Almost 100 years ago, World War I was coming to a close. In the years that followed, Americans witnessed the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the Gulf War, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and so much more. The years have had ups and downs, but for the members of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cornell, there has been a constant during that century — their house of worship.
Beginning on Jan. 23, 1918, St. John’s in Cornell began with eight families, and the Rev. Immanuel Albrecht served as their pastor. For the next 39 years, the members worshiped on the corner of Seventh and Bridge streets in a small white framed church.
The congregation eventually outgrew the church, and a building fund was set up in 1955. Half of a city block was purchased, and a new church was built on the corner of Seventh and Thomas streets. The new building was dedicated on Dec. 15, 1957.
In anticipation of St. John’s 100th anniversary, the members of the church decided to replace the bell system in 2013. In 2017, renovations to the front of the church were made, the upstairs and downstairs were repainted, and the carpet in the sanctuary was replaced.
Looking ahead to their anniversary year, the members have dedicated Sunday, Jan. 21, as their historical Sunday. This is the Sunday closest to the actual centennial anniversary. On this Sunday, the liturgy of The Lutheran Hymnal will be used, and the readings will come from the King James version of the Bible. The Rev. Loren Fritz, who once served the congregation, will be the guest preacher.
There will be a meal after worship to give people time to visit and look through photographs and documents of St. John’s history.
The members of St. John’s understand that January travel in northern Wisconsin may be tricky because of weather. They also have selected the weekend of Aug. 4 and 5 to celebrate God’s grace with the community.
Beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, there will be an ice cream social, and the Lutheran Ceili Orchestra, a group of Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod musicians who play traditional Irish instruments, will perform.
At 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, there will be another special worship service with many of the former pastors in attendance, and the Rev. Jerry Ewings, a son of the congregation, will be the guest preacher. There will be a catered meal after worship.
The public is invited to come and share the love of God as seen in the face of Jesus Christ.