A Brief History of the Church
St. John congregation was founded September 1, 1852 - we just celebrated our 170th Anniversary in 2022. A number of people who lived in Darke County, originally from Germany, desired to have their own church home. They held services in various homes until a small log church could be built.
The first church, built in 1854, was a log church measuring 35 feet by 60 feet constructed from the trees on the property. The site of the first church was across the road from where the
present church now stands.
In 1876, under the leadership of Pastor Althoff, the new church was built with the marking stone being laid on July 2, 1876. This building was fronted by a steeple extending one hundred and twenty feet above the ground.
On July 21, 1935, a ground breaking ceremony was held for a new Sunday School room addition. Dedication for the new addition was held on Easter Sunday, April 12, 1936.
May 12, 1969, we broke ground for the construction of the Education Building and renovation of the church. During this renovation the sanctuary was turned facing the opposite direction.
We have always known that all of life's activities should be centered around the
church. Our church and its facilities are landmarks and much more.
Our church steeple is 120 feet high with a gold cross on top. It is truly a landmark. The bell in this steeple calls out in welcome to the people. In early times, when a member died, the bell was tolled at 6:00 p.m. each evening the same number as the age of the deceased until after the funeral.
On November 2, 1990 St. John purchased 30.88 acres of land adjoining our present
building site to the north side of the church and cemetery grounds. St. John has used part of its churchyard for burials since the earliest days.
On October 31, 2010 the congregation voted to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America due to doctrinal and theological issues. At the same time the congregation voted to affiliate with a newly formed denomination, the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).
We are proud of our Lutheran heritage and our church's history, and are grateful for the way the Lord has sustained us throughout the years. We look with anticipation to where God might be calling us as a congregation next. At St. John our mission statement is "Growing in grace. Living by faith. Serving with love." We hope that you consider giving us a visit to learn more about us and to join us in worshiping our Lord.
If you or your family have documents of historical interest you would like to share with the church or you would like to learn more about our history or our church historical-records, please contact the church office.