John Gruenberg
Thomas Hetzner
August Guenther
Christoph Schmidt
Michael Schmoll
Michael Rubner
Leonard Kolb
David Heldele
Michael Hetzner
George Klemann
Frederick Schroeder
Paul Klemann
Andreas Hetzner
CHARTER MEMBERS OF ST. JOHN'S
HISTORY
In 1861, Lutheran emigrants who had settled in and about Peru built the first Lutheran church in Peru.  The original church was located on West Second Street.  St. John's Christian Day School was established in 1860.  The school has been a prominent factor in the development and growth of the congregation.  In 1875, our present building was erected on West Main Street.  The original church was remodeled into a two-room school which was very adequate at that time.  Thirty years later, in 1905, the demands of the school outgrew the small two-room building.  A two-story brick parish hall was erected for the cost of $11,000.















In the 1934 voters' meeting, the school principal, Paul Seibel, reported that the floors in the hall and schoolrooms were in need of repair.  This let to the thought that the building should be modernized with new lights flooring and student desks.  It was finally decided to erect a new building located just East of the church on West Main Street.  In 1955, the Schmitt property was purchased, and in 1959, the Johnson property was acquired.  These properties, together with the lot of the former parsonage, formed the site for our present building.

In July, 1961, a planning committee was appointed and fund-raising began during November of 1962.  Ground-breaking began on April 21, 1963.  On April 5, 1965, the new school was dedicated.

In 1974, four classrooms were added to the east end of the school building. Also added were storage rooms and a Fellowship Room addition.  Dedication was held August 25, 1974.

In 1979, St. John's pipe organ, manufactured by the W. Zimmer Organ Company, Charlotte, N.C.  was dedicated.  The loft was remodeled to support and accommodate the organ.  The organ has 25 stops and 31 ranks, 2 manuals and pedal.

St. Johns school contained grades K-8 for many years, adding  preschool classes in the early 1990s. 

In 1991 the Base Realignment and Closure Commission selected Grissom AFB, Bunker Hill, IN,  for realignment to the Reserves. Consequently, the 305th was inactivated. With inactivation scheduled for October 1994, the PACCS mission and EC-135 aircraft were eliminated in May 1992, as the aircraft and crews were reassigned. In July 1993, the air refueling mission and the KC-135s of the 70th and 305th Air Refueling Squadrons were transferred, leaving the 305th with no flying mission.

The loss of active duty Air Force personnel impacted the population and economy of Peru, and St. John's school suffered a loss of students, which led to, first, closing grades 7-8, and finally only maintaining a Kindergarten and preschool.  Unable to be supported financially, these closed in 2006..

In 2008, a building utilization committee was formed to consider uses for the empty classrooms.  A decision was made to open a daycare and preschool.  It opened in August 2009 and by 2012 had an enrollment of about 50 children.







"Historical Highlights From the Past"
April 1869 Voters' Assembly Minutes
Pastor Jox informed the congregation that Mr. _____,  who was publicly known as a drunkard, had conducted himself in a most godless manner when he visited him and he asked the assembly what should be done. Mr. Chr. Schmidt was delegated to invite Mr. _____ to appear in the next meeting.
(Mr. _____ failed to appear at a later meeting, and since failed to curb his drunkenness, was excommunicated).
MAY 1869 Voters' Assembly Minutes
The question now came up about what to do about members who send their children to the public school. It was stated that parents who did not send their children to the Christian day school were not obeying the word of Scripture "Bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord". However, it was also stated that one could not say that such parents weren't Christian because they could teach to the children at home all the things necessary for eternal salvation. However, if this is done, is the question, if parents send their children to the public school and do not instruct them in God's Word, they are sinning against God and the congregation and the child. Such a person should be reprimanded.
Other resolutions passed were:  paint the church, erect a new chimney, and instructed the trustees to procure wood for next year.
MARCH 1870
Pastor Strieter was requested to draw up a constitution for the congregation.
The auditing committee reported that it had examined the financial record and found it in order.
It was decided that in some future meeting a discussion be had on who may be buried from the church and which ones not.

MAY 1870
The trustees were instructed to inspect the summer kitchen at the parsonage, which at present is in such bad repair as to be unusable and see to the necessary repairs.
The pastor reported that Widow ________, a communicant member of our church, had been deprived of a home by her son, and had come to the pastor with her complaint and a wish that a room could be found for her where she could live.
Mr. ______ volunteered to take the widow into his home, cost free, for a month 'til a room could be found for her. The congregation expressed a willingness to pay her rent.

JULY 1870
Decided that school vacation should be from July 17 to Sept. 1.
Decided that the trustees should inspect the outhouse and make the necessary repairs.

SEPTEMBER 1870
It was reported that the rent for the room for Widow ____ was paid to Sept. 15.

JANUARY 1871

Financial report July 1, 1870 to January 1, 1871.
Receipts $495.00
Expenses $415.00
Balance $ 80.00

MARCH 1871
The chairman announced that the purpose of this meeting was to deal with the case of Mr. _____. The pastor thereupon gave the following report:
Shortly after I arrived in Peru in 1869;  Mr. _____ in the company of others, expressed the opinion that he did not believe there was a devil;  but that he wished that there could be discussion meetings where everyone could express his ideas. We heeded this request and throughout the winter had sessions in the parsonage every Wednesday night, 8-10 people being present.  

In a series of discussions, the Scriptural teachings regarding the devil were thoroughly detailed.   However, Mr. _____ remained unconvinced. We finally decided to move to other topics of discussion and give Mr. ________ time to consider his standpoint. In the summer of 1870 , I spoke to Mr. _____ several times privately, not in an argumentative way, but pastorally, pointing out to him that by his position, he was in danger of losing his soul, and also that because he did not believe the clear words of Scripture, he could not attend Holy Communion, which he had not been doing anyway.

Near the beginning of 1871 I spoke to him again privately in the parsonage where I had invited him and his wife. But now, he revealed the rankest unbelief, he spoke blasphemously of Jesus, that Jesus was only a mere man like he was, that the Bible was not God's Word but only a book of history, that preachers were misleading the people and that what they preached was not in the Bible.                                                 


Rev. Klaus Stuerken
In honor of St. John's Sesquicentennial, the committee would like to share the obituary that was referred to by Rev. Robert Smith in his sermon, April 27th, regarding Rev. Klaus Stuerken.

The following is an attempt at a literal (hence, wooden or stilted) translation of the German obituary that is located at the Ft. Wayne Seminary Library.  It was translated in Sept 2006 by a son of the congregation who has been a seminarian, field worker and now part - time vicar at his home congregation.
1820-1907
Again has the Lord of the church called home one of our fathers, who since the year 1848, thus putting him at and belonging to our synod at its beginning, and although he the last 19 years of his life in retirement has been brought to, stood, deceased Pastor Klaus Stuerken.  He was on 9 Oct 1820 in Kohlen, Hannover born and matriculated in the village school in Delbstedt, wherein his parents were staying.  They were poor, so he had to from early youth help with acquiring the daily bread.  "In my 18th year", he himself writes, "I learned that I was a poor sinner and knew the Lord Jesus as my Savior."  Later awoke in him the desire to preach the Gospel to the heathen, and through the mediation of believing pastors, he entered into the Dresden Missionhouse.  Four years after that he joined the Preaching Office Candidate Foreign Society and was sent to America, where in July 1848 he arrived and was given hospitality by Dr. Sihler in Ft. Wayne, IN. 

Soon Stuerken received a call from the Lutheran congregation in Logansport, IN where he in October of the same year traveled out to.  There he joined himself in July 1849 with Miss Magarete Hattasch and was married by Professor Walther (THE founding father of LCMS out of St. Louis who apparently made the trip via canal boat.  FACT:  The canal was opened in 1847, according to the Ft. Wayne seminary librarian, Robert Smith.  The translator assumes that the bride was from Logansport and that the wedding was in Logansport. It may not have been.  The wedding party may have traveled all the way by canal and river boat all the way to St. Loius to be married by Prof Walther, whom it can be assumed must have been a close enough friend to Rev Stuerken for someone to make a long wedding trip in those days.) 

In Logansport he worked 16 years long with dedication and great faithfulness, until he in Nov 1864 followed a call to at the time a newly formed Immanuel's congregation in Baltimore, Md.  He held the first divine service in an old fire-engine house.  And he made himself unwearied without collections and lived soon the great joy that a beautiful, big church became built.  With the same diligence and the same carefulness and truthfulness as in Logansport he worked also in Baltimore in his preaching office 24years long and saw also the fruit of his labor, a beautiful growth and outblooming of his congregation.  For the sake of a lingering illness (Rheumatitis) he laid down at the end of 1888 his office and lived after 1891 following the death of his second wife - the first in 1874 through a fall cellar steps down came to an early death - the last 16 years with his son - in - law in the midst of St. Paul's congregation.  As long as he  was able to walk, was he even so regular as attentive listener in divine service in the morning as in the evening.  As the weakness of age compelled him more, first at evening and then gradually in the morning to remain in house and finally to stay away entirely, was to him a bitter suffering.  In other respects he lived a restful, blessed life's end with his kind, loving, caring, and attentive children. 

He held a lively, warm interest for our synod and her welfare and her ways.  He prayed diligently for her.  He read not only "Der Lutheraner", "Lehre und Wehre" (Teachings and Defense), but also all synod reports and also the Luther's writings; for as broken became his body, so fresh remained his spirit.  Only the memory laid him somewhat in a knot.  In his last years was he so broken that he the whole day from early until late sat on his chair and all meals had to be brought him in his room.  However, he could read to his joy still always.  He was a truly pious, God-blessed old man' his mouth flowed over with honor and praise of his God and his passionate love for Him and His Word.  Elegantly mild was his end:  under the buzzard's eye (perhaps a better word could be found but that's what my dictionary said) and the prayers of his urgently called Pastor, he fast slept into an attack of great weakness without apparent death battle or death fear.  A smile appeared on his face as he saw that his Lord Jesus was not forgetting him.

His death day was the 17 October, his age 87 years and 8 days and on October 19 he was buried out of St. Paul's Church.  Also many of his former parishioners out of the Immanuel congregation took part in the funeral service, and his replacement at this congregation, P. Stiemke, spoke a commemoration speech on Heb 13:7.  The undersigned held a funeral oration over what was the deceased own chosen text 1 Tim 1:15-16.  Still on his death bed he sang with broken voice:  "Not more glory - from me makes - but it is certainly true - that Christ Jesus - has come into the world - the sins to make blessed, -- of which I have undertaken.  However, therefore - is to me mercy befallen."  His body is buried at the God's acre (cemetery) of Immanuel congregation next to both of his wives and rests now there, a single seed awaiting the joyful resurrection. (Submitted by) Chr. Kuhn Der Lutheraner, p. 424 (Translated by) K. L. Clausing.