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Friday, May 29, 2015

The Eiffel Tower and our congregation. By Pastor Ronnie Koch

Pastor Ronnie Koch and Sandy
in Paris on a layover on the way to
Africa to visit the Lutheran
Church of Benin, 2002
In Paris, in 1889 the Eiffel Tower was completed and opened for its first visitors. At the same time, over here on the other side of the Atlantic, German settlers in Fredericksburg, Iowa were at work doing what needed to be done to have a church – a Lutheran church – in their tiny but growing village. The town's lumber man, Henry Hilmer sent word to the nearest Lutheran pastor, Theodore Haendschke of Spring Fountain, about 11 miles south of Fredericksburg. Mr. Hilmer invited Pastor Haendschke to come and conduct services in Fredericksburg. Haendschke agreed and soon there were regular gatherings of German speaking Lutherans, hearing God's Word and receiving His gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation in the sacraments.

By 1890, in Paris, the Eiffel Tower was proving to be a lasting monument to the ingenuity of the industrial revolution. By 1890, in Fredericksburg, eight men adopted and signed the constitution of a new congregation: The St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church – Unaltered Augsburg Confession. This Spring, 125 years later, we the present members of St. Paul's congregation thank God for all the blessings He has given to and through this congregation. We will celebrate this anniversary year on June 14th with Pastor Philip Hale as our guest preacher in the morning service at 9:00 am and a special festive service of praise to God at 2:00 pm. We echo the thoughts of Pastor Harold Wunderlich, who in 1940, at the church's 50th anniversary, cited these words “of the third verse of the 126th Psalm: “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.””

Paris, 2002: Some members from St. Paul's congregation
have a "conference"  before setting out to tour the city.

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