1900 - 1959

  • Lightning struck the church steeple on July 11, 1904, and set it on fire. The fire, which burned slowly downward, was extin­guished by bucket brigade. But the steeple was destroyed and had to be rebuilt, and the organ had to be replaced at a cost of $1,300, and the bell was cracked and made useless. In 1956 the Men's Club re­placed the bell and memorialized the founders of the congre­gation by placing it as a monu­ment on the front lawn of the church.

    For reasons of health Pastor Mueller resigned in 1905 after twenty‑two years at St. Peter. His remains lie in St. Peter Ceme­tery.

    The Reverend Gottlob Theiss was called from Hampton, Iowa, and installed on April 29, 1906. During his pastorate the congregation decided to electrify the church in 1929. In 1932 they began to remove the horse sheds with the assur­ance that the owners could park their cars in the same place. English services were introduced once a month in 1932. In addition to serving the congregation, Pastor Theiss held various offices in the Northern Illinois District of the Synod. His sudden death in 1935 brought an end to his faithful pastorate of thirty‑nine years. He was buried here at St. Peter Cemetery.

    At this time the congregation called the Reverend Carl Pfotenhauer of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada, and he was installed November 3, 1935. In 1939 two English services were conducted each month and Holy Communion was celebrated four times in English and eight times in German each year. When Pastor Pfotenhauer received the call from Zion, Chicago, in 1940, he felt conscience bound to accept it.

    For his successor, the congregation chose the Rever­end Martin Behling of Pingree Grove, Illinois, and he was installed on June 2, 1940. The congregation made ar­range­ments at this time to celebrate Holy Communion once a month in German and once a month in English, and divine services were conducted in both languages. An American flag was placed in the church in 1941; the first church bulletin appeared in 1942; the altar candles were replaced with electric lights in 1946; 100 English hymnals were purchased in 1946; and in the same year the congregation adopted the Synodical Pension Plan for pastors and teach­ers. A base­ment and new heating system were installed in the church in 1946 for $2,493. Congregational meetings in 1948 were now conducted in English and it was ordered to change the constitution and by‑laws from German to English. In 1948 Pastor Behling accepted a call to Decatur, Indiana.

    Imploring the Holy Spirit's guidance the congregation called the Reverend Frederick A. Hertwig from Holy Cross in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and installed him on January 30, 1949. The congrega­tion went on to purchase a new organ in 1949 at a cost of $11,500. The East and West School Districts were consolidated in 1949 and the West District school building on the church property was enlarged to accommodate the enrollment in 1950. English services were now held every Sunday in 1950. The revised constitution and by laws in the English language were adopted with rules and regulations for the cemetery. The electric lights on the altar were replaced in 1954 with candles to be lighted every service. The first Sunday School was conducted in 1954.

    A major renovation and redecorating program of the church building was under­taken in 1954 and 1955. It began with the tuck-pointing of the exterior and followed with the renovation and redecoration of the interior at a cost of $29,000. A teach­erage was built in 1957 at a cost of $15,070. The first Vaca­tion Bible School was held in 1957. This was followed with the beginning of a kindergarten class in 1958. In 1959 Pastor Hertwig accepted a call to St. John of Edgerton, Wisconsin.