Brown Deer — St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church turned 75 years old in August, but "the best is yet to come," the Rev. David Paape, the pastor, said.
The church that sits on North 47th Street in Brown Deer was incorporated on Aug. 24, 1938. To commemorate its 75th anniversary, the congregation is having four Sundays of celebration through September focusing on three key words "remember, rejoice and renew."
As a 400-member congregation, together they are remembering the history of St. Paul's while looking to the future. In light of the 75th anniversary, they are looking to breathe fresh life into the ministry.
"St. Paul's best years are in front of us and maybe it won't be the huge numbers, but the best in that the Lord is still working and this place is used to be a lighthouse to point you to Jesus," Paape said. "Right now, we're trying to redefine our ministry, how we want to serve the community and serve the Lord."
Community has been a focus of the church all along. From ice cream socials to free summer concerts, being one with the community is front and center. And, Paape said reaching out to the community is going to be an even larger focus going forward.
"We have a real desire to serve the community and it will be exciting to see how the Lord blesses that," Paape said.
If there has been one constant that has kept St. Paul's strong through its 75-year history, it has been the preachers, St. Paul's Special Events Coordinator Betty Wahlberg said. Wahlberg has been a member of the congregation since 1958.
"We've had good preachers, that's for sure," she said. "I believe that really holds the congregation together."
The longest standing leader of St. Paul's was the Rev. James Reichmann, who accepted the pastorate in November 1956. He led the church for 38 years.
To celebrate the anniversary, St. Paul's will have a different preacher every Sunday. On Sept. 8, preacher the Rev. John Willie, president of the South Wisconsin District, will lead the 10 a.m. worship service. A luncheon will follow the service.
On Sept. 15, former pastor of St Paul's, the Rev. John Kelling, will lead the worship service at 9 a.m. A reception will follow. Paape will lead the service Sept. 22 and welcome two dozen new members to the congregation. There will be a reception for the new members afterward.
Paape said the church is in a growth spurt and adding members is a testament to that.
The month-long celebration concludes with a worship service conducted by Pastor Eberhard Klatt, a member of St. Paul's, at 9 a.m. Sept. 29.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Anniversary services
WHEN: 10 a.m. Sept. 8; 9 a.m. Sept. 15; 9 a.m. Sept. 22; 9 a.m. Sept. 29
WHERE: St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 8080 N. 47th St., Brown Deer
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