Reformation Seminar

How can I find acceptance with God?

Are religious beliefs worth dying for?

Where does faith come from?


This is What You Will Find Among Us: 

The Bible preached as what it is 

-- the living Word of the living God; not the preaching of social, political, theological or ethical opinions of men.

Different people view going to church in different ways... 


There are some who wouldn't miss church on Sunday morning for the world, even if they have to drive a long way to get there. On the other hand, there are some who seldom come, even though they live right around the corner from their church. Then there are also those in every congregation who seem to show up only at Christmas and Easter.

Our church has no hard and fast rules about how often its members must attend services - that would be wrong. However, the Bible does have quite a bit to say about the worship life of God's children. Part of the pastor's job is to remind all the members, from time to time, about how Scripture answers the question:

"Why Go to Church?"

1.    ...for the Word

2.    ...for fellowship

3.    ...for confession and absolution

4.    ...for the Lord's Supper

For the Word

The most important reason to attend your weekly church services is to the hear the Word of God. The Bible tells us that a regular diet of His Word is more important to our spiritual health than food is to our physical health. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He told the Devil, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" (Matt 4:4). We need God's Word to live!
It's a sad fact, though, that many people consider church services to be a minor part of their weekly schedule - something they can omit if another activity comes up, or if they need extra sleep. According to the Bible, coming to hear God's Word isn't just one part of our lives. . . it's the very foundation that the rest of our life is built on! Jesus said, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of  Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, and floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock."  (Matt 7:24-25). If we want to make our lives more secure, from the ground up, the regular hearing of God's Word is the best place to start!

Someone once said that a believer's faith never stands still - it is always either growing…or fading.  Jesus said the same thing when He described His relationship with every individual believer.  He said the relationship of a Christian to His Savior is like that of branch attached to a grape vine. The more firmly the branch is attached, the more life-giving nutrients it can receive from the vine, and the more fruit it can bear. On the other hand, a branch that is cut off from the vine soon withers and dies. "I am the vine, you are the branches," Jesus said. "He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered." (John 15:5-6). Our weekly church services are designed specifically to strengthen your connection with the Savior.  The closer you can keep to God's Word, the more you'll find your faith - and your Christian life - growing and bearing more fruit for Christ.

For the Fellowship

There are always some who object, "Yes, but I can read my Bible at home. I don't have to come to church to hear God's Word!" That's true, of course, and we should all take time to study the Bible at home. But there are some things that you can get at church that you can't get from personal Bible study - and one of them is fellowship.

"Do not be unwise," says St. Paul, "but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Eph. 5:17).  And the Lord's will concerning our faith lives is that we get together with other believers on a regular basis to hear God's Word, to thank and praise Him, and to encourage one another in the faith. In the book of Hebrews, Paul says, "Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching!" (Hebrews 10:24-25). The encouragement that comes from worshipping together is like a fire that warms both ourselves and those we worship with.  For our own good, and for the good of our fellow Christians, God warns us not to let our attendance at public worship services slide!


For Confession and Absolution

There are other advantages to attending church regularly. One is confession and absolution. Every Sunday, during our liturgy, each person confesses his sins before God in repentance, unloading the burden of guilt that has been weighing on his conscience.  Then the pastor, exercising the Ministry of the Keys on behalf of our Savior and the congregation, pronounces the "absolution", or forgiveness of sins. He does this according to the words of Jesus that says, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them." (John 20:23). Of course, you can confess your sins and get forgiveness from God any day of the week. But it is especially comforting to join in confession with your fellow believers, and hear God's word of forgiveness spoken out loud from the lips of the pastor.


For the Lord’s Supper

One very special way that we receive the assurance of the forgiveness of sins in church is through the Sacrament of the Altar - the Lord's Supper. Scripture tells us that along with the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, we also receive the actual body and blood of our Savior. In this miraculous way, Christ "seals" to each individual the forgiveness of sins.  Like a person who seals a letter or gives a ‘paid in full’ receipt for a debt, Jesus makes it very personal - to be received not just collectively, but also individually. Also, Paul says, coming to the Lord's Supper regularly is one way we witness the truth of the Gospel and our unity to our fellow believers, ". . . For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till he comes." (1 Cor. 11:26).

Take advantage of the Opportunities

In these and many other ways, God encourages us through His Word to make regular use of the means of grace - the Gospel in Word and Sacraments. On the day of Pentecost, when Peter preached God's Word to the crowds in Jerusalem, three thousand people came to faith in Christ and were baptized. What did these new believers do then? "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:42). Let us take every advantage of the same precious fellowship also!

The History of Luther Memorial Church,
Fond Du Lac WI

Table of Contents


Luther Memorial Church History 

Beginnings of Luther Memorial

The beginnings of Luther Memorial congregation go back to events that took place even before 1960.  Its organization in February of that year had not been planned or undertaken in the customary process that a group of Christians follow when they get together to form a congregation.  It came into being rather suddenly and spontaneously.  Yet it came into being by the work of God's Holy Spirit.  For by the Spirit faithful Christians were led to contend for the truth of God's Word at a time when it was being compromised and challenged.

Doctrinal Controversy

When a serious doctrinal controversy developed in the Wisconsin Synod in regard to the proper application of Romans 16:17 to the Missouri Synod, many in the Wisconsin Synod took a stand directed by the Word of God.  But during the years that followed the Wisconsin Synod failed to carry out what this passage of Scripture demanded - "Mark and avoid".  This delaying brought about much confusion and many pastors and congregations voiced their protest.

Congregational Break Based Upon Romans 16:17

In the Fond du Lac area, the pastors of St. Peter's Ev. Lutheran Church conducted many meetings to instruct the congregation on what the Word of God directed them to do.  Finally at a meeting on February 7, 1960, the matter came before the members to determine whether they were going to continue with the Wisconsin Synod and its actions or abide by Romans 16:17, as their pastors had instructed them. A vote of the congregation indicated that the majority decided to remain with the Synod. This made it clear that the two pastors, Gerhard Pieper and Waldemar Schuetze, could no longer serve the congregation.

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Congregation Formed

On that February afternoon, Luther Memorial congregation was conceived. A spontaneous meeting of those who considered the two pastors their called servants of the word met in the dining room of the St. Peter's School. That gathering included the two pastors, a teacher, a number of voting members of St. Peter's congregation. A small operating council was appointed, plans were made to have worship services, and organization of a separate congregation was considered. The group resolved not to pursue any legal claims over against St. Peter's church property. On the next Sunday February 14th, 469 worshipers attended the first services held in the auditorium of the Roosevelt Junior High School. Four days later on February 18th, a voters' meeting, attended by 89 men was held in the civic Room of the Retlaw Hotel. At this meeting, an interim council was elected, and the group went on record as favoring the establishment of a Christian Day School. They asked the two pastors and the two teachers to continue to serve the new congregation. "There was a general awareness of the common joy of true Christians fellowship uniting us all, together with the purposeful determination to go ahead under God's guidance and with His help, and do what was necessary for the orderly and successful establishment of a congregation dedicated to the full truth of God's Word."

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Naming of Congregation, Luther Memorial Church

On February 28th the name of the congregation was chosen - Luther Memorial Church. Formal organization was completed on March 20, 1960, when 85 voting members adopted a constitution and elected a permanent church council, together with other necessary committee. Formal calls of vocation were extended to Pastors Waldemar Schuetze, and Gerhard Pieper, and to the two teachers, Gerhardt Mueller, and Miss Dorothy Schmmolesky. On April 3rd, Pastor Egbert Schaller of Nicollet, Minnesota, conducted the service in which the workers of the church were installed.

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Property Obtained April 12, 1960

Two pieces of property were offered to the congregation as a gift, the Fred Martin property on the west edge of town and the Frank Wollerman property on the south edge of Fond du Lac. On April 12th the voters accepted the offer of 5 acres from the Frank Wollerman family. An additional strip of land along 21st Street was purchased to provide sufficient access to the property, bringing the size of the church size to seven acres. On May 1st, a building Fund offering was initiated. $33,000.00 in cash was received and more was promised by the members. Later that month, the residence at 395 East Divison Street was purchased for a parsonage for Pastor Waldemar Schuetze and his family. Pastor and Mrs. Pieper were housed in a home made available by the Frank Wollermans at 302 East Pioneer Road.

Architectual Plans and Construction

Mr. Sylvester Stepnoski, a local architect, presented complete plans to the congregation on May 17th. They included an auditorium seating about 450, five classrooms, and a kitchen and assembly hall in the basement. Total cost of the project was estimated at $167,732.00 without furnishings. The plans were adopted and ground breaking was held on September 4, 1960.
While the building was under construction the office and showroom of the Boulay Feed Mill at 138 Western Avenue was rented for $200.00 a month. Here school would be conducted for the first year. The necessary equipment and materials for two classrooms were gathered. All was ready on September 7th for the first day of school for 64 children.

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Corner Stone Laid December 11, 1960

The corner-stone of the new building was laid on December 11th. A mild winter hastened the project so that on May 28th, dedication services could be held for the church and the school. On October 30, 1971, the bell tower was erected and dedicated to the memory of Pastor Gerhard Pieper.

Luther Memorial School

The second year of Luther Memorial School began in the new building with an enrollment of 80 children. Another teacher was called. During the next few years, the enrollment increased gradually until it reached a high of 101. In 1967, a fourth teacher had to be added. The school enrollment now stands at 19 with a staff of three teachers.

Teacherage Dedicated March 19, 1967

On March 19, 1967, the present teacherage on the church. The year 2000 brought another blessing, the building of a duplex to house our lower and middle grade teachers.

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Parsonage's of Luther Memorial

In the Fall of 1978, the congregation sold the parsonage on Division Street and purchased a home at 197 East Pioneer Road. Dedication took place on October 15th. During the winter of 1995-96 a new parsonage was built on the church property. Dedication of the parsonage was held in the summer of 1996.

Called Workers of Luther Memorial

Luther Memorial has been blessed by leadership of five pastors. Pastor Gerhard Pieper, Pastor Waldemar Schuetze, Pastor John Johannes, Pastor David Naumann and presently Pastor Neal Radichel. Four principals have led the school, Mr. Gerhardt Mueller, Mr. Ross Roehl, Mr. Mark Kranz, and presently Mr. David Bernthal.

Closing Statement

Luther Memorial has been privileged to complete these past years under the Lord's bountiful blessings. As we review the events of the past years we are moved to sincere and humble thanks for the many evidences of His goodness. He has provided, first of all, the Gospel in the Word and Sacraments for young and old, in life and death. He has also provided pastors, teachers, lay workers, property, buildings and material support. May His blessings continue to rest upon Luther Memorial congregation.

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