Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Martensdale St. Paul Lutheran

    Martensdale St. Paul Lutheran Church, 615 Iowa Ave., Martensdale, IA 50160, phone (641) 764-2752, church was built in 1903.

    A fire on August 11, 2011 burned the church down. Only the church bell and a single candle was saved. A new church was built and opened December 24, 2013. See a YouTube video about the church fire at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIgAbZ622qs


    The History of St. Paul Lutheran Church is copied from their website at http://mystpaullutheran.com/History___Photos.php

    St. Paul Lutheran Church in Martensdale had its beginnings in the late 1890's, when a few Lutheran families around Churchville contacted the Rev. JAPSON from St. Paul Lutheran Church in Des Moines. Rev. JAPSON began conducting services in German at the Center Schoolhouse. As the early worshippers' faith and enthusiasm grew, they wanted to develop their own church. One of the worshipers, Mrs. Michael GRASSMAN gave two lots in Churchville to the congregation shortly before she died. The congregation began to plan to build a church. By May 3, 1903 a sufficient amount of money and pledges were received to permit the building. On July 5, 1903 the congregation voted to let the contract to Charles SNYDER of Norwalk for a 28 X 40 Frame Building for a sum of $1,947. On August 23, 1903 the constitution was adopted and incorporation papers were filed. John MARTENS, John HUSS, and Carl NEHRING signed the constitution as trustees of the congregation.

    Construction of the new church building began in late summer and was completed in the fall and pulpit, altar, baptismal font were obtained on September 2, 1903 for $335. The church building as was then complete, at a total cost of $2,330, and dedicated on December 13, 1903. In 1906 the building debt was paid off.

    Rev. JAPSON continued to commute from Des Moines to serve the church. His wife also traveled by train each Saturday to work with the confirmation class. In June of 1904, a class of 14 was confirmed. By 1930, the congregation was ready to call their own pastor, after sharing pastors with St. Paul Lutheran in Des Moines for many years. Rev. Elwin W MUELLER accepted the call and conducted his first service on June 4, 1933. At that time the pastor's salary ranged from $20 to $30 per month.

    During the early 1940's St. Paul Lutheran conducted Vacation Bible Schools and religious educational activities in Winterset. With encouragement from St. Paul in Martensdale, the people of Winterset formed their own church also called St. Paul Lutheran. In the following years St. Paul Lutheran grew in faith and has encouraged the creation of other churches, Redeemer Lutheran in Indianola and New Life Lutheran in Lakewood. In 1957, an educational wing and a new portion of the basement were built, featuring a kitchen which became the center of the annual fall Smorgasbord.

    In recent years, we celebrated the 90th and 100th anniversaries of our church. Our community fundraisers help support local families and national churchwide campaigns for hunger, malaria and disaster relief. Events have included a Polka Band and Hog Roast, ice cream socials, community dinners and our Annual Trees, Tastes and Trimmings complete with homemade candy and cookies and local vendors and crafters.

    On October 27, 2011 fire destroyed our 108-year old building but it did not destroy our church. We are still here, stronger and ready to serve our community by proclaiming the love of Jesus. Our new worship and outreach center was rebuilt on our original property and we held our first worship service on December 24th, Christmas Eve, 2013 at the close of our 111th year of ministry and outreach. Join us for worship and service to others. All are welcome!