St. John’s Lutheran Church, Mountville to celebrate 150 years


The bell at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Mountville, rural Gaylord has called people to worship for 150 years.

The congregation will celebrate 150 years of God’s blessings on Sunday, August 8. The 9 a.m. worship service will feature a sermon by Lutheran Hour speaker, the Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus.

Rose (Koch) Schillalies of Ruidoso, New Mexico, daughter of former Pastor Paul Koch, will serve as guest organist.

A catered dinner will be served at 11 a.m. Reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults. Checks should be written out to and sent to St. John’s Lutheran Church before July 30. Tickets can also be purchased at the event.

The afternoon service will be held at 1:30 p.m. The Rev. Wayne Bernau, counselor for the Arlington circuit, will speak. Former pastors and families of former pastors will share memories. Refreshments will be served.

Pictures of confirmands, old Bibles, books and tools of the time, and a history of the former Mountville village will be displayed.

Minnesota had received statehood in 1858, when St. John’s came into being. In the summer of 1860, Pastor P. Rupprecht of Arlington Township looked up Lutheran settlers in the area to conduct services in their homes. Many of the pioneer settler were German speaking, Pomeranian families who had left their native Prussia or Germany to come to America.

Pastor Winter of Arlington Township followed serving as an itinerant pastor in Dryden Township. The efforts of the two pastors resulted in the organization of St. John’s congregation, originally known as the Lutheran Church of Dryden.

The congregation built its first log chapel (Blockkirche) in the spring os 1863. A parsonage was built two years later. 24 of the pioneer members purchased four acres of land from Ludwig Borchert in the southwest quarter of section 7, Dryden Township. More property was acquired over the years, resulting in 9.4 acres by 1909. This presently houses the church, parsonage, grounds and cemetery.

Almost simultaneously with the formation of the church, a community named Mountville sprang up in the adjoining Transit Township. The little community had a creamery or skimming station, a blacksmith shop, general store, post office, and a catholic church and Lutheran school. It might have boomed into a thriving city, but with the loss of the railroad station, it faded into a ghost town. The name of Mountville attached itself to the church, which today is still called St. John’s Lutheran Church of Mountville, which is located five miles northwest of Gaylord.

Due to increased membership. a frame building was erected in 1869, and in 1892, construction of the present brick church was begun and dedicated May 28, 1893.

The present parsonage was built in 1901. In 1912, a new pipe organ was purchased and it continues to serve the congregation. In 1992 the pipe organ was restored.

Through the years, 17 pastors have served St. John’s. Harold Storm currently serves as pastor.