German settlers first erected the original St. John church in 1851. The original congregation was comprised of members who found it difficult to travel the distance to St. Peter Lutheran Church from their local farms. The charter members of the church were: Christoph Steffen, Heinrich Hasemann, Friedrich Hinze, Heinrich Mensching, Christopher Ackmann, Conrad Dralle and Conrad Geistfeld. The first parson was Ernst Ludwig Herman Kuehn of Michigan.
The area near this church was commonly and originally known as Rodenberg (spelled differently from the modern Rodenburg Road), named for the town in Germany (shown at right) where many of the original church members were from. Rodenberg is part of the Schaumburg region in Germany, and still has an active Lutheran church presence there.
In 1859, St. John joined the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, only a few years after the founding of the LCMS, Not long after it was decided that a new church was needed for a growing congregation. This second church was dedicated on December 16, 1863. The earliest burials recorded in the cemetery are from the 1860s.
One of our early Pastors was the first LCMS Chaplain to serve in the Army. F.W. Richmann, installed at St. John in 1858, served in the Civil War in 1862. He served with the 58th Regiment - Ohio Volunteers of the U.S. Army as their Chaplain before returning to St. John that year.
The first St. John school was built in 1878, and remained until 1957 when it was razed and replaced by a school building across Rodenburg. An addition to the new school building was built in 1969, receiving it's official dedication April 27, 1969.
The next church was constructed on the same site, dedicated February 12, 1911, after the 1863 church was struck by lighting and subsequently burned down August 23, 1910. This 1911 building was unfortunately demolished due to rising maintenance costs of such an old structure in 1996.
The current church building opened in 1997 across the street from the original location, with the cemetery the only landmark remaining from the original church structures. The church now consists of a sanctuary, church offices, and school building.
A brief history of the LCMS is below.
History of LCMS.
Location of Rodenberg, Germany