Rev. Tim Mueller, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in New Minden, Illinois, joins Andy to talk about the history of St. John’s (a charter congregation of the LCMS), the original timber-frame structure that served the congregation, events in 2013 that impacted the 1847 structure, and the upcoming event to raise the 1847 structure again.
“Church Raising” at St. John’s, New Minden
St. John’s Lutheran Church, New Minden, Illinois, announces that, God willing, its 1847 timber-frame church will once again be raised on Saturday, May 7, 2022. The 20’ x 33’ building was flattened in the tornado that struck New Minden November 17, 2013. When the interior is completed, the building will be dedicated as the “Jesus Sends You Missionary Chapel.” Comments Tim Mueller, Pastor of St. John’s, “When the tornado hit, our church and community were richly blessed with help from many people in Southern Illinois, the St. Louis region, and all over the country. We want to share our joy as this last item of the rebuild is put back in place. Thanks be to God!”
Project Manager Tom Polczynski of Nashville, assisted by Donovan Holle of Hoyleton, and other volunteers have been diligently working to refurbish and reassemble the timbers. They have been aided by the diligence of original builders Heinrich Kasten and Christian Brink, who 175 years ago carved matching Roman numerals where pieces were to be joined. Like the original builders, those working on the structure 175 years later are all volunteers.
When originally constructed, Pastor C.F.W. Scholz and his bride lived behind a partition wall twelve feet from the west wall. During the six years (1847-1853) they lived in that 12’ by 20’ space, two sons were born to them. The 20’ by 20’ space on the other side of the partition served as both church and school. By 1853, as both the congregation and the Pastor’s family were growing, the partition was removed and a separate house provided for the Pastor and his family. The entire building was then dedicated for use as a church. The rebuilding project aims to reproduce the configuration of the building at that time (1853), though visitors will readily see where the original partition was. After a stone church was built in 1863 (still used as the house of worship), the timber-frame building was used solely as a school building. When another school building was built in 1879, the timber-frame building served as a classroom for the lower grades. In 1920 this use was discontinued when all grades were housed in the present-day Schoolhouse. From 1920 until 2013, the building served as a tool shed. In 2013 the building was moved to a new site for restoration, where the tornado took it down before it could be properly anchored.
Though built with historic components, the building is being rebuilt for modern use, with handicapped accessibility and modern heating and cooling. It is envisioned as an intimate venue for worship and other meetings. Pastor Mueller explains the name, the “Jesus Sends You Missionary Chapel”: “This building is really all about Jesus. After He rose from the dead He told His disciples, ‘As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.’ The first pastor who came here from Germany was a missionary, trained and sent by the faithful over there in order to preach and teach the Good News of Jesus, the Savior, over here. Jesus is the Son of God who was sent from the Father to save the world with His life, death, and resurrection. This same Jesus sent Pastor Scholz, not to India (where he first wanted to go), but to our ancestors, these pioneers in southern Illinois. We believe that Jesus is still sending each of us today into the world; we pray that visitors to this little church will remember what Jesus has done for them and ask, ‘To whom is Jesus sending me?’ ‘How can I share the love of Jesus in word and deed?’ ‘On what mission is He sending me?’ It may simply be He is sending you back home to your family members and neighbors and the people with whom you work, but surely He has someone in mind who needs His love and the Good News of His forgiveness.”
Note: weather conditions and other factors could perhaps cause the event to be rescheduled. To confirm these events, and for more details, contact Pastor Tim Mueller (Cell: 618-314-3972). For more documentation regarding the history of the building and its future use, see the two attached documents.
Have a topic you’d like to hear about on The Coffee Hour? Contact Andy Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314-996-1519.