St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
Founded in 1854
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Website
1854 FOUNDING OF "DIE DEUTSCHE EVANGELISCHE LUTHERISCHE GEMEINDE”
(The German Evangelical Lutheran Church) on October 22 under the leadership of the Reverend Christian Sans
Services were begun by Rev. C. Sans, at first in homes, then at 915 N. 2nd Street.
915 N. 2ND STREET
Congregation was organized as the German Ev. Lutheran Church on Oct. 22nd; lots were purchased as first church site for $200.00.
First church built; cost $4000.00.
First teacher called. Sunday School organized, classes in both German and English.
03 01 A NEW CHURCH
The German Evangelical Lutheran Society of this city, under the ministerial charge of Rev. Christian Sans, have taken all the initiatory steps towards putting up, during the coming season, a good substantial church, which shall be an ornament to the city and a credit to themselves. They have purchased a lot directly north of and adjoining Daniel Hall’s beautiful location, in the eastern part of the city, upon which to build and it is claimed that a pleasanter location is not to be found on the east side of the river.
The lot is 108 by 80 feet, and was purchased of Mayor Prentiss for $200. The building is to be in length 80 feet, in width 40, and 22 "between joints" in height, with a gallery of good dimensions. The cost of the house according to the plan drawn is estimated at $4000.
The timber is already being drawn in from the country. The steeple is to be constructed, not only as an ornament, but for the purpose of accommodating a town clock, should such a useful piece of machinery ever fall to the lot of our city to own.--WD
Cross Reference: John Dornfeld said to be contractor.
1856 CHURCH COMPLETED
First organ purchased at cost of $449.00.
12 02 Donation visit to Rev. Christian Sans WD
03 17 Plans for building a school house WD
11 17 Thanksgiving 1859 WD
02 09 Rev. SANS
Rev. Christian Sans and portion of the Germans, quarrel between WD
Rev. Sans accepted a call to serve St. Peter’s of Joliet, Illinois.
08 02 Rev. JOHN BADING, President of Synod, accepted the call to serve St. Mark’s (1860 - 1868)
The German Lutheran Church of this city have extended an invitation to Rev. John Bading to become their pastor, in place of Rev. C. Sans, which has been accepted. Mr. Bading will at once enter on his pastoral duties. He comes here well recommended as a clergyman of ability and sincerity, and under his ministrations we have no doubt this society will become influential and prosperous. He will meet with a warm and cordial reception, and all his efforts be cheerfully seconded by his people. WD
St. Mark’s joined the Wisconsin Synod
1863 Traveling by Pastor (and Synod President) Johannes Bading to Germany and Russia to gather funds for the establishing of Northwestern College
Rev. Bading left for Europe to gather funds for a proposed college in Watertown, returned in Nov. of 1864 with about $13,000.00.
Seminary classes initiated in St. Mark’s School, later moving to 814 N. 4th St. (1863 -1865).
Students at first lived in the Bading parsonage during his absence in Europe.
New school dedicated. First building dedicated at Northwestern “University”.
First parsonage built on Jones St., to be moved in 1914 to 606 Madison St.
Rev. Bading accepted a call to serve St. John’s in Milwaukee.
Prof. Adolph Hoenecke accepted a call as St. Mark’s pastor, but served only four months because of the press of his duties at Northwestern College.
Second classroom added in our school. Joint Reformation & Mission Festival services initiated with St. John’s.
Rev. R. Adelberg installed as pastor (1869 - 1873).
Pastor’s salary, $700, teachers’ salary $40 monthly, janitor’s $60 a year.
Prof. Ernst called as assistant pastor (1870 - 1912). Served as second president of NWC for 50 yrs.
Third class-room added in our school.
Special collection taken for victims of the great Chicago Fire.
Rev. Adelberg left to serve St. Peter’s Milwaukee, succeeded by Rev. Henrichs, who was relieved of his office in 1874.
Rev. J. Brockmann was installed as pastor, serving until 1904.
Male Chorus organized, as also the Ladies’ Aid Society.
Controversy erupted throughout the Lutheran church on the Doctrine of Election by Grace.
A small group left St. Mark’s to form St. Paul’s, which joined the Ohio synod, building a church at 309 S. 6th which existed from 1883 to 1930, when the group disbanded.
Two lots purchased for present church for $1575.00, cornerstone laid on Pentecost Sunday.
DEDICATION OF ST. MARK’S NEW LUTHERAN CHURCH
New church dedicated on Sept. 9, 1888; cost-$23, 074.77. (Architect’s fees, $91.60; bell, $844.24; altar and pulpit, $830.00.)
Building of the present church structure for slightly over twenty-three thousand dollars, and changing of name to "Die Evangelische Lutherische Sankt Markus Gemeinde (The Evangelical Lutheran Saint Mark's Congregation) of Watertown, Wisconsin"
09 14 St. Mark’s new Lutheran Church in the 2d ward was dedicated last Sunday according to the usual Lutheran ceremonies. Fully 700 strangers were here from Milwaukee, Jefferson, Columbus, Oconomowoc, Ft. Atkinson, Lowell and Juneau to take part in the services. In the morning the opening services were held in the old church presided over by Rev. J. H. Brockmann, the pastor, the dedication sermon being preached by Rev. John Bading, of Milwaukee, delivered the sermon, and in the evening, Rev. Philip von Rohr, of Winona, preached. A very large attendance was present on each occasion, and all were deeply interested in the proceedings. WG
Mixed Choir organized. Synod built seminary in Milwaukee
Fourth classroom added.
FIRST ENGLISH SERVICE CONDUCTED.
Commissioning of synod's first missionaries to work among the Apache Indians in Arizona in a service at Saint Mark's, by Rev. Ernst, then serving as the president of the Synod.
05 29 NEW BELL DONATED TO NORTHWESTERN
The 300-pound bell which occupies the belfry in the new Northwestern University building was dedicated last Wednesday afternoon, President A. F. Ernst, Prof. Notz and Rev. J. H. Brockmann leading in the ceremonies. In the evening the festivities terminated with a banquet for the students in the university dining hall. The bell was donated by the ladies’ society of St. Mark's church. It is expected that the university will soon enjoy a complete electric bell system, the same to be a gift from Prof. Weimar, of the faculty.
06 19 PICNICKING ON ISLAND
St. Mark’s Lutheran congregation are enjoying themselves today picnicking at Concordia Island. WG
ST. MARK’S INTRODUCED THE NEW SYNOD HYMNAL.
NAME OF CONGREGATION CHANGED TO “ST. MARK’S”.
08 31 St. Mark's Lutheran Church will resume the regular English services next Sunday evening at 7:30. As formerly, they will be conducted by Prof. Julius Gamm. WR
01 23 The ministers belonging to the Central Conference of the Wisconsin Lutheran Synod held a meeting in this city last Wednesday and Thursday for the discussion of doctrinal and secular matters and missionary work. Sessions were held both morning and afternoon, and Wednesday evening religious services were held at St. Mark’s church, Rev. J. Geigert of Newville, preaching the sermon. WR
Rev. Brockmann died suddenly on Jan. 20th, having served for 29 years.
Rev. J. Klingman accepted call (1904 - 1944).
St. Mark’s observed its 50th anniversary, with Rev. Bading as speaker. There were 285 families.
Rev. JULIUS KLINGMANN, Pastor
1944 The Rev. Julius Klingmann, died of a heart ailment from which he had suffered for some time. May 03
finishing touches are being put on the new St. Mark's church parsonage, which will
be ready for occupancy in a few days and into which Rev. Julius Klingmann, the pastor, and his family will move after
Christmas. The building is a credit to the congregation of St. Mark's and to
the city and has been erected on
For appearance and convenience, it is one of the best residences in the city. It is a commodious twelve-room house with all the modern conveniences, including steam heat, gas and electric lights, hot and cold water, baths and a beautiful fire place. Down stairs there are six rooms as follows: Pastor's reading rooms, library room, alcove, setting room, dining room and kitchen. The rooms are all finished in white oak and make a striking appearance. The dining room is especially pretty, being finished in painted work with burlap background.
Charles Huenfeld, the contractor, certainly did an excellent job and one that has given general satisfaction. Theodore Dobbratz has likewise shown his excellent workmanship in the interior and exterior decorations. Every room is a model of neatness and reflects much credit upon Mr. Dobbratz. The mason work was done by John Diehl and is in keeping with the balance of the work. Dec 11
St. Mark’s church used by St. John’s during its building program.
New parsonage built for $10,000 at 610 Madison; the first parsonage was moved from Jones Street to 606 Madison.
07 10 &
11 20 Decorated by A. Liebarg & Co., electric lights placed and two water fonts; Theodore Dobbratz injured in fall WG
Church renovated, lights installed; dedicated on Nov. 22nd.
07 02 Lutheran Home Corner Stone Laid; St Mark’s participation WG
02 25 Young People’s Society program WG
12 09 Children of Lutheran Home for Feeble Minded, Christmas service for WG
02 12 NEW $20,000 SCHOOL.
6-room school built for $20,000.00. Served until 1973. St. Mark’s congregation has decided to build a new $20,000 school the coming summer at the corner of Jones and North Eighth streets. The new school will be 72x80 feet, two stories high, of Watertown’s brick, trimmed with Bedford stone. The school will be equipped with everything modern, and will also contain a vacuum system for cleaning. WG
7th class-room added.
04 30 CONTRACTS FOR NEW SCHOOL BUILDING
Contracts for building the new St. Mark’s School have been let to William Hoefs, mason work; George Gruel, carpenter work; Charles David, painting and wood finishing; Charles Wittchow, heating and tin work. WG
10 15 60th ANNIVERSARY
The 60th anniversary of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church was celebrated last Sunday. Rev. Benjamin Schlueter of Markeson, formerly of this city, preached an English sermon at the evening service, in which he dwelt on the possibilities and duties of the future work of the congregation. Rev. G. E. Bergmann of Fond du Lac, president of the Missouri synod, preached the sermon at the morning services. WG
12 03 NEW SCHOOL DEDICATED
Special services in the church and at the school building will make Sunday next, the dedication day for the new parochial school of St. Mark’s church, a day long to be remembered by the members of the congregation and the public generally. Two visiting pastors, Prof. John Schaller of Wauwatosa seminary and the Rev. Henry Gieschen of Milwaukee, will be here to assist in the services. Prof. Schallen will preach at the morning service to be held at the church at 10 o’clock, and the Rev. Gieschen will preach at the afternoon service which will begin at 2:30.
Following the morning service, the congregation will repair to the new school, where the dedicatory exercises, in charge of the Rev. Julius Klingmann, pastor of St. Mark’s, will begin at about 11:15 o’clock. The afternoon service will be held in the church and at its close, the new school will be opened for the inspection of the members of the congregation and the public.
The Northwestern College band will render several sacred selections at both the morning and afternoon services and will accompany the congregational singing. The church choir and other organizations, including the school children’s chorus, will have a part in program. WG
01 14 OFFICERS OF ST. MARK’S
The board of trustees of St. Mark’s congregation met Friday evening in the board room of the new school and elected the following church officers to serve for the coming year:
President — William Gorder, Sr.
Vice President — Herman Zimmermann.
Secretary — Fred Siegler.
Treasurer — Richard Biefeld.
School board — Herman Marquardt, Emil Kaercher, Gerhard Rippe.
Relief committee — Richard Biefeld, Herman Bublitz, Frank Zastrow.
TRINITY ENGLISH LUTHERAN CONGREGATION FORMED by members of Saint Mark's who were interested in having English services
Trinity Church was organized to provide English services, held church in St. Mark’s auditorium for almost three years.
School expanded to include all 8 grades.
Weekly envelope system, quarterly statements introduced.
School closed for 6 weeks during flu epidemic.
1919 Confirmation Class
Annual budget of $14,000 adopted.
German/English Catechism introduced, also English services.
Men’s Club organized.
St. Mark’s commitment to Synod budget was $2348.19, the highest of any congregation that year.
New Austin organ installed, at cost of $12,000. Old organ given to Bethesda.
1928 Establishing a second pastoral position at Saint Mark's
1928 - Rev. William Eggert was installed as first Associate Pastor. Prof. Huth of NWC had served for 17 years in a part-time capacity. At that time membership stood at 2000 souls.
Kurt Oswald came as principal. The Choir observed its 50th anniversary.
Rev. J. Klingmann died on May 3rd at the age of 78 years.
Rev. Gerhard Redlin was installed as Associate Pastor (1948-1957).
Second parsonage purchased, at 1025 Main (sold in 1968).
Rededication of remodeled and renovated church, with new entrance, heating system, lighting. Cost, $54,237.69.
School extensively remodeled at cost of $15,796.91.
Rev. Eggert died of a heart-attack at 69 years of age. Rev. Willard Kehrbert was installed as Associate Pastor on Oct. 4 (1953 - 1955)
St. Mark’s celebrated its Centennial with year-long activities. There were at that time 1685 confirmed members, 2200 souls, 2 pastors and 8 teachers, with 300 pupils in school.
1955 PLAN TO ERECT NEW SCHOOL BUILDING
09 28 Plans for the construction of a new unit to St. Mark’s Christian Day School were announced today. Initial steps for the new school plans were taken about a year ago when St. Mark’s congregation purchased a property and since then two more, located between North Sixth and North Eighth Streets, facing north on Cady Street. These sites will be utilized as part of the general building plan. On the acquired property St. Mark’s intends to erect the first unit of a new school building. The planned unit is to have a gymnasium, four classrooms, a principal’s office and other rooms. It is planned at present to have a complete basement underneath the four classrooms and office space. This basement space is to be used for a lunchroom, kitchen, boiler-room, locker rooms, etc.
Rev. Kehrberg accepted a call to Minneapolis.
05 09 At a meeting held last night, St. Mark's Lutheran Church gave the “go ahead” signal for the construction of a new parish school to be erected on its property fronting on Cady Street. Final approval of the plan was voted. It was also disclosed that the Maas Bros. Construction Co. of Watertown has been awarded the general contract and that the plumbing and heating contract will go to the Otto Biefeld Co. while Arthur Ruesch will do the electrical work. Plans now call for construction to begin this summer. The architects are Edgar A. Stuebenrausch and Associates, Sheboygan. The new school will be one story high, with full basement and will be designed to allow future expansion when the present St. Mark's School is abandoned.
05 11 The building committee of St. Mark's Lutheran Church today called for bids for the new parochial school the congregation will construct this summer. Bids will be received up to 4 p.m. on May 7 and are to be sent to or delivered to the residence of the pastor, the Rev. Gerhard Redlin, 610 Madison Street. Theodore Guse is chairman of the committee. Bids will be received for the general work and there will also be separate bids for the following, either separately or any combination of bids: heating and ventilating, plumbing and drainage, and electrical work.
09 25 St. Mark's Lutheran congregation turned out in large numbers Sunday afternoon for the cornerstone laying ceremonies held at the parish school which is now under construction. A beautiful fall day marked the occasion. St. Mark's Church, where a brief service was held prior to the ceremony itself, was filled to capacity. The program opened with a hymn and this was followed by the pastor, the Rev. Gerhard Redlin, reading from the scriptures. The choir sang an anthem and the address of the afternoon followed. It was delivered by the Rev. K. A. Timmel of Trinity Lutheran Church.
Rev. James Fricke arrived as Associate Pastor, installed on Oct. 21st.
St. Mark’s observed Rev. Redlin’s 25th anniversary.
New School dedicated; cost about $381,000.00.
Rev. Redlin died suddenly of a heart attack on Dec 1st. at the age of 52.
Rev. Harold Wicke was installed on April 20 (1958-1969).
Lakeside Lutheran High School opened its doors at Fort Atkinson.
Our Synod severed its relationship with the Missouri Synod.
Rev. James Fricke accepted a call to serve in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
St. MARK’S SCHOOL, GRADE 1
Rev. Henry Paustian was installed as Associate Pastor on Feb. 3rd.
10 01 FACULTY MEMBERS HONORED
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church has completed plans to honor four of the faculty members of St. Mark’s School in recognition of their long years of service which they have given as Christian Day School teachers. There will be a special service in the morning and a reception in the evening. Both events will be held Sunday, Oct. 4. Henry F. Krenz, principal of St. Mark’s School, is rounding out 25 years as a Christian Day School teacher. Nine of these were spent at St. Mark’s. Miss Ruby Reich has been a member of St. Mark’s faculty for 38 years. Miss Louise Fenske came to St. Mark’s 34 years ago and Miss Ada Sievert has a record of 33 years, interrupted by teaching elsewhere.
10 29 WISCONSIN LUTHERAN CHAPEL AND STUDENT CENTER AT MADISON
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod which numbers St. Mark’s and Trinity Lutheran Churches in Watertown among its members and of which St. Luke’s Lutheran Church is an associate has made plans for the construction of the Wisconsin Lutheran chapel and student center at Madison. The Rev. Henry E. Paustian, one of the pastors of St. Mark’s Church, who serves as mission’s chairman of the synod’s western district, first made the plans known several months ago and the purchase of property for the construction has now been completed.
Henry Krentz left to serve in New Ulm, Quentin Albrecht was installed as new principal. Home purchased at 904 6th Street.
St. MARK’S SCHOOL, GRADE 7
Third English service introduced, with German Services moved to the Parish Hall.
Rev. Wicke accepted the call as Editor of the Publishing House in Milwaukee, preaching his farewell sermon on June 29th.
Rev. Myron Kell was installed as Associate Pastor on Oct. 26th.
St. MARK’S SCHOOL, GRADES 7 & 8
1971 BUILDING OF THE CHURCH NARTHEX
Dedication of renovated church on May 2nd. New narthex, toilet facilities and stairs, parents’ room, basement room, ramp. Cost of $172,000 was met in two years.
St. Mark’s observed Pastor Paustian’s 25th anniversary of ordination.
Dedication of new school addition with 10 class-rooms, church office, janitorial and storage rooms, faculty lounge, book-store. Cost $350,000.00. School enrollment, about 460.
Trinity Church moved into its new school in Jan. with 95 pupils and 3 teachers; St. Mark’s added a 12th teacher, along with a 13th part-time teacher for the new Kindergarten Room.
A teacherage was purchased at 610 Cady St.
Membership - 2000 communicants. 2600 souls.
Pastor Kell’s 25th year in the ministry was observed by St. Mark’s.
1981 THIRD PASTORAL POSITION ESTABLISHED
Rev. James Werner was installed on Nov. 29th as the 3rd Associate Pastor,
A home was rented at 313 S. Monroe to serve as a parsonage.
St. Mark’s commitment to the Synod, $105,000.00. Total budget: $514,293.00.
08 28 Rev. and Mrs. Henry Paustian honored WDT
Recognition Dinner observing Pastor Paustian’s 20 years of service at St. Mark’s Aug. 21st.
04 01 CONSTRUCTION OF PARISH CENTER STARTED
04 30 PARISH CENTER DEDICATED
Dedication of new parish center on Sunday at 2 p.m. An open house will follow from 3 to 5 p.m. Architect for the $550,000 project is Douglas J. McNamee, Fort Atkinson. General contractor is K&K Masonry of Watertown. Construction was started April 1, 1987, on the 13,400-square-foot addition which includes two levels. The center has a large modern kitchen and a 40-by-59 foot dining area to serve the needs of the congregation; two pastors’ offices for study and counseling; a 30-by-40 foot choir room and storage area; and rest rooms on both levels. WDT
08 28 FIRST NON-TEACHING ADMINISTRATOR/PRINCIPAL
Owen Dorn, a native of Hendricks, Minn., will be installed as the first non-teaching administrator/principal of St. Mark’s Christian School Sunday during the 10:45 a.m. worship service. Dorn attended school at Northwestern Lutheran Academy in Mobridge, S.D., and Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn., where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in education. He received a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. WDT
1995 Establish fourth and fifth part-time / semi-retired pastoral positions at Saint Mark's.
1997 RESTORATION OF CHURCH BUILDING
03 28 St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church has begun a $965,000 project to completely renovate the over 100-year-old church, located at Sixth and Jones streets. Don Frost, restoration committee chairman, said, "We will be touching every square inch of the building." Worship services will be held in the parish center during the restoration process, which is expected to take six months. Preliminary work under way this week includes removing the pews which will be refinished and cushions will be added. Other items from the church are being placed in storage until the project is completed. WDT
10 31 Members of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 215 N. Sixth St., will hold five special services this weekend to praise God for the restoration of their church building. Since April 1, members have been worshiping in their parish center as the entire church building was worked on. The membership had the church restored to the beauty it had at the turn of the century while adding technologically state-of-the-art lighting, sound, audio, heating and air conditioning systems. The exterior brick was cleaned and sealed. All stained glass was releaded, repaired and cleaned. Stained glass windows behind the altar were uncovered and restored. A new concrete tile roof was added. WDT
10 27 Farewell to Rev. Donald Sutton; served congregation for the past 13 years WDT
03 18 GERMAN HERITAGE
The German descent that is rooted deep within the heritage of the people in the Watertown area is not as noticeable in everyday life, but those who attend church at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church see it every Sunday and hear it twice a year. “The church didn’t begin to hold worship services in English until the 1920s and before that German was the only language used,” the Rev. Karl Walther, who inherited preaching the German services and has been doing so for the past 10 years, said. The church keeps that historical tradition alive twice a year with a service spoken in German on Christmas Eve and on Good Friday.
11 18 CHURCH CHOIR CELEBRATES 115 YEARS
St. Mark's has had musical groups in its midst since the very early days in the 1850s. For many years, the male chorus provided music for regular worship services as well as for special occasions.
In 1891 a group of individuals received permission of the minister at the time to form a chorus of mixed voices. It was a new concept for the congregation because at that time men's and women's groups were separated in almost every avenue of church work.
The first organizational meeting of the choir was held on Oct. 31, 1891, 115 years ago. Later that year, on Christmas Eve, the choir made its first public appearance. They sang “Ihr Kinderlein kommet” (”Oh Come Little Children”) during the children's Christmas service.
Since its inception, the choir has weathered depressions, wars, changes in church life and many other things associated with the past century. (WHS_005_542)
03 26 Professor/Rev. Cyril Spaude, 1930-2008. Upon retirement from Northwestern College served in WELS ministries including St. Mark's WDT
June $4.3 million school building addition and renovation project started in June 2008.
02 20 Dedication of new and renovated school building and music center; Prof Emeritus Daniel Deutschlander guest speaker WDT
08 22 Ronald Paynter installed as part-time Christian counselor WDT
03 29 German tradition continues; worship in German WDT
08 25 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF FRED UTTECH, St. Mark's Christian School administrator
A special service will be held to honor Uttech. Guest speaker will be the Rev. Bruce McKenney of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Lake Mills. Following the service a reception will be held in the St. Mark's School Commons.
Fred Uttech was born and raised in Watertown. He is a graduate of St. John's Lutheran School and the former Northwestern Prep School in Watertown. He graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee and Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn. He received Wisconsin licensure and reading license from Silver Lake College in Manitowoc. In 2010, he received a master in educational leadership from Silver Lake College.
During his 40 years of ministry he has served as a tutor and instructor at Northwestern College in Watertown. He was a teacher, youth director and pastoral assistant at Bloomington Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Minn. In 1980, he was called to be the principal and teacher at Bethany Lutheran Church in Manitowoc, where he served for 27 years. Since 2007 he has served as the school administrator for St. Mark's in Watertown. He is also serving as chairman for the program committee for the Wisconsin State Teachers' Conference and the district school coordinator for the Western Wisconsin District of the WELS.
Mr. Uttech is married to Peggy (Holzer). They have four children and eight grandchildren. WDT
12 18 GERMAN SERVICE FOR CHRISTMAS
More than 150 years of Christmas celebration in the German language will continue this month at St. Mark's at 10 a.m. Monday. This will serve as the setting for this year's German Christmas Eve service. The sermon will ask, 'Wer ist das Kind, was heute geboren ist?' ('Who Is This Child Born Today?') on the basis of John 1:14-18. German liturgy and German hymns will accompany the day's worship. The Rev. Karl Walther will officiate. WDT
01 30 WINTER MISSION FESTIVAL
St. Mark’s Watertown will be celebrating its Winter Mission Festival during services this weekend. For the festival, the church will be hosting the Rev. Timothy Dolan, the dean of students at Luther Preparatory School. The theme of Dolan’s message is “You have an important task.” He will highlight the mission of the prep school and how it helps prepare its students to share the Gospel while providing them with a top-notch education. Luther Prep School was founded 150 years ago in Watertown when it began as the prep department of Northwestern College. In 1995 the college was moved but the preparatory school remained and was combined with Martin Luther Preparatory School of Prairie du Chien.
07 24 REV. JAMES WERNER RETIREMENT
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Rev. James Werner’s ordination into the pastoral ministry on Sunday during the 9 a.m. service. This service will also serve as a farewell and retirement celebration for Werner, who retires at the end of July following 34 years of ministry at St. Mark’s.
Werner was born on April 17,1948, in Wausau, to Edward and Ruth (Ahrens) Werner. On May 2 of that same year he was received as a child of God through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Schofield. In Schofield James had the joy of sharing his childhood home with his brother, David, and sister, Joan (Alliet).
From his very first day of kindergarten, Werner went to school with his future wife, Stephanie “Stevie” Braatz, the two of them celebrating the rite of confirmation together on March 26, 1961, and then graduating together from D.C. Everest High School in the spring of 1966. On June 10, 1972, they were united in Christian marriage at their home congregation.
In 1981 Werner was called to serve as associate and youth pastor at St. Mark’s, marking the first time the congregation would have a third full-time pastor. In 1985 his focus became outreach and for the past 20 years he has served as the congregation’s coordinating pastor. In addition to his service at St. Mark’s, he has served the greater community through work on various groups including the board for Crossroads House and the Watertown Cable Committee.
The Werners have two children and three grandchildren.
___________________ WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE ALL THIS? ___________________
Dear Members and Friends of St. Mark’s,
My wife, Stevie, and I along with our children, Heather and Matt, were overwhelmed with the show of appreciation and thanks that you showed to us as I celebrated my 40th anniversary in the ministry and my retirement from my call at St. Mark’s. We wish to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the kindness, gifts and words of thanks that you have given to us on this occasion.
It has been a privilege and joy to serve the saints at St. Mark’s for the past 34 years with the good news of Jesus our Savior. I thank my Savior Jesus for the opportunity he gave me to serve you here. I also thank you for being patient, understanding and supportive of me.
I pray that the Lord will continue to bless our congregation as we continue to carry on the mission that Jesus has given to each of us, his chosen saints, to be his witnesses in this dark world and to help one another to grow in our faith life.
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Jim Werner
08 06 REV. JAMES BACKUS INSTALLED
Backus will service as the school and youth pastor.
Backus and his family moved to Watertown from Adrian, Mich. He and his wife, Jessica, have seven children, Abel, 12; Annemarie, 11; Elizabeth, 9; Mary, 8; Micaiah, 6; Judah, 4 and Justus, 2. They are also expecting another child in late January. Backus and his wife consider their children to be a blessing second only to Christ himself.
Backus was born to Rev. Andrew and Dee (Rusch) Backus on April 14, 1976, in Stillwater, Minn. On May 2, 1976, he was received as a child of God through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Stillwater. With a change of ministry for his father, he spent his grade school years studying God’s Word at Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Johnson, Minn. and on May 19, 1991, confessed his spirit-given faith in Christ in the Rite of Confirmation. In May of 1995, he graduated from Martin Luther High School, Prairie du Chien. Backus and his wife, Jessica (Schmidt) met and married during their college years. They were united in Christ on Aug. 6, 2000, at Jessica’s home congregation, St. Matthew’s Lutheran in Oconomowoc. In May 2001 he graduated from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. and later served his pastoral internship at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Brookings, S.D. Graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary of Mequon on May 26, 2006, he received his first pastoral assignment to St. John’s Lutheran Church, Florence, where he served until October of 2010. Since 2010 he has served as associate pastor at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Adrian. In April of this year, Backus accepted Christ’s call to serve at St. Mark’s. In addition to his general pastoral duties of preaching, teaching and visitation, he will serve as the congregation’s education and youth pastor. In his educational role he will serve the children, parents and faculty of St. Mark’s School. As youth pastor he will serve as an adviser to the congregation’s numerous youth ministry.
09 25 Rev. CHARLES ILES, 40th ANNIVERSARY
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of Watertown will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ministry of the Rev. Charles Iles. The service will include the fifth- and sixth-graders of St. Mark’s School singing “I Will Serve the Lord” by Janine Swain.
Iles was born to Elton and Lela (Crouch) Iles on Nov. 1, 1948, in Rock Island, Ill., and was baptized 13 days later at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Rock Island. Following a move to Michigan, he attended grade school in rural Gratiot County, Vestaburg, Mich., and Merrill, Mich. Having grown in his knowledge and trust of Christ, he publicly confessed his faith in the Rite of Confirmation on April 7, 1963, at Zion Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mich. Iles is a 1966 high school graduate of Michigan Lutheran Seminary, Saginaw, Mich. He is a 1970 graduate of Northwestern College of Watertown and a 1975 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary of Mequon. He served his pastoral internship from 1974-75 at St. John Lutheran Church of Westland, Mich. Upon graduation from the seminary, Iles was assigned to serve two congregations in South Dakota, Zion Lutheran Church of Colome and Faith of Platte. In 1980 he accepted a call to serve Mt. Olive of Tulsa, Okla. From 1983 to 1985 he served Peace Lutheran of Cape Girardeau, Mo. He then moved to Wisconsin where he served St. John Lutheran of rural Waterloo and Immanuel of rural Marshall for the 15 fifteen years. During this time he also served as a part-time instructor at Lakeside Lutheran High School of Lake Mills. In May of 2000 Iles accepted a call to serve as a chaplain with Wisconsin Lutheran Institutional Ministries where he currently works with prison inmates. Since joining St. Mark’s in 2000 he has also has served the congregation as a Bible study instructor, adviser to a care group, chairman of our Board of Pastoral Ministry and congregational chairman.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin