This Sunday, April 14, will be a very special day in the history of St. Paul
Evangelical Lutheran Church, 106 E 1100 N., Chesterton, when the church
celebrates 125 years as a congregation.
The congregation will celebrate this momentous occasion with the Divine
Service of Holy Communion at 9:00 a.m. Immediately following the service,
there will be an informal reception with coffee, juice and cookies in the
Parish Hall. Afterwards a banquet will be held at the Old Town Banquet
Center in Valparaiso.
The congregation feels they have been blessed over these many years,
particularly to be served by ordained pastors who have remained true to the
Word of God in their preaching and teaching.
In 1887, a group of German-Americans founded St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran
Church. The first church was built and located at Francis and
Beam Streets in Porter. St. Paul is a member of the Lutheran Church –
The first minister to serve St. Paul Lutheran was the Reverend F. W.
Schlechte 1887–1895. From 1895-1900, the Reverend M.C. Baade acted as
pastor. The Reverend E. H. Polzin served as pastor from 1900-1904. In 1905
the church extended a call to the Reverend John A. Bescherer. He served as
pastor through five generations until 1959. Next the Reverend Winifred
Neuendorf served from 1959-1961. After a brief vacancy the Reverend L. W.
Schulenberg accepted a call to St. Paul serving from 1962-1970.
In 1963, the present six-acre site located south of County Road 1100 North
was purchased. The new church was dedicated on February 14. 1965.
After a 16 month vacancy when Pastor Schulenberg retired, the Reverend
Donald Garvue became pastor and served until 1980. Ten months after Pastor
Garvue left, the Reverend Robert Duncan accepted the call and was installed
on Sunday, September 13, 1981.
Early in 1984 a congregational vote was taken, and it was decided to build a
new sanctuary, add classrooms and establish an administrative area. The
former sanctuary would become the parish hall. The new sanctuary was
dedicated on December 31, 1989.
Pastor Duncan retired on December 28, 2003. Within a few months the vacancy
was filled when the Reverend Erich Fickel, who continues to shepherd the
congregation, accepted a call and was installed on the feast of St. Mark,
April 25, 2004.
Two previous pastors, the Reverends Donald Garvue and Robert Duncan will be
in attendance. The Reverend John C. Wohlrabe, Jr., the Second Vice-president
of the LC-MS will be the keynote speaker at the banquet. Three of the
congregationís choirs will provide the entertainment.