St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Plymouth, Mich.) records: 1856-1985
Summary Information
Title: St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Plymouth, Mich.) records
Creator: St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Plymouth, Mich.)
Inclusive dates: 1856-1985
Extent: 4 linear feet
Abstract:
Church organized in Plymouth, Michigan in 1856; congregational minute books, 1856-1947; board of stewardship minute books, 1959-1967; announcement books, 1931-1960; subject files relating to the church's history, its administration, buildings, pastors, and activities; church publications; visual materials; and sound recordings.
Call number: 89507 Ba 2
Language: The material is in German and English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Cinda Ann May, August 1989

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The record group was donated by the church (donor no. 7578) in July 1988.

Access Restrictions:

The record group is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Copyright is not held by the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Plymouth, Mich.) records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


History

The congregation of the St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church was first organized in Plymouth, Michigan on March 5, 1856 by Reverend Friedrich Schmid. In 1833 Schmid was sent by the Basel Mission Society in Switzerland to lead a congregation of German Lutherans in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As part of his ministry, Schmid regularly traveled to Plymouth to act as the spiritual leader for the few German Lutheran families located there. Having no formal church organization, Schmid held services in private homes on a rotating basis.

Not until 1856 did the Lutherans of Plymouth organize into a congregation. Five leading men within the German community agreed to become charter members of the church. These men were Peter Gayde, J.M. Petershans, Peter Trinkaus, Johann Georg Fischer and Wilhelm Amrhein. Schmid himself was elected president.

On March 11, 1856 the congregation purchased its first church building from the local Baptist congregation for $140.00. Additional costs included the purchasing of a new site upon which to locate the church, moving the building to the new site, and preparing it for use. When the church had been paid for in its entirety, it was dedicated on December 26, 1858. Much financial hardship was experienced as the congregation endeavored to generate the necessary funds to maintain the church and its congregation through the period of the Civil War and the attendant postwar depression.

Having survived the economic depression from 1867 to 1879, the fortunes of St. Peter's congregation improved. Under the leadership of Pastor H. Abelman, the voting members decided to build a new church (referred to in the finding aid as "Old Church" since the congregation would build a second church in 1954). This church was dedicated on October 14, 1883. On this date the first sermon in English was delivered. Previously, all sermons had been in German. Through the years the Old Church was renovated and enlarged leading to a rededication service on March 16, 1924.

From 1928 to 1931 a rift developed between the congregation and Pastor Charles Strasen. The reasons for the dispute are somewhat vague, though it seems to have been more a matter of personalities than of theology. Although a reconciliation was attempted, Pastor Strasen on February 10, 1929 resigned and with a small number of followers formed St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. In April 1929, Edgar Hoenecke was called as pastor of St. Peter's. The split continued for two years, then in 1931 when it was announced that St. Matthew's might join the Missouri Synod, the congregation of St. Peter's, under the leadership of Pastor Hoenecke petitioned the presidents of both the Wisconsin and Missouri Synods of the Lutheran Church to work to settle the dispute. Reconciliation of the two congregations was effected November 5, 1931 with the passing of a resolution that followed a meeting between former pastor Strasen and members of St. Peter's.

Under Hoenecke's leadership the Christian Day School was built, dedicated and opened on September 7, 1947. A new church (referred to in the finding aid as "New Church") was erected. The cornerstone was laid October 31, 1954 and the New Church was dedicated on September 11, 1955. A new parsonage was constructed and ready for use on December 2, 1956. Additions to the Christian Day School were formally completed with a dedication service on December 7, 1975 under the guidance of Pastor Leonard Koeninger.

St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrated its 125th anniversary on March 8, 1981. It continues to be an active and thriving congregation.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The records of the St. Peter's Evangelical Church cover the period of 1856 to 1985 with the majority of the materials falling within the years of 1916 to 1960. The early records are in German, but most of the records from about 1920 are in English. The record group contains documents pertaining to the founding and history of the church, as well as its articles of association, bylaws, and constitution. Financial reports from 1939 to 1952, general correspondence, membership records, publications, announcement books, and records of the meetings of the Church Council and various committees from 1856 to 1961 are also included. There are photographs and pictures of the various pastors who have served the church over the years. Other audio/visual materials include slides, and cassette and reel-to-reel tapes.

The record group is arranged in ten series: Record Books, History, Operational, Buildings, Pastors, Congregation, Church Activities, Publications, Visual Materials, and Sound Recordings.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Lutheran Church -- Michigan -- Plymouth.
  • Church buildings -- Michigan -- Plymouth (Mich.) -- Churches.
  • Business enterprises.
  • Churches.
  • Classrooms.
  • General stores -- Michigan -- Plymouth.
  • Hotels and taverns.
  • Interiors -- Churches.
  • Interiors -- General stores.
  • Interiors -- Michigan -- Plymouth.
  • Kellogg Park (Plymouth, Mich.)
  • Lutheran Church -- Michigan -- Plymouth.
  • Business enterprises -- Michigan -- Plymouth.
  • Church buildings -- Michigan -- Plymouth.
  • Streets -- Michigan -- Plymouth.
  • Schools -- Michigan -- Plymouth.
  • Tombs and sepulchral monuments.
  • Photographs.
  • St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Plymouth, Mich.)
  • Berdan House (Plymouth, Mich.)
  • Plymouth Marble Works.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Record Books [series]

The core of the record group is the church record books. These include minutes of congregational meetings and of the board of stewards. Also of interest here are sacramental registers and a log of daily church activities. The researcher should note that most of these records for the period before 1921-1922 are in German. A large part of this series that is in English are volumes containing announcements made from the pulpit each Sunday, and also a register of the record of hymns sung and the sermons delivered.

 
Congregational minute books
Box   1  
1856-1884
Box   1  
1884-1928
Box   1  
1929-1939
Box   1  
1939-1947
 
Board of Stewardship minute books
Box   1  
1959-1961
Box   1  
1961-1967
Box   1  
Pastoral conference minute book (?) 1899-1931
Box   1  
Kirchen Buch (sacramental register ?) 1886-1911
Box   1  
Protokollbuch (log of daily church events) 1877-1905
Box   1  
Lutheran Ladies Aid minute book 1911-1946
Box   1  
Account book 1886-1911
Box   2  
Announcement books 1931-1960
 
History [series]
Box   3  
Founding/Early years of congregation 1856, 1858, 1884
Box   3  
Church Anniversaries
 
Operational [series]
Box   3  
Annual reports 1980-1981
Box   3  
Articles of Association, bylaws, constitution
Box   3  
Finance 1941-1965
Box   3  
Financial correspondence (incomplete) 1931-1976
Box   3  
Annual non-profit reports 1939-1952
Box   3  
General correspondence (incomplete) 1916-1954
 
Building [series]
Box   3  
Old Church
Box   3  
New Church 1954-1955
Box   3  
New Church Dedication correspondence 1955
Box   3  
Missouri Synod's land purchase 1954
Box   3  
Christian Day School 1945-1946
Box   3  
School Addition 1973-1975
 
Pastors [series]
Box   3  
Hoenecke, Edgar--Essay
Box   3  
Koeninger, Leonard--Anniversary brochures
Box   3  
Bunge, R.H.--Sermon books 1906-1911 (3 volumes)
 
Congregation [series]

The files of the Congregation series contain confirmation listings, letters of transfer, and baptismal records. Of particular interest is the documentation concerning the controversy within the church which occurred from 1928 to 1931 resulting in a split in the congregation and the formation of the short-lived St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. Many of the documents pertaining to the split are in German. The controversy was noteworthy as Pastor Strasen was issued a restraining order to prevent him from preaching. Newspaper clippings from this period delineate the facts of the quarrel.

Box   3  
Membership
Box   3  
Confirmation Listings 1910-1981
Box   3  
Baptism Records 1955, 1957 and Letters of Transfer, 1930-1954 (incomplete) 1930-1957
Box   3  
St. Matthew's Congregation Controversy 1928-1931
Box   3  
Voters' Assembly, Minutes (incomplete) 1967-1969
Box   3  
Ladies Guild Yearbooks 1980, 1982, 1985
Box   3  
Lutheran Ladies & Young Ladies' Society
Box   3  
Miscellaneous
 
Church Activities [series]
Box   3  
Christmas Fete 1955, 1956
Box   3  
Sunday School, Minutes, Financial Reports, misc.
 
Publications [series]
Box   3  
Order of Service / Harvest Home 1937, November 1963-June 1964, 11/13/1977 (incomplete) 1937-1977
Box   3  
The Plymouth Lutheran 1932
Box   3  
St. Peter's Messenger January 1969
 
Visual Material [series]
 
Photographs
Box   4  
Plymouth, Michigan
Box   4  
Old Church
Box   4  
New Church
Box   4  
New Church dedication
Box   4  
Christian Day School (2 folders)
Box   4  
New school additions (work crews) 1974
Box   4  
Pastors
Box   4  
Church groups
Box   4  
Church pageant
Box   4  
Christmas fete
Box   4  
Harvest Home
Box   4  
Parade Float
 
Slides
Box   4  
Founders Day Program, 125th Anniversary (2 folders)

(script to accompany slides located in history file)

Box   4  
Church Picnic 1977, 1978
Box   4  
Church and School 1978
Box   4  
Pastor Berg's Farewell
 
Youth Group
Box   4  
Parade Float
Box   4  
Canoe Trip
 
Sound Recordings [series]
 
Reel-to-reel tapes
Box   4  
Farewell to Rev. and Mrs. Hoenecke January 1960 (3 3/4 ips)
Box   4  
Pastor Berg's Farewell Dinner January 1968 (3 3/4 ips)
Box   4  
Pastor Koeninger's 25th Anniversary sermon and anniversary party; also sermon delivered by Pastor Hoenecke upon occasion of the 25th Anniversary sermon of the Day School (four track monaural; 3 3/4 ips)
 
Cassettes
Box   4  
Organ demonstration, early morning service May 1985
Box   4  
Organ Dedication March 1985
Box   4  
"In His word ... made free" (with slide)