Congresswoman McCollum Honors 150th Anniversary of Saint Peter Lutheran Church

Nov 19, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the congregation of Saint Peter Lutheran Church of Afton, Minnesota on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the church. Since its founding by German settlers in 1863, the church has served as a center of faith and community.

The founding families of Saint Peter Lutheran Church of Afton held tightly to their faith and, as their numbers grew, they recruited a travelling missionary, Reverend Horst, to conduct services from the homes of worshipers. Shortly thereafter another clergyman, Pastor Rolf, took over duties, regularly travelling 15 miles from Saint Paul by foot to preside over the parish.

On December 27th, 1863, the congregation was formally organized into the ``The Evangelical Lutheran Saint Peter's Church of Afton Township, Washington County, Minnesota.'' During the next two years, three acres of land were purchased and on it built the first church from a reconstructed mill that had been abandoned in the area. The first service in the new Saint Peter's church was held on August 12, 1865 and it stood intact for nearly sixty years.

Ultimately, the original structure was converted into a schoolhouse in 1898 and a replacement church was erected beside it, both remaining until they burned down in 1924. The following year saw the completion of a replacement building on the grounds, today known as the `old' church.

Saint Peter Lutheran Church continues to play a central role in the lives of many Afton families, serving both spiritual and physical needs. Through its strong support of local food shelves and clothing drives, the congregation is directly helping to feed and clothe families in need. The congregation's growth is a tribute to the generosity and commitment of six generations who have built on the foundation laid by those early German settlers. Saint Peter Lutheran Church has blessed the Afton area with its dedication to good deeds for 150 years.

Mr. Speaker, in honor of the 150th Anniversary of Saint Peter Lutheran Church of Afton, Minnesota, I am pleased to submit this statement to the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD.