Church History

History of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church & School

 

  Part 1 - 1964 to 1989 (adapted from a compilation by Mary Payne)

 

The Beginnings - The Mother Church and its Daughter


In the year of 1963 at the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America disagreements regarding doctrine caused a discontinuance in fellowship between the Wisconsin and Missouri Lutheran Synods.

 

The Adolph Pomazals family, prominent members of the St, Paul's Lutheran Church (WELS) in East Troy, Wisconsin, were faced with a decision as a result of their daughter and son-in-law, whom were active leaders in the Boy and Girl Scouts. They would have to choose between their involvement in the scouts or the church. They chose to begin worshiping at St. Peter's Church (LCMS) in Waterford, Wisconsin and found many other East Troy families also worshipping there. The preparations for starting a Missouri Synod Church in East Troy were not far in the future. With the help of St. Peter's Pastor Mueller, several meetings were held with the East Troy families.

 

Adolph Pomazal and Martin Fickau approached the mission board but were turned down. Mr. Pomazal and Mr. Fickau stressed the importance of the freeway system coming through East Troy but their pleas did no good. The mission board was convinced that prospects in East Troy were poor. 

 

St. Peter's in Waterford had just finished celebrating their 100th Anniversary in 1963 and had recently remodeled their church. There were many spare items that were not being used after the remodel such as the altar, lecturn, alterware. etc. Pomazal and Fickau were also aware of a place in East Troy that could be purchased to start a church. As if the timing was right the leadership at St. Peters were looking for a special project and the idea of starting a daughter church in East Troy was ideal. The East Troy Missouri Synod church beacme St. Peter's 100th Anniversary project.


The Birth of Good Shepherd

  

On January 27, 1964 an organizational meeting was held and they discussed the need for a Missouri Synod Church in East Troy and the opportunity to purchase the Helser Funeral Home located at 3037 West Main Street in East Troy. All present were in favor to meet with the GSL 1trustees and officers of St. Peters Trust Fund. Later, on February 2, 1964 they met at the Helser Funeral Home to view the property. At another meeting that day the organizers were all in favor to purchase the property for $14,000. The heat was first turned on in the building on February 23rd and March 1st of 1964 for a 2:00 to 5:00 PM open house for the St. Peter's congregation members, especially for those residing in East Troy.

 

A special meeting was called on April 13, 1964. Ideas were exchanged and a progress report was given. It was decided that a lay assistant (Vicar) would be called and St. Peters would provide him for one year. Joseph & Vivian Patanella were called and he and his wife would live in a residence above the church.

 

Sunday July 19, 1964, in the afternoon the first worship service was held with Pastor Wallschlaeger, of Racine, officiating. Prior to this service they held a voters meeting, adopting a skeleton constitution. At that time Pastor Mueller brought transfers for all the families coming from St. Peters. Joseph Patanella also assisted in the service. He made many calls to families throughout the community inviting people to come, worship and join in fellowship.

 

Pastor Mueller and Rev. Richard Benke, Head of the Religion Department in Racine Lutheran High School, would then alternate Sundays. Pastor Mueller would be present on Communion Sundays while Richard Benke would take his place at St. Peters in Waterford. Pastor Mueller noted that "there would always be a sermon in the drawer, providing neither one could make the service because of the weather." 

 

In the beginning the congregation was small. In less than one year the congregation attained 64 communicant members and 38 children, a total of 102 baptised souls. A Mary Martha Guild was formed and most of the women of the congregation were members.

 

June 20, 1965 was organizational Sunday. Later a 1PM business meeting began with Rev. Bernard O. Raabe, Executive Secretary of the Mission Board, officiating. The Church was named on this day. Each member would write the name of their choice on paper, the the most repeated entry was voted on, and "Good Shepherd" became the name which we are still known by to this day.

 

Good Shepherd was then turned over to the mission board at its next meeting. The mission board was receiving the largest mission congregation ever. A call was then placed for the first Pastor and Pastor Mueller presented Good Shepherd with a record book and altar books as a gift from St. Peters, the mother church.


A Call for the Shepherd of the Flock

 

Several calls were made for a Pastor. And finally a call was placed to one that recently graduated form seminary. Kermit Walk accepted the call on May 8, 1966 and became the first Pastor of Good Shepherd on his installation date of July 10, 1966.

 

GSL 2The church began a children's choir and robes were made by several mothers. An adult choir was also started as there were many members who wished to share their voices. The organist, Theo Ries, was hard of hearing and wearing a hearing aid, found it impossible to play the organ and also direct the choir.

 

People seemed to want to be together and dinner fellowships were common. Good Shepherd was a caring, friendly and outreaching congregation. An attribute that everyone valued and wished never to lose.




Second Pastor and a New Place for Worship

 

GSL 3Pastor Kermit Walk left on August 27, 1967. Accepting the call as the next Pastor was Rev. Donald Cherney who was installed on January 28, 1968. The church grew rapidly and the congregation began looking to remodel or build at another location. Acerage was sought at the west side of East Troy, from land owned by William Blank. Mr. Blank was willing to sell land at a price of $2,500 per acre and a decision was made to buy 8 acres for $20,000. The sale was completed on July 17, 1968 and on October 27, 1968 a ground breaking ceremony took place for our new church.

 

Meanwhile, the old Heiser Funeral Home was sold for $18,000. The Mother church, St. Peters, kept the original $14,000 paid for the location which left $4,000 in remaining funds that contributed towards the new building fund.

 

Dedication service for the new church building took place on July 27, 1969 with Pastor Cherney officiating.

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The Beginning Years & Growing of the Christian School

 

At a congregational meeting that took place on October 19, 1980 a committee recommended starting a nursery & kindergarden school. The congregation was in favor and a Christian school was soon to opened at Good Shepherd. The first teacher was called for the Preschool and Kindergarden and was installed to service on August 30, 1981.

 

In 1982 there was a need for a 1st grade teacher. The teacher was called and installed on August 15, 1982. In the following year another school grade level was added.

 

Then on July 30, 1983 the congregation voted and approved to proceed with the expansion of the school at at a cost of $110,000. The gound breaking for the new school addition took place on May 17,1984.

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The Board of Christian Day School saw the need for a Principal and teacher for the third grade level. Principal Grasmick accepted the call and was installed on July 29, 1984. A fourth grade was soon added to to his duties after the need arose. A new preschool teacher, joined the staff of Good Shepherd in 1984.

 

 



Part 2 - 1989 to 2014 (adapted from a compilation by Alayne Bartelt)

 

Rev. Duane Goetsch resigned from the ministry in June 1989 and once again, Rev. Martin Mueller of Waterford, was willing to serve Good Shepherd. He offered to assume the temporary role of vacancy pastor after recently retiring from his full time ministry at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Waterford, Wisconsin. Pastor Mueller played a vital role in establishing Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in 1964.


During the early months of 1988, the Good Shepherd congregation recognized the need for a fellowship hall. Since both the church and the school were showing significant growth, the plans included a greatly expanded kitchen area and multi-purpose room for use by the school and the congregation. Fund raising and design began in April 1988 and by June 1989 the design had been completed, permits secured, and enough money had been raised to construct and enclose the basic structure.


On August 6, 1989 moving "Forward in Faith," the congregation held a ground breaking service for the fellowship hall. With a majority of the labor being furnished by the members of the congregation, excavation began immediately. By November 1989 the basis structure was fully enclosed and ready to withstand the upcoming winter weather conditions. Due to lack of funding to continue the work, the project remained on hold for the next few years.


As construction commenced on the fellowship hall Pastor Mueller guided the congregation in extending a call to Rev. Clark Davis to be the next pastor. Pastor Davis was installed on December 3, 1989. The school ministry continued to grow under the leadership of Principal Dennis Grasmick and four other teachers.


In the early 90's the congreagtion struggled with declining membership and the school enrollment also decreased. Principal Grasmick accepted a call to another school in the fall of 1991. The school had no Principlal during the 1991-1992 school year. In September 1992 Principal J. Kroll was installed. A child care program was started in Septemebr 1993.


In the fall of 1994 it was necessary to reduce the school to preschool and kindergarten classes only.

 

On November 20, 1994 Pastor Clark Davis accepted a call at another congregation. Accepting the call as the next pastor was Rev. Alan Hafner and he was installed on May 28, 1995. A parsonage located on Superior Avenue in the Village of East Troy was purchased on November 1, 1995 and dedicated on December 10,1995.


By May 1996 enough money was raised to continue work on the fellowship hall. Numerous members of the congregation began working evenings and Saturdays for the next three years. The entire hall and kitchen were completed and dedicated on April 11, 1999.


The school added first and second grade classes in Septemebr 1996.


In August 1997 Principal K. Sattler accepted the call to serve as principal and teacher of the third grade. During the following years, the school grew and teachers were added. Mr. Sattler added an outdoor education program for the 3rd through 6th grade students, the office area was remodeled to provide a principal's office and a larger secretary's office and work area. A new playgroung was installed in the fall of 1999.


On November 16, 1997 Pastor Alan Hafner accepted another call. The church called Pastor Philip Vangen, who was installed on August 23, 1998. There was a need for a larger church and school building and in November 1999 a proposal for renovation of and additions to the church and school building was adopted. Known as "In Faith We Grow," this project cost GSL 6$1,161,437. Members pledged $885,133 and groundbreaking took place on June 4, 2000. The architect and project supervisor were David Miller and James Filer with the Anderson-Ashton Company.  During the design stages of the renovation and additions, the congregation discussed a need for more daylight at the east end of the chancel, directly above the altar area. At the start of construction, it was discovered that the east wall had developed some leaks over time, and would need considerable tuck pointing, rebuilding, and sealing. The large shepherd's cross would have to be taken down temporarily. This would be a perfect time to install a large stained glass window. Due to the substantial cost of a large stained glass window, a call went out to the congregation to help finance this project. Very shortly, the Robert Gitzlaff family came forward to make the window a memorial gift in honor of Bob who had passed away the year before. At that time, his daughter, a member of Good Shepherd, was working for a group of retired Catholic priests and monks residing at Divine Word Seminary and Residence on Lake Beulah in the Town of East Troy. When his daughther shared the family's intentions with them, Brother Ray Albers informed Wendy that GSL 7constructing stained glass windows had been his hobby for a number of years. The church elders invited Brother Albers to enter the bidding process. He and Father Ray Wiesenberger, a master craftsman in the wood shop, submitted a bid of $1,100.00 for the window, along with wood frame and trim, both inside and outside. Congregation members worked closely with Brother Albers throughout the design process, including glass selection for color and texture. On May, 1, 2001, the stained glass window featuring Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was installed above the altar and the refurbished original shepherd's cross was hung slightly to the right.


Additions and renovations to the church and school building included additional seating, an enlarged narthex, an enlarged balcony, new heating and air conditioning, redecorating, new chancel furniture, pews, and communion railings, a new office suite, four new classrooms, an enlarged day care center, and an outdoor playground. Principal Sattler crafted crosses from the old communion railings and sold these to raise funds for the school. In November of 2000, the first classes were held in the new classrooms. The school enrollment at that time was 91 children in preschool through sixth grade.


GSL 8


On April 8, 2001, Palm Sunday, the first worship services were held in the newly renovated church. On May 6, 2001, a special service of Dedication and Thanksgiving was conducted. The Rev. Dr. Ronald Meyer, President of the South Wisconsin District of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, preached the sermon and performed the Rite of Dedication. The Lutheran School Choir and the Adult Choir led the congregation in worship accompanied by organist Rena Pett.


The new organ for the renovated and enlarged church building was installed later in 2001 at a cost of $74,550.00. On November 11, 2001, an organ dedication service was held featuring a recital by Dr. John Behnke of Concordia University — Wisconsin. The Schlicker Organ Company of Buffalo, New York built the organ which was purchased from the Peter Wieland Organ Company. Some of the pipe work for the new organ came from the retired Wangerin organ. The old pipes were repaired and re-scaled to produce the proper tonal results. With the addition of new pipes, the new organ has 13 ranks totaling 708 pipes. There are 52 stops. It has a solid state switching system and combination action. The organ swell box, located in the balcony, houses the pipes, wind chests, blower, and other control and electronic equipment. The swell box was built on-site by Pastor Vangen and other congregation members. The organ has a 2 manual and pedal all-electric detached console. Mrs. Pett, currently serving as organist since December, 1982, suggested the console be on wheels enabling it to be moved for ensemble performances.


During the next few years, congregation members made new banners for the chancel to add beauty and meaning to worship services. Banner designs were taken from a church banner pattern book. Pieces of various brightly colored fabrics were applied to a linen fabric background. There are two banners of each color corresponding to a season in the church year: blue (advent); white (Christmas); purple (lent); white (Easter); red (Pentecost); green (Sundays after Epiphany and Sundays after Pentecost); and white (weddings).


On January 1, 2003, Ms. Saltzmann began serving as Parish Nurse. She visited shut-ins and the homebound. Her responsibilities to the congregation included health education, counseling, and health screenings, such as blood pressure checks after church services. She also recruited and coordinated volunteers to perform a range of supportive services, such as, but not limited to, sending cards or knitting prayer shawls for those experiencing a loss or crisis in their lives. For those requiring health care or social services beyond the ability of the congregation to provide, she was knowledgeable in giving community referral. 


On August 1, 2003, Ms. Miller began serving as Youth Ministry Coordinator. She organized and supervised various youth spiritual growth, service, and fellowship activities, such as, but not limited to, attending Lutheran Church Youth Conferences and a mission trip to Alaska. The congregation called her to be the Lay Minister for Youth and she was installed on March 13, 2005.


On September 30, 2003, Pastor Philip Vangen accepted a call and was given a peaceful release by the congregation. Pastor Maurice W. Lind began serving as vacancy pastor in 2003. The congregation extended a call to Pastor Lind and he was installed on March 21, 2004.


On June 6, 2006, a new constitution was approved by the voter's assembly. As written in this constitution, the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church mission statement reads as follows:

The purpose of our congregation is to lead people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, and into a life that reflects Him.


Congregation members use their talents in many and varied ministries, too numerous to mention all, but here are a few examples. Just as in the early years of the congregation, the Mary Martha Guild continues to engage all members of the congregation in church and community charitable work, fellowship, and fund raising. However, sometimes the manner of organizing and delivering these services is very different from fifty years ago. In the early years of the church, many people would bring a covered dish to someone dealing with loss or illness. Members continue to do this, but in recent years,organizing the delivery of those covered dishes to provide timely and different meals when most needed.

 

 

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Pastors, 1966 —2018

Rev. Kermit Walk        06/12/1966    to    08/27/1967

Rev. Donald Cherney  01/28/1968   to    1970

Rev. David Raetz         05/02/1971   to    1975

Rev. Thomas Klasen    08/10/1975   to    1978                         

Rev. Duane Goetsch   10/28/1979    to   06/1989                 

Rev. Clark Davis         12/03/1989     to  11/20/1994   

Rev. Alan Hafner        05//28/1995    to   11/16/1997

Rev. Philip Vangen      08/23/1998    to    09/30/2003

Rev. Maurice Lind       03/21/2004    to   09/2017

Rev. Timothy Prince       09/2017    to     Present

© 2018 Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
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