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 pounds.

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 170 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, Rev. Luke Anderson, Associate Pastor; Rev. Dr. Timothy Maschke, Associate Pastor of Care Ministry; Larry Prahl, Pastor Emeritus; John Suelflow, Pastor Emeritus; and 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 Anderson in 2016 and  Rev. Dr. Timothy Maschke in 2018.