In 1887, there was a community of Lutherans located southwest of present day Doniphan. Without an official structure, they met in the afternoons in family homes such as Carol Porth and Claus Rewerts. The Circuit Rider Pastor came every 2 weeks to lead a service in one of these houses.
In 1898, Pastor August Mueller would come from Prosser to have weekly services in the School District #75 building. This school was located 3 miles west and 1/2 mile south of Doniphan.
From 1898-1900, Revered H.W. Meyer (a retired minister) served full-time for the Doniphan congregation.
In 1912-1913 more Lutherans had moved into Doniphan. They were sharing the used of the Methodist Church. This church faced north at the intersection of 1st St and Walnut Ave and had no basement. In late 1914, the opportunity arose to purchase this church from the Methodist Congregation, but without adequate savings, members were fearful they couldn't afford it. On a leap of faith, Carl Porth and Claus Rewerts purchased the church and gave it to the congregation.
Charter members were the families of H.A. Redman, Bernhard Toben, W.R. Augustin, B.J. Lindeberg, Frank Rewerts, William Rewerts, Charles M. Redman, H.E. Schroeder, C.F. Plath, and Henry Rewerts.
The first called minister was Reverend William Roesler. He served from March 15, 1918 to September 25, 1921. The congregation purchased a parsonage on the west side of town. The Ladies Aid was also started during this period of growth.
Following German tradition, the pulpit was quite high. This was for several reasons - so pastor could see who was in church, ensure everyone was focused and so all could see and hear him.
The women and small children sat on the left (lectern side) and the men and boys ages 4 and up sat on the right (pulpit side). Edwin Meyer remembers rows of pews centered along the back wall. The first row was for the unmarried men. The second row was for the men in the final 2 years of confirmation classes and the final row were for boys in the first 2 years of confirmation. Coralee Lautenschlager and Verna Kiesling said that families started to sit together after the young men returned from World War II. This took the congregation awhile to accept. The practice was not universal until the late 1940's.
Don Spiehs and Arnie Toben said that confirmation and being confirmed then was much different than now. Confirmation took two years of study. Then the young person was questioned before the congregation. The pastor had given each confirmand a list of all the questions. These were studied at home as they did not know which questions would be asked. Both men recalled that no one failed. It was stressed to them that they had just finished the instruction part - the learning and practice should continue for a lifetime.
Communion was always the first Sunday of the month only. The reason for this was because the wine and bread was expensive. Only the confirmed members of the church could come to the table. The wine was only from a common cup. The bread was broken off and a little was given to the ones at the table. Don Spiehs said that no small children or school age children could come forward, so the father would go at one table and the mother at the next.
It was belief at the time that children were to be "seen and not heard". When Pastor E.A. Friedrich was installed on December 11, 1938, Don recalls sitting in the back of the church. The boys in front of him were wiggling and whispering. Pastor Friedrich said, "boys, that's enough of that behavior." Don said every adult head snapped to the back of the church.
Verna Graf recalls they had a special Mission Sunday in the fall. Such a day included church services in the morning, then a fried chicken, deviled eggs, potato salad, and cake lunch served in the town hall, and listening to a mission speaker in the afternoon. Afterwards, then men went home to do chores and the ladies cleaned up the hall. They all traveled to Chautauqua Park in Hastings for an evening of leftovers and another missionary speaker.
The church always seemed to be too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. To solve this problem on the hot days, services were held in "The Grove" or today's Hall County Park. A lunch was served and the boys remember a large variety of pies. The highlight of the afternoon was there were enough boys and young men to fill 2 baseball teams. While the boys played, the ladies would go for a walk to the 9-mile bridge. All had a fun afternoon.
Since the church didn't have a basement, Sunday School was held in the sanctuary. Children could not start Sunday School until they started school. Since most schools didn't have Kindergarten, children were 6 when they came to Sunday School. For funerals, the Ladies Aid prepared food and took it to the homes of the decedent. With such a limitation of space, no receptions or social gatherings could take place at the church. A bigger church was needed.
By the late 1940's, the congregation had out-grown the church. So by prayer and faith, it was decided to build a new church. Most of the money for this project had to be borrowed, but the congregation felt that faith would bring this project to completion. Under the leadership of Rev. Henry F. Krohn, they broke ground for the new church on August 16, 1951.
The construction company, Fast Construction from Hastings, Ne, had no means to dig the basement. The farmers brought in dirt movers and tractors with buckets. The equipment was not as large or strong as what they have now, so the digging was slow. The men of the church even helped to mix the cement for the basement. Several members said that their fathers were involved, such as Norman Happold, Henry Toben, Don Spiehs, Fred Pfeil and Henry Meier. The cornerstone was laid on October 28, 1951.
When it was time to shingle the roof, Arnie Toben said most of the younger men did most of the work. It was said it was because they could handle the height better than some of the older men. Henry Meier wanted his picture taken when the church was almost completed. So he asked the young men doing the shingling to help him to the roof. They did this and he sat down on the roof as the young men handed him a package of shingles. Then a picture taken and the young men helped him back to the ground. The church was dedicated on April 27, 1952.
Since the new church had a basement, it was used for many different functions such as Sunday School, funeral dinners, receptions or different kinds and even a practice area for 4-H music and skit projects.
In 1961, the congregation agreed to purchase new pews for the sanctuary. The pews did not have cushions. The cushions were purchased in 1988 after the sanctuary had been remodeled.
When Pastor Krohn accepted the call to Doniphan in 1950, the congregation decided to buy a parsonage. After the committee had looked at several homes, they decided to purchase the house located at 210 E Plum in Doniphan. The house cost $5000. Again they trusted the Lord would provide as the congregation had just decided to build the new church.
Pastor Albrecht was called, and shortly thereafter, several changes started to happen. In 1958, using the memorial money from Albert Albers, a new electric organ was purchased. This would add a new type of music to the services.
In the 1970's, many changes and additions were added to the church. The farm economy was bright, so improvements were added such as paving the north parking lot. One of the most important and appreciated enhancements was the air conditioning system that was installed in 1971. Also in 1971, a public address system was purchased so all could hear the pastor more easily. The glass doors were added with the help of memorial money. In 1975, the congregation voted to build a new parsonage. It currently sits northwest of the church.
When Pastor Hamilton arrived in 1978, the congregation was ready again to make improvements. They felt the altar area needed a facelift, so the area was paneled, a lighted cross was hung, new stained glass windows were installed, and a new piano was purchased.
In 1983, as the church continued to grow, the congregation purchased the lot to the south of the sanctuary for a parking lot. This made parking more convenient for weddings, funerals and weekly services.
After several years of dust and mud, the parking lot was paved. In 2014, lines were added so parking was more organized.
The biggest leap of faith was the new addition to the south. Richard Uden was the chairman of the committee to find a plan that would not look like the addition was just "tacked on". Richard traveled to several churches. A plan was presented to the congregation. This addition was to cost several thousands of dollars and many felt the church should not take on such a large debt. The late Lynn Lautenschlager quietly stood up and said, "where is your faith? If the members of this church take a pledge home and remember the blessings God has given you, I am such that this will be paid for." The ground for the addition was broken on June 27, 1987.
The others that helped in the ground breaking were Richard Uden, chairman of the building committee, Harold Poppe, elder, Michael (Mike) Pfeil, representing the youth, Martha Toben and Pastor Rodney Armon. This addition created a bigger kitchen, a larger fellowship hall, and two bathrooms on the main floor. The south wall of the old church was moved further south so the sanctuary was larger. The balcony and the baby room were removed to enlarge the sanctuary for the church service, funerals, weddings, etc., and additional area to set up chairs for overflow.