Our Church's History

  Our Church's History  
The founders of St. Matthew's came from Germany and settled in the valley east of what is now Stoddard.  These early pioneers gathered in homes of neighbors to discuss the establishment of a congregation.  A 25' x 20' white frame building on the William Wehling farm and a cemetery was plotted in 1869.

On January 27, 1870, a congregational meeting was called.  At this meeting a constitution was adopted and the new congregation became known as the German Evangelical Lutheran St. Matthew's Congregation in Town Bergen, Vernon County, Wisconsin.  The first president and pastor of this congregation was Pastor H. Kittle of La Crosse.  This small congregation continued to grow and, in 1897, a new house of worship was built on Main Street in Stoddard as shown in the photos here.  The church park and parsonage were purchased in the early 1920s.  I.M. Brachebusch was our first resident pastor.  He was installed in 1923 to serve St. Matthew's.  Before this time the congregation shared pastors with the congregations of Hamburg and Chaseburg.  On August 16, 1970, we celebrated our centennial.

From July of 1974 until May of 1979 we supported Mr. David Enter at Mt. Calvary Lutheran School in La Crosse.  On October 8, 1978, we voted to build and operate our  own school and to construct a new church building.  Building of the new structure began in Novemeber of 1978 and was completed in July of 1979.  Mr. Enter was our principal; Mrs. Barbara Seidl was called in August of 1979; and Miss Mary Brinkman joined us in the fall of 1980 from Chaseburg.

First services were held in our new church on July 29, 1979, with dedication services being held on September 16, 1979.  The bell tower was dedicated on December 25, 1979.

During our 150 years we have had 17 servants of the Lord preaching the Gospel and administering the sacrament to us.  Their names along with years served are as follows:                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
H. Kittel 1870
W. Haas 1870 - 1871
R. Baartz 1871 - 1874
J. Kuchmann 1874 - 1880
O. Oerding 1880 - 1891
E.H. Palechek 1891 - 1923
I.M. Brachebusch 1923 - 1932
H.E. Bentrup 1932 - 1940
F. Schroeder
1940 - 1945
O. Engel 1946 - 1950
G. Kionka 1950 - 1956
J. Schaller 1956 - 1959
N. Gieschen 1960 - 1967
R. Berg 1967 - 1972
J.D. Liggett 1972 - 1982
R.W. Kloehn 1983 - 1998
J. Krueger 1998 - 2009
G.P. Arnold 2009 - 2015
Silas Schmitzer 2015