Our Church's History
The congregation of St. Peter was formed by a group of German immigrants in 1861, and it was these fifteen families who formally established the congregation to preach and teach the Gospel in 1862. The German language was used in the Worship Service until World War I. The congregation's property has always been located in the second block of south Michigan Street. The first church structure was built in 1871 and served the congregation until 1960, when a new church, the one we are presently in, was constructed.
The congregation was originally part of the old Iowa Synod, but left the Synod for Doctrinal reasons in 1875. St. Peter then joined the Wisconsin Synod, a relationship that was broken by the Synod in 1927. From 1927 until 1959, when it affiliated with The Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Peter remained an independent Lutheran congregation. In 1960, The Evangelical Lutheran Church merged with three other Synods to form The American Lutheran Church, of which we have been a part, and in 1988, the ALC, along with the LCA and the AELC, joined together to become the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
History of the ELCA
Beginning January 1, 1988, these churches, with shared beliefs and missions, officially formed the ELCA. Two decades later, this energized church is composed of 4.8 million members and nearly 10,500 congregations across the U.S. and Caribbean. Today, the ELCA reflects the rich and diverse heritage of the people it serves. But to understand our heritage fully, one must trace our roots back through the mid-17th century, when early Lutherans came to America from Europe, settling in the Virgin Islands and the area that is now known as New York. Even before that, Martin Luther sought reform for the church in the 16th century, laying the framework for our beliefs.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was formed over 20 years ago. This new church was formed from three separate and well-established North American church bodies: