First, I want to thank "Mom" Ebert for donating her copy of this GREAT Church History to the Shawano site -- thanks ever so much and it is a tremendous addition.

Second, there are web pages I make for the Shawano site that really touch home -- and this is definitely one of them.  This old church has stood since 1879 and has seen members of my family being baptized, confirmed, married and buried.  I've been following the construction of the new church building online and I guess it just doesn't sink in until you see pieces of the old building being moved to the new structure and then realizing that the shell of the old church will be leveled shortly... gone.

This was one of the earliest permanent structures in the Bonduel area... I remember hearing stories of the earlier members walking for miles to get there, not being able to attend in the winter because the roads were so poor and the weather so bitter... as a child, some of my earliest memories are about this building.  Christmas Eve programs were just splendid... the night would be quiet and dark but you would get to the parking area and the church would be lit up brilliantly.  Mr. Lehrke did music like no one else and he did it for 50 years!  He truly was a gifted man... And Pastor Joss -- you just could listen to him for hours as he always added his personal stories and humor to his sermons... Having a sense of humor was not a typical trait for a preacher in a staunch Old German Lutheran community... plus he drove a yellow VW Bug -- truly a kind man who now has a very special place with God.  And I can still hear Benny Dehn ringing the church bells... Benny was a dear man -- always had a smile for us kids no matter how busy he was... I remember as a family, we would sit downstairs on the main level.  As the kids got older, the teenagers would prefer to sit up in the balcony, across from the choir.  It was BIG TIME to make the balcony if you were a kid... after days of subtle hints and suggestions to my mother (and some whining might have been involved, too) she gave her official OK-dokie that I could sit in the balcony with my teenaged sisters.  I couldn't wait -- this was so exciting -- I was about 4, couldn't read yet.  And when you are 4, it gets boring just listening to song after song and not being able to sing along because you can't read.  Well, alas I thought my prayers had been answered when the last hymn was starting -- I could hardly believe it!  I heard Lamb in the words -- it sure sounded like Mary Had A Little Lamb just with a little different beat... well, I just started belting out the words to Mary Had a Little Lamb with such gusto! Finally they were playing my song... Well, to make a long story short, the car ride home was less than pleasant and my siblings kept using the word MORTIFIED over and over, and that was the first and last time I got to sit in the balcony with the older sisters... I was back to ground level again...

If you trace your roots back to St. Paul's, I hope you find this scanned booklet as interesting as I did... I wish they had made the booklet a hundred pages instead of just 16... and be sure to take a peek at the gorgeous alter photos...when you see it Sunday after Sunday, you fail to realize the beautiful hand-craftsmanship until you don't see it for a while.  Enjoy!

(Note: Click on the photo pages for the larger view -- your browser should have a button to resize so you can view and read it.  And then, you'll need to hit your browser's backspace/return arrow to return to this page - ALT and LEFT ARROW otherwise.)