Under the auspices of Reverend Asa S. Allen of Black Earth, who acted as moderator, these seven organized a church to be “denominated the first Congregational Church of Lone Rock:” Mr. David Hardenburg, Mrs. Maria Hardenburg, Miss Mary Gertrude Hardenburg, Mr. A. A. Aldrich, Mrs. William Craig, Mrs. Eliza Wallace and Mr. Horatio Giles became the character members of this church and thus, the first giant step in faith was taken by this church.On April 12, 1868, the first service was held and Simon B. Loomis was the first pastor. Meetings were held in homes and in the school house. Pastors were paid $100 per year. Rules for the church discipline were to be found in Matthew 18:15-17.
Simon Spyker is pastor.
The church continued to grow. In May of 1873, a new church building was ready for public worship. A vote was taken at this time to have “Free Pews” in the new church. Land was purchased from William Craig for $70 and the total building cost was $1,259. Interesting: A document filed by the Congregational Building Society in 1873 stated that the village population consisted of: 20% Irish, 40% Norwegian and 40% American.
Henry Pullen is pastor.An entry dated August 29, 1874 quoted that, ”…if expedient to hire a pastor in conjunction with Spring Green Church, we would pledge the sum of $80 for pastoral service.”
Mr. Oscar S. Smith is hired as pastor.
Mr. Simon B. Loomis is hired as pastor.
On March 21, a vote was taken to unite with the Spring Green Society and have the pastor spend one-third of his time in Lone Rock. Results were: “Spring Green concluding they were not ready to unite with us and might not be for some time.” Interesting: In 1878, church records record the following line of business: "It was also agreed that, “saloon keepers not be asked to help in raising money for the Pastor’s ‘Salery’ for the coming year.”
William Stoddart is hired as pastor.
Eben Foster is hired as pastor.
D. Ellis Evans is hired as pastor.
A. Schofield is hired as pastor.
D. Cochlin is hired as pastor.
Ernest E. Day is hired as pastor.The Brown Church of Bear Valley was organized through the efforts of the Congregational Conference, and for many years was served jointly with the Lone Rock Church.
A.L. McClelland is hired as pastor.
D.L. Thomas is hired as pastor.
August F. Fehlandt is hired as pastor.In 1896, ordination services were held in the Lone Rock Congregational Church for a Mrs. Harriet Williams to act as Pastor of the Bear Valley and Lone Rock churches. This has been the only woman pastor, to date, in the history of the church.
Mrs. Harriet E. Williams is hired as pastor.
T. Arthur Porter is hired as pastor.
Some interesting quotes form the clerks records were as follows:
August F. Fehlandt is hired as pastor.
In September of 1903, a meeting was held to appoint a committee to look into building a parsonage and to borrow $400 from the Congregational Building Society. Five members were appointed for this purpose and as a result, a parsonage was constructed next door to the church.
E.O. Chapel is hired as pastor.
Henry A. Miner is hired as pastor.
Mrs. H.E. Williams is hired as pastor.
Joseph C. Peters, Lic. is hired as pastor.
Otto J. Scheibe is hired as pastor.
Homer S. Vreeland is hired as pastor.
W. H. Swan is hired as pastor.
S.F. Peek, Lic. is hired as pastor.
Discussions were held on whether to unite the Methodist church and the Congregational church.
On November 11, 1918, a special meeting was called to order by a Dr. Carter of Madison in regards to uniting the Spring Green and Lone Rock churches. Both churches voted in favor of this and Reverend Walter Shilling was called to pastor the two churches. This was the beginning of a yoke ministry that would last until 1979. 1919
Walter E. Shilling is hired as pastor.
Discussions were held again on whether to unite the Methodist church and the Congregational church.
Charles Walker is hired as pastor.
William Price, Lic. is hired as pastor.Discussions were held once again on whether to unite the Methodist church and the Congregational church.
Discussions were held yet once more on whether to unite the Methodist church and the Congregational church. Finally, in 1926, both churches were united as one and were placed under the supervision of the Congregational Church. The Methodist property, consisting of Lots 4 and 5 of Block 6, was deeded to the Congregational church. The Helping Hand Society paid $300 to the Methodist Conference for the same, and the name of the church was changed to Congregational Community Church at this time.
L.E. Murphy, M.E. is hired as pastor.
John Robertson is hired as pastor.In May of 1928, yet another big step in faith was taken when it was decided to rebuild one of the two churches and to sell the parsonage. After a thorough remodel, it was decided to sell the Methodist church and remodel the Congregational church for a cost of $4,200. A motion to sell the parsonage for $2,100 resulted in the money being used for remodeling. In June of 1928, the Methodist church building was sold to the Lutheran church for $750. In November, a dedication service for the new Lone Rock Congregational Community Church was held. Remodeling work consisted of: adding sixteen feet to the length, raising the building then building a basement under it with a kitchen and dining room, installing a furnace and new, art-glass windows. “The church was beautifully decorated with ferns and potted plants, refinished floors and beautiful upholstered pews.”
Howard M. Jones is hired as pastor.
Stewart H. Smith is hired as pastor.
William B-H O’Neill is hired as pastor.
Robert F. Merritt is hired as pastor.In May of 1939, the last payment on the above remodeling project was made and a mortgage burning was held.
On April 11, 1943, with Reverend Robert Merritt as pastor and several other ministers in attendance, the 75th anniversary of the church was observed. Well-filled baskets of food were brought in a for a potluck dinner. 1954
Harry Dorley is hired as pastor.
The church basement was again remodeled in 1955, with the installation of a new oil furnace, two bath rooms, new cupboards, counter tops, installation of a new hot water heater and two electric ranges. And the sanctuary received a new, Baldwin organ.
SERVICE GUILD: On February 23, 1956, a group of 12 women gathered at the Beverly Brander home and from this gathering, a women’s group was formed which they called the Junior Circle. The following women were the charter members of this group: Beverly Brander, Donna Jensen, Henrietta Lettman, Alma Bailey, Mildred Bristol, Charlotte Lytle, Marcella Price, Myrtle Webster, Beverly Dietzman, Shirley Sprecher, Ethel Richardson, Kathryn Lind, Mathilda Porter, Betty Nelson and Pauline Fisher. This group was a very active group through the years and were involved in various fund raising projects like the purchase of choir robes, carpeting, recovered pews, and helping with redecorating the sanctuary and basement and many other countless projects. They also supported Jane White and her Korean Children's Home in Korea, and the Dave Brewers in Sask, Canada, as their mission projects. In 1966, the group felt that Junior Circle was no longer an appropriate name and changed their name to The Service Guild. They felt this would be a chance to renew their efforts to be of further service to the church and to themselves. The Service Guild was responsible for the organization of the church’s Annual Chicken Supper which has been a tradition of this church for many years. The first mention of the Chicken Supper was in January, 1906. Prior to The Service Guild being organized, chicken suppers were put on by the capable hands of the Helping Hand Ladies. The Service Guild was a hard-working group with willing and capable hands and well-known as being excellent cooks!
David Menchofer is hired as pastor.The 90th anniversary of the church was observed in 1958 with Reverend David Menchofer as our pastor.
The following year, the sanctuary was redecorated. This included the removal of the front railing and replacing it with a new railing going straight across instead of at an angle. It also included the installation of new carpeting.
Robert Vornholdt is hired as pastor.
In 1961, a discussion on whether to merge with the Evangelical and Reform Church and be renamed to the United Church of Christ was held. Vote was taken and the decision was not to merge, but to remain a “continuing Congregational church.”
Thomas Witzel is hired as pastor.
In 1965, during the partnership of Reverend Tom Witzel, the church sponsored a Youth Center in Lone Rock, which was to be of service to all youths of all denominations. This continued in service for several years.
Paul Ray is hired as pastor (pictured at left.)
Jane White and the Chechon Children’s Home in Korea became the church’s mission field.New lights were installed in the sanctuary and continue to be a beautiful addition during worship.In May, the Centennial Services for the church were held with Reverend Paul Ray as our pastor.The membership has grown from the original seven people to 121! This was a very meaningful service with several older members who reminisced about years gone by.
Yet another extensive remodeling project began 1970 and continued until 1971. This time, the entryway was altered by adding onto the front of the church, which also added more room in the basement while enclosing the steps. A pastor’s study was added, a cry room and new carpet was installed. This was possible, in part, because of a memorial given by Mrs. Addie Bills in the amount of $5,000. Dedication was in October of 1971 with Reverend Paul Ray as Pastor. The total cost of this renovation project was $6,400.
David O’Brien is hired as pastor.
The church purchased a new organ.
The church voted to join the NACC (National Association of Congregational Churches.) In January of that year, land across from the church was purchased from the Wisconsin Power and Light (WP&L) Company for $250.
Robert Warmouth is hired as pastor. In April of 1979, Clara Simonson deeded us additional land adjoining the lots purchased from WP&L. As one of the LRCC pastors once said, “without a vision the people perish,” (Pastor Leeds.) It seemed as if the church didn’t have a vision and that it was slowly fading away. Sometimes the Lone Rock church couldn’t afford its share of the 40 percent expenses due the Spring Green church.
Another giant “step of faith” took place: The yoke between the Lone Rock and Spring Green churches were severed--a relationship that had been in place for 61 years--and it hired its own minister. The votes resulted in 25, yes and 15, no. It was also voted to build a new parsonage with the church borrowing $20,000 to begin this endeavor. The parsonage was to be built on the land previously purchased from the WP&L.
By July of 1979, Lone Rock had hired a full-time pastor, Reverend Robert Warmouth. The new parsonage was ready for his occupancy in the fall of 1979 and in September of that year, one month after the arrival of our new minister, Claudette Warmouth, wife of Reverend Robert Warmouth passed away. It was a sad beginning for the church’s new venture, but one that would not hold it down--only with pulling together as members, and with God’s help did the church succeed independently in its first year.
Another step taken during 1979, against all odds, was the opening of a thrift shop, located in the same building that the old youth center had occupied many years before. It was a marvelous success--a good money-maker for the church. The project was overseen by Lorna Carswell, a woman totally dedicated to its success, and to all the women and men of the church who willingly volunteered many hours of work through the years. The Thrift Shop continued to serve us until it was destroyed by fire in 1988. It was yet another blessing we received from the Lord.
New window coverings were installed to protect our beautiful and valuable stained glass windows.
Gerald C. Meyer—Lay Minister (licensed as Minister of God by board) is hired as pastor. Denny Leeds is hired as pastor. Another “Big Landmark” took place in 1983 when we notified the NACC that we would no longer need to accept their financial aid which we had been receiving since our separation from Spring Green. In fact, we would begin repaying what we had received from them. Although this is unnecessary, we felt we would use this as part of our mission work. Reverend Creighton (Craig) Peach was hired as pastor and has served to this day.
Pew cushions were recovered and refinished with help from the Service Guild. The average church attendance was 85 per Sunday. The parsonage was paid off and the mortgage burnt in June of 1984, a mere five years after the decision to build. Results of another step of faith.
The kitchen was remodeled once again, with new counter tops; two new sinks, two new ranges and new flooring. The walls of the basement are now beautifully paneled as well and new siding was added in 1992.
Our mission projects in 1993 included Steve and Cheryl Brewer, Jane White, Dave (former pastor) and Sheryl O’Brien and Mel Carlson.
On May 3, 1993, the celebration of the church’s 125th Anniversary,
For many years, our church has been truly blessed with great pastors—each one adding his best to this church. We have grown in the Lord, spiritually, as well as in number. The Lone Rock Community Congregational Church today is a pillar of the community. Its members thrive and grow in a warm, spiritual fellowship and are considered to be concerned, caring and full of compassion and love for fellow man. This can only be because we are led by the Lord and follow His bidding. He has truly blessed this congregation and all praise is His. We are grateful to Him and the many blessings He has given us.
Many dedicated people have unselfishly contributed in hundreds of ways to insure the “Big White Church on the corner” stays alive for future generations. A place to worship the Lord—may this ever be so—and if we, and those who follow, will continue to Love, Serve and Ask the Lord to supply all our needs . . . it will remain!
Installation of a wheelchair accessible elevator connecting to the main level to the lower level.
We continue to step out in faith and we continue to be blessed. Thank you, God.