Over a century ago many of our parents and ancestors migrated to this community from different parts of Europe, mostly from Russia and Germany. After the first few had settled and made homes in this land of forests, rolling hills and rich soils, their relatives and friends came in groups and made their homes with those already here until they could establish homes of their own. Among these immigrants were also pastors and ministers, who could withstand the sturdy life of thepioneer. They served as missionaries and held services in the homes of the settlers. Services were also held in an old log schoolhouse.


In the year of 1892, Pastor Grumbach, who was at Marion, came to hold services in the homes of the various families. The main wish of the people was to have a church or some permanent place to worship; so on December 17, 1892, he called a meeting with that purpose in mind. At this meeting a board of three trustees was chosen: Ferdinand Witt, William Schmidt and William Mundt. August Liebert was chosen as secretary. The name of the church was to be called “St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Big Falls, Waupaca County”.


The meetings were held from time to time and services were held in the homes and in the little log schoolhouse. At this time, there was much dissension and arguing going on between the people and two factions were formed, one being the Ohio and the other the Missouri. We are concerned with the former. Two churches were built.


In 1900 a plot of land was purchased from Albert Faehling, Sr. and the first church was erected on the lot just south of the Gen Mueske home. The church was a 20×30 foot frame building later painted white, with small front steps made of planks.


Various pastors served the congregation until January 25th, 1914 when it was decided to place a call to Rev. M. J. Ehmke. He would serve St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at South Dupont and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church at Big Falls. He accepted this call and came to live in the parsonage now the Rustad home in Big Falls.


The people of South Dupont decided to build a new parsonage at South Dupont which was complete in August 1915 and Rev. and Mrs. Ehmke and family moved into it. He drove to Big Falls from South Dupont to conduct services. Rev. Ehmke served us for 18 years, until ill health caused him to resign and move to California.


The sermons up to 1928 were all in the German language; then it was voted to have English services every third Sunday of the month. In the year 1931 it was voted to have English services every other Sunday. In 1939 it was voted to have only one German service a month; then in 1944 it was decided to have German services only six times a year. Now only English services are held. When Rev. Ehmke resigned, the congregation was composed of thirty-two families. The Rev. W.E. Lange was called after the resignation of Rev. Ehmke, and was installed on July 1st, 1932.


In 1934 a new roof was put on the church and new planks replaced the old worn-out ones on the porch; Anton Mauritz doing the carpenter work. Electric lights were installed about this time as this is the first record of any light bill. The congregation had grown to about forty-five members in 1938.


Due to the increase in membership the little white church, which had served us so many years was becoming too small and large gatherings and programs were held in the Village Hall. Plans were being made and discussed for the building of a new church. Several meetings were held from time to time and finally at one meeting a building committee of Henry Behrent, Walter Krueger and Arthur Adams was chosen. The lot was purchased from Otto Faehling for the sum of $150.


Pledges were taken for a new church and by January 1941 or 1942, the amount received for the building fund from pledges, donations, dinners and special offerings brought a total of $6545.68 and $491.for the pews.


Building of the new church started July 14, 1941 with Arthur Adams being the architect and Kucksdorf the contractor. The cornerstone laying was celebrated in September, 1941 and the following May, St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church was finally dedicated, thanks be to God, the faithful workers and the men and women who so willingly gave hours of time and labor without even thinking of compensation.


The little white church became the property of Junie Arndt, who purchased it and moved it to Marion. In 1942 Harry Welch bought the home. Bill Welch purchased the house in 1967 from his Grandfather for the sum of $8,000. In October 1991 Randy Arndt purchased the house and now lives in it.


On October 4, 1946 an electric organ was installed in the new church. Rev. W. E. Lange, after serving us for 20 years accepted a call to Seymour, WI. A call was sent to Rev. Carl Stubenvoll who accepted and was installed on September 1, 1952. He stayed with us for nineyears and during that time two incidents stand out above all others; 1) The Sunday school was reorganized to coincide with grades in school and lessons made uniform and 2) the Ladies Aid Society and Women’s Mission Society joined and formed a new organization, November 15, 1960 known as the A.L.C.W., American Lutheran Church Women, which includes all women of the congregation. The number of members in June, 1967, was 53 ladies active in church work.


Rev. Quintin Schowalter was installed on July 25th, 1961. During the time that Rev. Schowalter was our pastor, Vacation Bible School was held in June during the summers of 1965, 1966, and also in 1967. Rev. Leonard Domke was installed as our pastor, February 5, 1967. He served our congregation until 1979 when he retired and moved to Manawa. Rev. William Lavann accepted our call in 1980 and in 1990 moved to Neenah. Rev. Mark Bogen served as pastor from 1991-1995. In 1996, Pastor Janice Kuder was installed as pastor of St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s.


When St. Peter’s celebrated their centennial in 1992, Pastor Bogen said the following: “God has truly blessed us, and for that we have good reason to rejoice and celebrate. But as we look to the future, we face many challenges. We live in a society that is increasingly hostile to God’s Word and Biblical faith. Immigrants and high birth rates no longer provide us with assured growth. The decline of the rural areas has had a serious impact on the viability of rural and small town congregations.


“The challenge for us as we begin a second century is to become more ‘mission minded’, for us to become truly “Evangelical” as our name claims us to be. To be evangelical we need to learn anew what it means to claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and to become witnesses of that to members of our congregation and community.”


In the last 10 years St. Peter’s has begun to rise to that challenge. We have grown in faith and grace and with our eyes fixed on Jesus we are seeking to build his kingdom in this place. We are becoming the evangelical people God wants us to be. As detailed in St. Paul’s history, an important part of our mission are the numerous cooperative joint activities with our partners at St. Paul’s.


Part of the process of boldly stepping into the future God has planned for us, has been the construction of a new building to be our center for mission and spiritual formation.


The configuration of the 1941 building was no longer adequate to the ministry we feel called to do in this place. The building was not handicapped accessible, there was not adequate space for fellowship before and after worship and there was not enough space for small groups and classes to meet.


Land was purchased at the corner of County Highway G and Petersen Road, 1 mile northeast of Big Falls. Martinson and Eisele [engineers/architects] and Felts Construction were hired. Ground was broken October 9, 2005. We ‘moved in’ officially in June,2006. Jason and Crystal Rambo were married in a service at the new building on June 16, 2006 and the first Sunday worship was held in the new building on June 18, 2006. Many, many donated hours and dollars later, we dedicated this new building to the glory of God on August 20, 2006.