St. John Lutheran Church
St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church of Massbach, Illinois is the oldest Evangelical Lutheran congregation in Jo Daviess County and is one of the oldest congregations in the United States with roots in the former German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa and other states.
The congregation was organized in 1857. German was the language used in the congregation’s worship services until World War One. English-language services quickly replaced the German services during and after the war. However, it was not until 1940 that St. John discontinues its then monthly German-language service by the taking of a standing vote at the annual congregational meeting.
From the congregation’s beginnings and well into the 1900’s, it was served by missionary pastors sent to the Iowa Synod by Pastor Wilhelm Loehe of Newendettelsau, Bavaria. Their purpose was to provide the Word of God and Sacraments to the thousands of German Evangelical Lutheran Immigrants that were pouring into the Upper Midwest beginning in the mid 1800’s.
The parish was commonly referred to as the “Rush Creek congregation” in the records of the Iowa Synod. At one point, the parish consisted of the following congregation and preaching stations: St. John of Massbach, Trinity of Derinda, Good Hope of Pleasant Valley, Saints Peter and Paul in Stockton, and St. Mathew’s in Carroll County. Today, celebrating more than 150 years, St. John parish continues to faithfully serve and feed God’s lambs in the surrounding area.
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