History of
Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Lunds
Shawano, Wisconsin
~ Organized Year 1869 ~

(copied from 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Jerusalem Lutheran Church of Lunds)

And our THANKS to Linda Emerson for sending it in!

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, 1875.

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 in 1873.

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 cracklings.

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 top.

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 funerals 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 and Pentecost.

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 and devotion.

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 fourteen.

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 

Christian Jacobson  Jacob Larson
Peter Peterson, Sr.  Taale Lund
Brede Bredeson Olavus Olson
Jacob Olson  Hans Gibson
John L. Olson Anton Pedersen
Edward Olson Ed Mathisen
Ivar Olson Jens Larson
John C. Olson Johannes Lund
Peter Hanson  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"!


  UPDATED 31 MAR  2001