The History of Our Saviour's UCC
Beginnings in 1863
Our church’s humble beginnings began in the year 1863 - the same year our Country was fighting a Civil War, and 12 years after the founding of Ripon College. A group of Prussian Immigrants requested the transfer of their citizenship to the United States and moved to Ripon WI, a newly formed town after the recent collapse of the Ceresco Commune, also known as the Wisconsin Phalanx.
After a cold January, February 1st, 1864, Rev. Thiele became our first resident pastor confirmed by the Church Council, agreeing upon our name of the First Lutheran Church. During his Pastorate, the site for our church was chosen, and the church itself was built with stone from the Ripon Quarries - a 36x52ft building with a basement for a school, topped with a graceful spire. Our very first church building was quite different from what we worship in today.
Fun Fact of Ripon - In May of 1866, with the church construction nearly completed, one Sunday morning, Rev.Theile preached a sermon on drunkenness, and as a result, some of his enemies took his buggy to the woods near the college and demolished it with an axe. He was given a voluntary contribution that made it possible to repair the buggy, however, a week later was found to not align completely with the Church’s Constitution Committee, and was asked to leave the church. With the help of a few members who decided to follow Rev.Theile, they moved across town, and decided to form their own church, as we know today as Grace Lutheran Church! We promise our Congregation is much nicer nowadays, and Pastor Kevin’s car has not been axed in the South Woods.
The Church is Built... But Who Leads Us?
With Rev.Thiele no longer with us, and the church construction completed, the church began its search for a new pastor. In this period, referred to as the “Sturm & Drang” period,
a series of brief pastorates are noted. Rev.Robert Conrad was installed on April 2nd, 1869, and Rev.Ankele was installed on June 25th, 1870. Over their brief years, Rev.Ankele helped connect the church with the Evangelical Synod of North America which would supply our future pastors. Both Pastors would share their sermons in German, for their German service, and an English Service. Without a clear vision, our church continued to move through history unsure of our next steps.
This would be true until May 20th, 1878, when one of the most notable ministers joined our Congregation. Rev. Carl Dalies. Arriving to a divided congregation, a looming debt of a brand new church building, and weaker leadership in the Sturm and Drang period, it all rested on his shoulders whether The First Lutheran Evangelical Church would succeed.
Rev. Carl Dalies
During his Pastorate, his compassion and love for God were felt amongst the community, and we saw the greatest growth we’d seen as a church thus far.
With a multitude of families joining the church, the Council decided it was necessary to begin building; a new altar, pulpit, and pews were installed. The interior was refurnished
and redecorated; our stained glass window of the children and Jesus was installed, and our first pipe organ was added. Over his 30 years of ministry at the church, a parsonage was built
for him and his family, along with a home for the school teacher for the newly organized German school. In 1908, Rev.Carl Dalies handed to his successor a congregation of over 300 families, free from debt. He shortly passed away in 1911 and would be greatly missed not only by the Congregation but the community of Ripon.
We welcome any and all photographs that members would like to share with us. They will be scanned onto the website, and returned to you in good condition.
75th Anniversary Booklet(1938)
Centennial Booklet (1963)
Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ
Northeast Wisconsin Assoc., UCC