About

In the fall of 1866, a young theologian — the Rev. G. Theile — along with a group calling themselves “Temperance Lutherans,” formed the Evangelical Lutheran Grace Church in Ripon.

At first, the small group rented a hall and later purchased a small house on Mayparty Hill now known as Hamburg Street.  This building served as a church, parsonage and schoolhouse. As membership grew, they soon outgrew their building. The former Congregational church building was for sale and Grace Church purchased it for $900.

In November 1887, it was voted to build a new church. The church on Ransom Street was dedicated July 1888. By 1950, Grace had outgrown the church on Ransom Street, using buses and the parish house for Sunday School classes. Plans were made to build a new church at the present location on Griswold Street in Ripon. It was dedicated February 14, 1960 and continues to serve the Grace congregation today.

Pastors of Grace Church 1866-2013

  • 1866 Rev. G. Thiele
  • 1866 – 1872 Rev. E. Mayerhoff
  • 1872 – 1876 Rev. G. Holzel
  • 1876 – 1878 Rev. A. Leifeldt
  • 1878 – 1889 Rev. J. Westenberger
  • 1889 – 1893 Rev. J. Deindoefer
  • 1893 – 1903 Rev. A. Zimmermann
  • 1903 – 1905 Rev. H. Hafermann
  • 1905 – 1909 Rev. S. Fuchs
  • 1909 – 1940 Rev. A. Pilger
  • 1940 – 1951 Rev. W. Schlachtenhaufen
  • 1951 – 1988 Rev. C. L. Stubenvoll
  • 1961 – 1975 Rev. C. F. Stubenvoll – Asst. Pastor
  • 1976 – 1985 Rev. A. H. Adams – Asst. Pastor
  • 1985 – 1986 Intern S. Steiner
  • 1986 – 1987 Intern B. Falksen
  • 1988 – 1989 Rev. J. Diemer – Interim
  • 1989 – 1994 Rev. D. Peterson
  • 1994 – 1995 Rev. R. Collier – Interim
  • 1996 – 2004 Rev. P. Holte
  • 1999 – 2002 Rev. J. Stansfield – Asst. Pastor
  • 2003 – 2011 Rev. S. Krynik – Supply Pastor
  • 2004 – 2006 Rev. A. Schaffmeyer – Interim
  • 2006 – 2010 Rev. M. Schaus
  • 2006 – 2010 Rev. K. Taylor-Schaus – Asst. Pastor
  • 2011 – 2016 Rev. B. Buslaff – Supply Pastor
  • 2011 – Present Rev. Clay Salmela
  • 2012 – 2015 Sue Mokler, Youth and Family
  • 2015 – 2019 Jenny Schram, Youth and Family
  • 2019 – Present Mary Karsnia Youth Coordinator
  • 2019 – 2020 Term Pastor Sue Sheffer-Meyer

Highlights

  • 1872 All Teaching, preaching, and meeting used German
  • 1897 Organ purchased – hand pumped until motor installed in 1914
  • 1898 Bell installed in tower
  • 1916 Building electrified
  • 1923 Resolved; one English service a month
  • 1926 Resolved; two English services a month
  • 1927 Resolved; English service every other Sunday
  • 1932 Regular ushers
  • 1935 First choir robes
  • 1940 Vote to give women the right to vote 45-22
  • 1940 Children’s choir organized; 24 members
  • 1941 Voted for men and women to commune together
  • 1944 All communicants be served from one and same common cup
  • 1950 Renamed Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ripon
  • 1960 February 7 – last worship on Ransom Street
  • 1960 February 14 – dedication service at Griswold Street
  • 1977 Grace preschool opens
  • 1984 Original steeple bell donated to Grace Church
  • 1986 Bell tower erected for the original 1898 bell
  • 1996 Fire gravely damages church
  • 2004 First living nativity
  • 2005 First Thanksgiving dinner prepared for community
  • 2006 Husband-wife team as new pastors of Grace Church
  • 2011 Pastor Clay Salmela called to pastor at Grace
  • 2012 Sharing Table was created with other community churches
  • 2016 Celebrated 150 years of GRACE
  • 2017 Continued Sharing Table on the 2nd Tuesday of each month