Lutheran Church

St. Peter

Reflections and Comments on the Brunsville Church Centennial 

     It was so good to see how many of the members, former members, and friends of the church came out to celebrate.  It was also a joy to hear so many fond memories shared; memories of enjoying good times and fellowship with each other, as well hearing from folks who found faith here through God’s Word for their lives. 

     Now with 100 years behind us, it is important to continue to share the Bible message of Christ’s love and encourage fellowship with each other. That is true especially so at St. Peter’s Lutheran where the door is open with a warm welcome invitation to come join the congregation in Christian worship and fellowship!

-- Submitted by Cheryl Oetken  -  Member of the Centennial Oganizing Committee

     I have warm memories of the Brunsville Community VBS! It was started in 1998 by a small group of church volunteers. The kids loved it! Hard work but very satisfying. It was a very positive Christian experience for all of us!
-- Submitted by Kate

     One of the special events I remember growing up in the Brunsville Church was our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. It was exciting to go out late on a cold Christmas Eve and celebrate Jesus birth as a church. I remember watching the nervous candle lighters illuminate the Iron Christmas Trees, hearing the Christmas message, and singing our favorite Christmas Carols together. At the close was the very special time of passing the flame from one candle to the next and singing Silent Night. I have since been at many Christmas Eve Services but none of them compared to the special feeling of the Candlelight Services at Brunsville Church.
-- Submitted by Charlene (Jelken) Laflin

     One of the main reasons I moved back to the area is because of St. Peter. I was baptized and confirmed there. I'm blessed to own a home so close to St. Peter that if I ever have a bad day, I simply look out my back window to catch sight of the church.
-- Submitted by Susan Willer

     The St. Peter congregation has made me feel like family since I joined the church 7 years ago. It's a wonderful place to worship and I would like to say congratulations on 100 years and here's to another 100!
-- Submitted by Barry Poe

     Was baptized, confirmed and married there!
-- Submitted by Debra (Albright) Pick

     I have always enjoyed visiting your church! They are always so welcoming. I also enjoyed the contents of the sermons and the kindness of the congragation. Hope to be back soon.
-- Submitted by Mary Poe (Barry Poe's mother)

     I look back in amazement on the dedication to serve the Lord by so many in the St. Peter family, especially those that made sure we were being formed in our faith in Sunday school, catechism class and VBS. That seed that was planted all those years ago continues to grow today.
-- Submitted by Stu Dickman

     Here are some musings from Gene Dickman on his memories of St. Peter Lutheran: He recalls church services in the "old" church when the ladies would sit on the west side of the sanctuary, with the men sitting on the east side. Most of the young boys occupied the back pew. There was a time when he and Willis Popken were kicked out of bible school by Pastor Flentje. (No details of what occurred were divulged.) Dad remembered a Brunsville flood that flooded the church basement and the piano was floating in the water. When Aunt Lillian Harms played the organ, a second person would have to turn a wheel on the side of the organ to get air into the air chamber. He recalled Mission Fest Sundays growing up with a picnic on the church grounds with ice cream and there would be games for the kids to play. Dad and mom lived in Merrill during the time of the construction of the current church, but he recalls making many trips to Brunsville to check out the progress of the construction on the "new" church. He remembered attending the dedication with mom. Dad recalled the men of the church putting on oyster stew dinners in the current church.
-- Submitted by Gene Dickman by Stu

    Why do I love St. Peter's Lutheran Church?  Because some of my fondest memories of growing up took place there. From the Sunday School Christmas programs, VBS, Thursday night catechism classes, Sunday School classes throughout the years, and Sunday worship, these are memories I carry in my heart. I can still see in my mind where everyone sat in their particular pew. I can see the candles on the iron Christmas trees being lit before the Sunday School Christmas programs. I can still recite the books of the Bible, Old and New Testament like clockwork, (thank you Carol Albright, Juanita Jelken, and Deloris Harms for all your patience) I still have my Luther's Small Catechism, my Bible that was given to me in 2nd grade, and countless memories from all the years I went to St.Peter's. My faith was instilled and formed by my parents and and my "Church family" and has stayed with me all these years. Happy 100th Anniversary St. Peter's! 
-- Submitted by Debra (Renken) Ahlers

     St. Peter's was the church I grew up in. I was baptized, confirmed & got married there. All four of my children where baptized there also. It will always hold a special place in my heart. We go there still on special occasions. So Thankful & Blessed to call St. Peter's my home town church!
--submitted by Jackie Rieken

     My heaven on earth as a child!!   -  Submitted by Kari (Oetken) Lang

The following memories were submitted by Bill Renken:
     As a life long member of the St Peter’s Lutheran Church, Bill remembers going to Church and Sunday School in the Old Church. Two of the teachers he remembers were Willis Harms and Lucile Pluger. He was confirmed with Darrel Oltmanns by Rev. A.F. Zenk. He remembers Oyster Suppers in the basement of the Old Church to raise money for the Building Fund. He said the men helped and there were times when the milk in the Oyster Stew would burn. He also remembers the men washing the dishes in the coal room because it was so crowded. Bill says that the Brotherhood men played darts and had tournaments with other churches in the area. He remembers that Elmer Wilken was good at darts and would often come home with a trophy. Bill says he has helped with the snow removal around the church since he was 12 years old and continued helping for over 65 years. He was also a “life long usher” and taught Sunday School when he was younger. He remembers in 1967 there were 86 kids enrolled in Sunday School and they had to use every room in the church for classes. Bill also said that his wife Janice taught Sunday School, Catechism, and was an ALCW Leader. Bill has many other fond memories of the church and is looking forward to reminiscing with other church members at the Centennial.

     Being involved at church and all the church activities was very important to our family growing up. I remember being active in Junior and Luther League and the various fund raisers we had to raise money to send a few us to the National Luther League Conventions. Special memories I have about Junior and Luther League are the Talent Shows, Ice Cream Socials, and Halloween Parties. At the Halloween Parties they had a “fishing” game we could play where someone behind a blanket would clothes pin a prize to our fishing line. It was the only time I really liked fishing. I remember going to Sunday School and feeling so grown up when our class was finally the Senior Class and we got the honor of having class in the Upper Room Classroom. I know that all those church activities took a lot of work and I appreciate the commitment from all the parents and the whole congregation.
-- Submitted by Elner Jelken


     I have many special memories growing up in my hometown Brunsville church, from Sunday school, Christmas programs, to my confirmation. One of the first pastors I can remember, Pastor Al, made me a wooden letter "R" that I still have to this day. I remember being so excited to get the brown paper sack of goodies following the Christmas program. I was so proud of my first personalized bible I received with my confirmation. I will treasure my memories of having my daughter baptized in this church, as well as standing up for the baptisms of my brothers' children and the daughter of my best friend.
-- Submitted by Rebecca Rieken

Front Row: Margaret Krienert, Sheryl Guenther, Mary Kay Herzberg.

Middle Row: Barry Wilken, Pastor Salge, Brett Oetken.

Back  Row: Dennis Waddell, Gary Waddell, Darrell Blackmore, Mike Willer .

(submitted by Barry Wilken)

1982 Luther League Convention

In 1982, the St. Peter's Luther League traveled by chartered bus with St. John’s Lutheran of Le Mars to the ELCA Luther League Convention in San Antonio, Texas.  

Pictured from left to right: Pastor Al, Tammy Oetken Whalen, Peggy Dickman (chaperone), Max T Utesch, Terry Willer . (Backrow) Lori Less Pedrick, Debra Renken Ahlers, Stu Dickman, Kevin Borchers.  (submitted by Stu Dickman)

Front Row: Marilyn Albright, Janice Plueger

Middle Row: Patsy Donnel, Carol Gronemeyer, Barbara Oltmanns, Carol Willer 

Back Row: Alwayne Oetken, Bill Renken, Larry Plueger, Charles Willer, Darrell Oltmanns 

Attendance Pin

Perfect attendance at Sunday School was recognized with an Attendance Pin and an additional bar for each year after that.

Confirmation Class 1971

Front Row: Donna Stinton, Rebecca Held, Elner Jelken

Back Row: Philip Kreinert, Jay Willer, Jerry Varenhorst, Pastor Rossing, Greg Jelken, Mark Brooks, Scott Dickman.

St. Peter's Lutheran

The Brunsville Church Cookbook was a collection of favorite recipes from the ladies of the church.

There are more pages from the cookbook in the Photo Gallery.

If any one has any more information or memories about the cookbook please let us know.

Cookbook Forward

505 Pine St Brunsville, Iowa


"...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matt 28:20


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