iN mEMORIUM OF
jOANN SHORE bUTLER LEWIS 1931 - 2000
aLVINA BRASE STORK 1905 - 2000
Picture taken June 4, 2001
ROSS & DARLENE (SCHEEL) MAY
LONNIE FLORENTIN & SHARON SCHEID
Made possible by the following contributors:
|Russell & Wilma Arnett||William McGinnis & Family|
|Olan & Helen Clevenger||David & Helen Morris|
|John Fiene||Russell & Donna Morris|
|Lonnie Florentin||Robert & Ann Nispel|
|Bill Foster||Stan & Sue Nispel|
|Dan & Helen Gerberding||Dale & Marla Pearce|
|Rose Gerberding||Betty Ray|
|Roy Gerberding||Sharon Scheid|
|Bob Graves & Family||Anna Shellhammer|
|Don & Ella Hamill||Alvin Shellhammer|
|David Klapp||Dean & Lois Shellhammer|
|Pete & Marion (Fiene) Klapp||Jim & Vickie Shellhammer|
(In Memory of Her Parents)
|John & Priscilla Shellhammer|
|Henry & Anne Kollmorgen & Family||Larry & Janice Shellhammer|
|Leonard & Linda Lockwood||Richard Shellhammer|
|Winifred Love||Gaylord & Kathryn J. Smith|
|Ross & Darlene May & Family||Roy & Violet Stein|
|Sharit (Kollmorgen) McGinnis||Alvina Stork|
Brad & Doris Warren
In the years 1909 and 1910, eight families came to this community from Jansen, Nebraska, where they were affiliated with the St. Paul's Evangelical church, familiarly known as Cub Creek.
For two years a number of our people attended the Reform church at Bluff City, Kansas, because there was no church of their faith here. Several of our members were baptized and confirmed there.
These Evangelical people were interested in their church, and they wanted, and felt the need of organizing a congregation here. In 1912 they invited the Rev. Wm. Fischer, their former pastor of Cub Creek, to come here and hold a service. Services were held June 23, 1912, at the old location of the Garfield rural school, where definite plans were made to organize a congregation, and a copy of the constitution from the Cub Creek church was secured.
The congregation was organized under the leadership of the Rev. Wm. Fischer. There being no pastor here, the constitution was not officially adopted until Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, when it was arranged to have the Rev. A. Walton of Oklahoma City Oklahoma, come here to conduct the Easter service. This meeting was held in the Singer school house.
Our charter members were: Mr. & Mrs. D. Gerberding; -- Mr. & Mrs. John (Sophia Kollmorgen) Scheel Sr.; -- Mr. & Mrs. Christian Brase; -- Mr. & Mrs. Henry (Dora Scheel) Gerberding; -- Mr. & Mrs. Conrad (Sophia Brase) Scheel; -- Mr. & Mrs. Fred H. Fiene; -- Mr. & Mrs. Louis (Sophia Scheel) Gerberding; -- Mr. & Mrs. Fred Brase; -- Mr. & Mrs. W. J. (Mollie Scheel) Gerberding; -- Mr. & Mrs. (Marie Heidelk) John Bond; -- John Scheel Jr.; -- Henry Scheel; -- Fred Scheel; -- Minnie (Scheel) Joyner; -- William Brase; -- Minnie Brase; -- Tillie Brase; -- Chris Brase; -- Mary (Brase) Croft; Fred Gerberding; -- D. C. Gerberding; -- Mary (Gerberding) Shellhammer.
May 1, 1913, the Rev. A. Walton of Oklahoma City, Okla., held another service here and at this time the first "Vorstehers" were elected. They were: Louis Gerberding, president; Fred H. Fiene, secretary; and Henry Gerberding, treasurer.
The Rev. P. W. Brink became the pastor of our congregation in the fall of 1913, he being the first pastor and serving us for nine years. He was also affiliated with Hardtner, Kansas, and Tangler, Okla., serving each place every three weeks.
We felt the need of a House of Worship , and in the fall of 1916, under the leadership of the Rev. P. W. Brink, we started on our building. Previous to this, our meeting were held in the Singer school house.
The ground site of our building was a gift of Mr. D. Gerberding. The main carpenter was Conrad Scheel, assisted by John Scheel and John Bond. The remainder of the work was donated by our members.
Our building was completed in the spring of 1917, dedicatory services were held April 15, 1917. All day services were held and the services were conducted by the Rev. P. W. Brink and the Rev. A. F. Walton.
In 1918 Tangler, Oklahoma, was no longer connected with us, and now Hardtner and Bluff City were being served every two weeks.
Previous to 1918, all our services had been in the German language. We now started having some English services, at first every other service, later, one German every third service, then just occasionally, until now we have all English services. In 1931, we translated our constitution from German language to the English and amended our constitution so our services may be in either German or English.
After the long pastorate of the Rev. P. W. Brink, the congregation was vacant and was served by visiting pastors occasionally. The Rev. A. W. Hoelscher came here to serve his first pastorate in August, 1923 and served us every two weeks until March 1925,. During this time Hardtner decided to have a full time pastor and action was taken to that effect.
Our relations with Hardtner being severed when they secured a full time pastor, we became affiliated with Enid, Oklahoma, in the fall of 1925. We were served by Rev. Fred Nisi until in the summer of 1927. For a few months we had services every other Sunday, both morning and evening. It became impossible for him to continue to come for morning services and we resorted to having evening services only, every two weeks.
Bluff City was glad to affiliate again with the Hardtner congregation in the fall of 1927, when the rev. A. F. Werner became our pastor.
We soon saw that we could no longer follow our German constitution and that a number of changes were needed. It was under the leadership of the rev. A. F. Werner that a meeting of the congregation was called. January 18, 1931, and it was voted to translate the constitution into the English language, incorporated a number of amendments.
In 1940 the Evangelical and the Reformed Church merged. At this time the church was called the Evangelical and Reformed Church. Rev. Werner served this congregation until 1947.
In the year of 1948 the members decided to re-enforce the building. The roof was lowered and an addition to the east side was made and the interior was completely redecorated. All labor was donated by members. The main carpenters were met by generous donations from members and friends from neighboring churches. The dedication services for our newly rebuilt church were conducted by the Rev. P. W. Brink of Okeene, Okla., and Rev. Bonny from the Congregational Church of Anthony, Kansas.
In 1949 we again became affiliated with Hardtner and Rev. Carl Ringer began serving our congregation. We had evening preaching services each first, third and fifth Sundays and Hardtner had services every Sunday morning. In the fall of 1961 an agreement was made with Hardtner to make it possible for each congregation to have morning preaching services -- Bluff City, second and fourth Sundays of each month; and Hardtner, first, third and fifth Sundays. We express our sincere gratitude to St. John's members for this arrangement.
Our present membership is approximately 60. The government of our church is administered by a council of three members and our pastor. Our present council members are: Arthur Joyner, president; Houghton Shellhammer, secretary; and Walter Sevier, treasurer. Others who have served as council members at various times during these 50 years were: Louis Gerberding, Henry Gerberding, Fred Fiene, Will Shellhammer, John Scheel, W. J. Gerberding, D. C. Gerberding, Conrad Scheel, Henry Gerberding, Alvin Scheel and Fred Stein.
FOR THE RECORDS:
Rev. Paul Brink Directed the ground breaking ceremony before we began building our House of Worship. Although ill health hardly permitted, Mrs. D. ( Aunt Doris ) Gerberding had the honor of breaking the first ground. She was a pioneer motor and one of her last wishes was to see the church of her belief established in this community.
The following rites were performed in our sanctuary:
The first funeral: Mrs. D. Gerberding
The first infant baptized: Mrs. H. (Ida Scheel) Shellhammer
The first wedding: In the early days most weddings were held in family homes, because of the small seating capacity of the church. Thus the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Houghton Shellhammer (Ida Scheel) goes on record as the first church wedding.
Storms damaged our building three times since its erection, fortunately never in a very serious manner.
According to church books, the following are on record:
82 Infant Baptisms, 19 Adult Baptisms, 31 Weddings, 32 Funerals, 89 Confirmations
P. W. Brink 1913-22; A. W. Hoelscher 1923-25; Fred Nisi 1925-27; A. F. Werner 1927-47 (Bern, KS); Carl Ringer1949--
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