A BRIEF HISTORY OF FAITH LUTHERAN CHURCH
MARKESAN, WISCONSIN – 1964-2001
The history of Faith congregation got its start apart from its formation as a congregation. On July 31, 1963, a number of interested members of two congregations met to establish a Christian Day School. They formed the Lutheran School Association. On August 31st the Association purchased the Dantz Tavern School. On September 9th the school opened with 23 students taught by Lois Albrecht, Velma Kelm, and Joyce Schwandt.
The congregations to which the members of the Association belonged did not share or support the founding of the Christian Day School. The issue came to a head on January 10th of 1964. The majority of the voters of the St. Paul’s congregations (Manchester and Marquette) voted to return to the fellowship of the Wisconsin Evangelical Synod. Pastor Egbert Albrecht, together with a sizable number of voters, left that meeting and held one of their own. They resolved to retain their fellowship with the Church of the Lutheran Confession, keep the school going, make plans for establishing a new congregation, and provide a building for worship and the school. The founding date of Faith Lutheran Church of Markesan, Green Lake County, Wisconsin, was January 23, 1964.
Beginning on February 16th worship services were held at the Marquette Methodist church. But by the end of May that facility was no longer available. The congregation shared the Dantz Tavern building with the school for about a year.
For a while there were two congregations, the other being Grace of Marquette. In 1964 Grace dissolved and chose to share their fellowship with Faith. In February of 1964 the members of Faith also began plans for a new church and school building. The choice of available sites was narrowed down to four. During April and May several architects were invited to speak to the voters about building plans, costs, and site selection. On May 18th the congregation chose the 4-acre property offered by Fred and Arthur Salzwedel. On June llth preliminary plans were approved. The congregation was its own general contractor. By November 26th, Thanksgiving Day, the foundation walls were finished and backfilled.
Already scores of volunteers had offered hundreds of man-hours of work. That would continue through 1965. The first effort was to complete the school. On September 7, 1965, the new school welcomed 54 students to its two classrooms. On November 21st the first service was conducted in the new church amid scaffolding and temporary fixtures.
In 1969 the congregation again marshaled their many talents to build a parsonage for the pastor and his family. And three years later they hired a contractor to construct a teacherage on the Faith campus.
Through the years the congregation continued to make improvements. The brick sign was constructed in 1966. A pipe organ was installed in the church in 1974. The parking lot was paved in the mid ’70’s. A steeple was added to the church in 1980.
1984 brought a number of changes to Faith. Pastor Egbert Albrecht, who had served Faith congregation faithfully for its twenty years, and the seven before that at St. Paul’s of Manchester and Marquette, accepted the call to serve two congregations in the LaCrosse area. He and his family moved in March of 1984. Pastor Mike Sydow, who had been serving the CLC congregation in Cheyenne, Wyoming, accepted the congregation’s divine call and was installed on June 10th of that year.
In the spring of 1984 the congregation resolved to call a third full-time teacher. For the next two and a quarter school years two groups of students with their teachers shared the same classroom. It was crowded and distracting. In 1987 the voters accepted a School Board recommendation to build an addition with a classroom and a library. A combination of volunteers and contracted help worked on the building. These rooms were occupied in November of 1987. Final touches — shelving, blackboards, cabinets, and cupboards, landscaping, bulletin boards, etc., were completed in time for Faith congregation to host the CLC Teachers’ Conference in October of 1988.
In the Spring of 1996, Pastor Mike Sydow accepted a call to teach at Immanuel Lutheran High School and College in Eau Claire, WI. The congregation called Pastor Bruce Naumann, who was serving our CLC congregation in San Francisco, California, to be Faith’s third pastor. After moving with his young family, Pastor Naumann was installed at Faith on August 25, 1996.
Today Faith is making plans to expand its facilities with the construction of a combination gymnasium and fellowship hall. This daunting task is brought into perspective when we consider the many years of the Lord’s blessings to us so far, and the works of faith which He has already accomplished by His Spirit.
Recalling a congregation’s history brings to mind times of reflection and nostalgia. However, no church history is worth remembering if its members lose sight of the real reason for their existence. We have been called by our Savior to preach the Good News of His life, death, and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. We are conscience-bound to His Word. He enjoins us to be faithful ministers and stewards of that truth by always telling things His way — without additions or subtractions.
Those entering our worship facility are greeted with a solemn truth embedded as a special “handwriting on the wall” — THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURETH FOREVER.
The structures of our lives will end. The buildings this congregation put together may some day come tumbling down. People will have come and gone. The walls of our cherished chapel will have seen many baptisms, confirmations, weddings, sacred concerts, festival and other worship services, and funerals. But all that will some day stop. The Lord says that heaven and earth will pass away, but “BUT MY WORDS WILL BY NO MEANS PASS AWAY!”