History of St. Paul Lutheran, Grafton, Wisconsin
The founders of St. Paul congregation were German immigrants.
One of them, Mr. Karl Zeige, is known to have been a member of
Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Milwaukee. After moving to
Grafton in 1851, he asked his pastor, The Rev. Friedrich Lochner,
to come to Grafton to conduct services. St. Paul's first
constitution was signed on July 28, 1851 by nine men. The
congregation joined the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in 1853.
From its very beginning, St. Paul congregation operated and
supported a Christian Day School. During the first several decades
the pastors served also as teacher in the one-room school.
After worshiping in several temporary locations (one of them
being the stone-block building located on the corner of 12th &
Bridge), a combination church and school was built in 1857. When
this building burned down some years later, a new church was built
and dedicated in the year 1871. This building, located just west of
the railroad tracks on Hwy. 60, served the congregation almost 100
years. It was razed in 1971.
The present church structure was dedicated in December of 1967.
A number of items from the old church have been incorporated into
the present building. These include the figure of Christ and the
Last Supper panel, both of which had been part of the altar in the
old church; the stained glass windows; the baptismal font, and the
pipe organ which was redesigned and expanded. The tower bells were
purchased in 1892 and weigh 1,775 pounds, 1000 pounds, and 600
The congregation owned three homes; all of which were located on
the 15 acre campus. The two older two story homes were built in
1903, and the ranch style home was built in 1959. The congregation
retains ownership of these homes for use by various staff members.
These were razed for the construction of The Providence Place, a
Christian Senior Community.
Over the years the congregation has always been supportive of
the Christian Day School. The current enrollment is over 350
students, taught by 17 teachers in 16 classrooms, under the
leadership of Principal Michael Yurk. Mr.Yurk took over as
Principal in July of 2008.
Over a period of more than 164 years the congregation has been
served by nineteen pastors. No history of the congregation is
complete without the mention of the Rev. Dr. John D. Schroeder. He
served St. Paul from 1903 to 1948.
While the growth of the congregation over the years was slow and
steady, the congregation more than doubled in size since 1955. This
growth was in direct proportion to the growth of the village and to
the vigorous evangelistic efforts of the Rev. E. L. Burfeind who
served the congregation from 1955 through 1974.
The current pastors of St. Paul, Pastor Scott Kruse,
Senior Pastor, Pastor Luke Anderson, Associate Pastor, Larry Prahl,
Pastor Emeritus, and John Suelflow, Pastor Emeritus, Kenton
Wendorf, Pastor Emeritus, continue a line of fine, dedicated
pastors of this congregation. Pastor Suelflow was installed in
1967, Pastor Prahl in 1988, Pastor Wendorf in 2003, Pastor Kruse in
2013 and Pastor Anderson in 2016.