Evangelical & Reformed 75th Anniversary
Contact: Lois Hagedorn
Story of West Side Pioneer is Told at Celebration of 75th Anniversary
----Source: The Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 8-Sep-1949
When Fred Buker, pioneer member of the congregation of the West Side Church, Greenwood, Clark County, Wis., first landed in that area, he wanted to know about a church. He found there was none, as yet. His answer was immediate and positive, no church, no stay. There must either be a church, or no Fred Buker in this vicinity.
Mr. Buker was equally definite otherwise. Upon one occasion he was driving along the railraod. The engineer thought to have fun with him and blew the whistle vigorously. His horses stated to run, and the engineer kept blowing. Mr. Buker traveled with his rifle handy. He reached for it and began to take aim at the whitle. Thereupon the engineer let go the cord, silencing the whistle.
This incident was told at the seventy-fifth anniversary celebration of the church last Sunday. It was part of the sermon of the Rev. Otto Vriesen, now of Hamburg, Minn. He was West Side pastor for eight years.
Mr. Vriesen also told of the earnestness of the congregation in 1910, when the new church and the parsonage were built in one year. It had been talked that there would be two subscription lists, one for those favoring the entire construction and the other for those preferring repairs of one building and construction of the other. But the list for the repair job never got around said Mr. Vriesen. If any members inquired for it, they were told that it had been left at home. The result was that the big job was done, and the congregation acquired in one year two very substantial buildings, which are still sound and decorative after the passing of 39 years.
Mr. Vriesen was pastor of the church at the time of the celebration of its fiftieth anniversary. He spoke of the changes that have come about in the 75 years of this church, but he said that throughout that period, and always, God was, and is, faithful.
Mr. Vriesen paid a tribute to some of the earliest pioneers -- Adolph and August Noah, Herman and John Schwarze, Henry Humke and Fred Buker.
Greetings were read from the Rev. Otto Saewert of Plymouth, one of the early pastors. Age kept him away, but he wrote unstintingly. The word from him was in German, read in that language by the pastor, Rev. J. C. Klingeberger. In German also was a song by the senior choir, "Die Kapelle Im Walde." This was the German version of "The Little Brown Church in the Dell."
The afternoon sermon was by the Rev. Paul Franzmeier, now of New Albin, Iowa, who was West Side pastor for 14 years.
The occasion, despite inclement weather, brought out 350 or more of those who have a vital interest in the West Side Church, the formal name of which is the Immanuel Evangelical and Reformed Church. The chancel was decorated with many baskets of flowers, some of which came from the Longwood Church, which originated with and was fostered by the West Side congregation.
The chancel of the West Side Church is commodious, stretching across the entire north side of the building. The pulpit and pulpit chairs are of heavy construction, and the effect, with the senior choir to the west and the junior choir to the east with the organ, was definitely impressive. Moreover, the music spoke for no little degree of appreciation and technique, especially Mrs. Klingeberger's rendering of Malotte's Lord's Prayer. Of the choirs Mrs. Klingeberger is the director. As associates at the organ she has Mrs. Otto Fravert and Mrs. Alvin Albert.
It was 75 years ago that the first step was taken by this congregation to acquire property. The members bought 40 acres of land, the present site, from Russel H. Penfield. The price was $160. Upon this site was first built a log church. Then a farm church was later erected, and that frame church is now the schoolhouse. The present buildings, church and parsonage, were constructed in 1910.
The acquisition of property was preceded by preliminaries of organization. In these the elader was the Rev. C. H. Schoepfle of La Crosse. He brought together a number of families for worship in the Decker schoolhouse. These organized a congregation on Jan. 11, 1874, with the following charter members: Mr. and Mrs. Henry Schwarze, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Buker, Mr. and Mrs. August Beilke, Mr. and Mrs. Ludwig Noah, John and Phillip, August and Adolph Noah, Henry Humke, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Schwarze, and William Vollrath.
The pastors following Mr. Scheopfle have been Henry Bruengger, G. Veenker, C. bush, John Schmaltz, Otto Saewert, M. Hall, G Zenk, Otto Vriesen and (my copy was cut off at this point)
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