem), as listed in the early records, were formed
by dividing the “Shawano Congregations.” This was effected at a congregational
meeting on October 22 and 23, 1872. This information is from “Visergutten,”
a little booklet edited by Pastor J.P. Bugge in 1908.
Neighbors Gather for Scripture Reading
Before the church was built, neighbors would gather at various homes
for services and scripture readings. Some of these homes were those
of Johannes Lund, Olavus Olson, and Anton Pedersen. Their homes had
three rooms which were considered large at that time. These pioneers
from Norway were a religious people; they valued their religion and their
church; among their most treasured possessions were the Bible, Hymn Book,
and Little Catechism, or a Book of Devotions.
Arrive in Sailboats
Some of these people had left their homeland in 1866 in Sailboats which
took fourteen weeks or more to cross the ocean. They told about food
being packed for these long voyages, among which were butter, cheeses,
“flatbrod,” and dried meats. Sometimes because of illness (seasickness)
the food remained untouched in the chest. On stormy days the waves
frightened them terribly, and they had to hang on so as not to be overthrown
by the motion of the boat. A young mother (the wife of one of our
charter members) was terribly ill during the entire voyage which took fourteen
weeks, and died three days after the boat landed. Another of our
charter members brought along a little baby girl who had been born on the
ocean three days before they reached land. Incidentally, the above
mentioned families were on the same Sailboat and came to America in 1869.
Some of these pioneers had stopped for a short time in Neenah, Green
Bay, or Winchester, before coming to Waukechon. This was timberland!
Forests were dense and gradually one or two room cabins were built from
hand-cut and hand-hewn logs, and little clearings were made around the
cabins, permitting sunshine to enter. In these forests game abounded
-- bear, deer, wolves, partridge, etc. and in the nearby rivers -- the
Wolf, and the Embarrass fish were plentiful. This had been hunting
grounds for the Menominee Indians and other tribes. The pioneers
settlers met them and there was usually friendliness. An Indian “burying
ground” is located a few miles from this point. Later, logging camps
were built in the vicinity and trees were felled and floated down the Wolf
River to the mills of Oshkosh.
The main Post Office was at Shawano, which was located about nine miles
away. It was also the home of the nearest doctor. There were
no hospitals in the vicinity, and surgery, even to the extent of amputation,
was sometimes performed in the home. Settlers used home remedies,
and relied much on the “Doctor Book.” Neighbors helped one another.
In case of serious illness, one had to drive or sometimes walk many miles
to get a doctor. Shawano had only one store, which was Charley Upham’s.
So these pioneers saw that town prosper.
Grain was sown by hand, reaped with sickle, and threshed with flails
or trodden with horses. Grass was cut with a scythe and the hay gathered
by hand rakes. Meat was preserved by salting and packing in barrels.
Many of the women made their own Soap. It was called “Lut” Soap,
and was made from the “ash barrel” together with all sorts of scraps and
The first constitution of the congregation was written in the Norwegian
language, and all services were conducted in Norwegian.
Throughout the years, two men, together with the Pastor, were elected
to see that Religious School was held during the year. These men
solicited the congregation, and members gave according to willingness and
ability. Furthermore, two men were elected at the annual meeting
to collect for “Samfundskassen” (general budget).
A Church Was Built
In 1874, a Church 20’ x 28’ of hand-cut and hand-hewn logs, was built
by men from the congregation. Plaster was put between the logs, and
later the logs were whitewashed to make the church lighter inside.
The benches were unpainted, but were scrubbed clean from time to time along
with the pine floor. The ceiling was also made of pine, and this
was grooved. The church had no steeple or Chancel. There was
no pulpit, and an improvised lectern was made from a desk with a sloping
Men and women parted when they entered the church proper, the men going
to the right and the women and children to the left. In 1935 Pastor
Blom with the approval of the Church Council recommended that families
stay together in church. Gradually the members became more accustomed
to the new way and approved it.
For about three years the Waukechon and Navarino Congregations were
separated from Green Valley (from “Visergutten”) and we were served by
Pastor J.S. Ofstedal from Winchester, Wisconsin from about 1884 to 1887.
Authoritative sources have informed us that about this time at times of
the “body” was brought into the church. Previously the casket was
taken directly to the cemetery. Likewise, pastors did not officiate
at all funerals. The deacon or one of the church elders often times
conducted baptism or funeral services. Pastor Sherping accepted a
call to this parish in about 1887.
The Ladies Aid was organized in 1889 with five charter members.
In 1891 the church steeple and chancel were built by Rasmus Paulson,
who also constructed the baptismal font, pulpit, altar and ring.
The window high pulpit was attached to the wall, paneled, carved and trimmed
with red velvet and fringed with gold as was the altar ring. From
the ceiling hung beautiful kerosene lamps in sets of four with frosted
chimneys and fluted tops. There was a swinging bracket lamp beside
the pulpit as well as directly across the chancel.
In 1895 a bell was purchased for the sum of $100.79. The bell
has tone “B” and the inscription “My Name is Mary.” The bell was
ordered rung at sundown on special occasions such as Christmas Eve, Easter
In 1896 J.F. Bugge became our pastor and served through November 1921.
With his long stay his confirmands were many and the congregation during
this twenty-five years continued to grow in numbers and in Christian love
Up to 1916 all our Pastors had served the congregations traveling by
horse and buggy. In that year the congregation presented our Pastor
Bugge with his first automobile -- a “Model T Ford.”
Fourteen stars were needed for the “World War One Service Flag” as that
was the number of young men who answered their country’s call to arms.
Up to 1918 the records of the church had been maintained in the Norwegian
language; however the business meetings were conducted in English for some
time already. Hymns and scripture readings from both languages were
used. At this point in time the congregation authorized Pastor Bugge
to have English and Norwegian services on an alternating basis.
The Luther League was founded on March 25, 1922. The envelope
system of paying church dues was also started at this time.
On December 7, 1941 our nation once more called upon the young people
of its country to answer the call to arms. Twenty-two of our members
were to answer the roll call in the military service before the enemy was
forced to surrender.
In July 1947 a Men’s Brotherhood was organized with a membership of
Pentecost Day, June 5, 1960, marked the opening of the year of Jubilee
for the uniting synods of the new American Lutheran Church. The new
Service Book and Hymnal and the New Order of Service was initiated.
On November 14, 1965 Past N. Westphal resigned to accept his call from
among us. He was to be the last full-time Pastor insofar as Jerusalem
Lutheran Church, Lunds, Wisconsin is concerned.
Pastor Roger Skatrud of Zion Lutheran Church, Shawano, Wisconsin, served
the congregation starting on February 5, 1967, on an interim basis.
On Sunday, February 4, 1968, in the congregation’s annual meeting with
the presence of the executive assistant of the North Wisconsin District
of the American Lutheran Church, Pastor Solverg, the voters decided to
officially close this congregation as of April 1, 1967 because “we cannot
obtain pastoral care from any known source.”
On May 12, 1968 about eighty from Jerusalem Lutheran Church joined Zion
Lutheran Church in Shawano, Wisconsin.
Courtesy of Mrs. Almon Mathisen, Historian
|Peter Peterson, Sr.
|John L. Olson
|John C. Olson
||Peter Peterson, Jr.
|Rev. E. J. Homme 1869-1875
||Rev. T. T. Evenson 1942-1943
|Rev. P. Thorlakson 1875-1876
||Rev. E. O. Urness 1943-1945
|Rev. G. H. Omlid 1879-1883
||Rev. G. O. Halverson 1945-1948
|Rev. J. N. Bergh 1883-1884
||Rev. E. A. Henderson 1948-1953
|Rev. J. A. Ofstedal 1884-1888
||Rev. W. A. Smith 1954-1956
|Rev. E. T. Sherping 1887-1896
||Rev. M. Larson 1956-1956
|Rev. J. B. Bugge 1896-1921
||Rev. L. D. Monson 1956-1962
|Rev. E. N. Halverson 1921-1934
||Rev. N. Westphal 1962-1965
|Rev. O. C. Rolfson 1934-1935
||Rev. R. Skatrud 1967-1968
|Rev. A. T. Blom 1935-1942
NOTE: Picture of the church on the top of the page is just generic
clipart--if you have a photo of the actual church, I'd love to replace
it with "the real thing"!