Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Martensdale Community Church

    Martensdale Community Church, 3953 Hoover St., Martensdale, IA. 50160, (641) 764-2491, purchased in 1915, this church was previously the Martensdale German Lutheran Church built in 1903.

    Martensdale Community Church, written by Mrs. Alva BROWNLIE, is copied from the History of Warren County, Iowa by Gerard SCHULTZ and Don L. BERRY, The Record and Tribune Company, Indianola, Iowa, 1953, pages 119-151.

    In 1914, not long after the first homes had been established in Martensdale, it was felt that a primary need of the new community was for a place for worship. A Sunday school was started in the new blacksmith shop building, vacant at the time, and plans were made to provide a church building. A Lutheran building at Churchville, two miles away, was not being used regularly, so arrangements were made by agreement between the trustees and the people of other denominations interested, to move the building to Martensdale. A subscription paper was passed and a sum raised for moving and repairing and constructing a basement. This was accomplished in 1915 with all cooperating under an agreement that a union Sunday school would be held, and preaching services, the Lutherans reserving the right to hold such services every other Sunday. A Lutheran pastor from Des Moines came out for a time, and various speakers were brought here on the alternate Sundays. John MAXWELL, a lay preacher living near Wick, often spoke, and then was chosen to serve as the first regular preacher. For some years all worshiped together with no formal organization. A women's group, the Martensdale Christian association, was formed and worked to help with the church expenses. In 1922 a committee was chosen to draft a constitution and bylaws. These were adopted at an all-day meeting on October 29 of that year, and a Community church was organized with twenty-two charter members, four of whom are still living here. Later, in 1930, a revised constitution was adopted,

    In 1935 the Rev. Mr. KREBS of the St. Paul Lutheran church of Des Moines, began to hold afternoon services for the Lutherans, and the two groups agreed to share running expenses and repairs of the building. By 1936 the Lutheran congregation had grown so as to have their own resident pastor, and it was thought best that each congregation have its own building. A settlement was reached by the church boards, the Lutherans retaining the building and the Community congregation accepting a sum for their interest in it, which was used toward constructing a basement church building. The Rev. L. W. MENDENHALL, now of Des Moines, was pastor during this period, containing with the church for six years, the longest pastorate during its history. This structure was used until 1944, when, under the leadership of the Rev. William S. McBIRNIE, the present building was erected. The dedication services were held in the afternoon of Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, the Rev. Mr. MENDENHALL being one of the speakers. The present pastor, the Rev. Robert HOBSON, is serving his second year with the church.