Brief History of Zion
Before the turn of the twentieth century, many Lutherans lived in the southwestern area of Bay City known as Salzburg and nearby Monitor Township, but they had to travel to worship. Other local Lutheran congregations included St. Paul in Frankenlust Township founded in 1849 and Immanuel Lutheran on Lincoln Street at Tenth Street on the east side of the river founded in 1861.
In November 1900, The Rev. Dr. Carl F. Graebner of Immanuel Lutheran Church started a Sunday School (or Bible Class) on Salzburg Avenue to serve the many members of his parish who lived on the west side of the river. Soon it was evident that a separate parish would be beneficial to serving the spiritual needs of these Lutherans living in the Salzburg area. So on July 23, 1901, Dr. Graebner and charter members Johan Michael Arnold, Richard Born, Johan Hufnagel, Johan F. Loessel, August Rahn, Friedrich Reichard, Heinrich Ruhlig, Gustav Stroemer, Otto Stroemer, Rudolf Stroemer, and Ferdinand Wendt, all of who were originally members of Immanuel incorporated as Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of West Bay City. Soon other Lutherans who lived in the area and had been members of either St. Paul Frankenlust or St. John West Bay City joined the new congregation, which affiliated itself with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
The congregation’s first house of worship was a wooden frame building at the corner of Ivy and Kiesel Streets previously used as the Salzburg Band Hall in the Salzburg area of what was then West Bay City. It was purchased for $1,500, and decorated as a church for $70. A used organ was bought for $100. After addition of a steeple and pews, and laying of a cornerstone, the building was dedicated as a church on June 15, 1902.
Membership grew rapidly in the years leading up to and following World War I and by the mid-1920’s it became necessary to plan and build a new church. The present house of worship, dedicated on November 23, 1930, is a Gothic structure of Massachusetts granite standing on the corner of Ivy and Kiesel Streets.
Worship was first conducted only in the German Language. Soon English services were occasionally held as well until in 1932 English service attendees outnumbered German service attendee. However, services were conducted in both German and English languages until 1964, when the last regularly scheduled German service was held.
Zion has supported a parochial day school since early in its history. In November, 1903, the congregation purchased the Salzburg District School from St. Paul Frankenlust. This school, which had been formed in 1883, came with a school building, a teacher’s house and a teacher. It was located on what is now Woodland Avenue between Kiesel and Raymond Streets.
In 1916, a larger red brick schoolhouse was build to replace the old frame structure. This building was located on the northwest corner of Ivy and Raymond Streets. In addition to four classrooms where eight grades were taught, the new building contained a second-floor auditorium, stage, kitchen, and basement bowling alleys.
As World War II was drawing to a close, the congregation decided to prepare for the coming baby boom with a new school facility as well as a parish hall with a gymnasium. This was intended to serve the needs of the various groups and organizations within the congregation. In October of 1949, the current school building was dedicated and named the Zion Lutheran Memorial Building in tribute to the men and women of Zion who served in World War II. It provided the congregation with five classrooms, a gymnasium, three meeting rooms, an administrative office, a kitchen, a dining room, and eight bowling alleys. In 1957, an addition with three more classrooms, a faculty workroom and a full basement was added to the south side of the building to accommodate the over 300 students then enrolled in the day school. Zion Lutheran School currently serves the academic excellence needs of children from preschool through the eighth grade.
Music is a vibrant part of Zion’s historical and current identity. In the past, Zion has had an organized band, mixed adult, children’s, treble and male choirs. Now Zion is home to an orchestra, school band, handbell choir, men’s choir, a mixed choir, children’s choirs for all age groups, and a contemporary Worship praise team.
Social organizations, too, have played a strong role in Zion’s ministry, offering fellowship and providing financial support for ministry projects through its groups of women, men, couples, families, and youth. The Zion Ladies Guild has been a ministry for over 100 years. The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and the Lutheran Layman’s League have had active chapters at Zion for many years. Couples organizations like the Friendship Club (formerly Mr and Mrs) and the Couples Club (formerly the Young Married Couples Club) provide social interaction for their membership. Zion has also chartered a Boy Scout Troop for over 50 years, a Cub Scout Pack for over 40 years, and a Girl Scout Troop for many years on and off. Reaching out to the community, Zion participates regularly in the Saginaw Valley Blood Program, Bay County Food Pantry, and CROP Walk.
Within the Lutheran community, Zion has been instrumental in the establishment of three other Lutheran churches in Bay County: Faith in Bangor Township, Pilgrim in Essexville and Mt. Olive in northwest Bay City.
Over the past century, eleven pastors, five pastoral assistants, one interim pastor, five vicars, ten principals and over ninty-five teachers have served Zion Congregation. Many men have been confirmed at Zion and gone on to serve God and his church as ordained ministers. As well as many men and women being confirmed and going on to serve God and his church as Commissioned Lutheran School Teachers.
In 2001, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bay City, Michigan, celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding on July 23, 1901.
In 1883, the congregation of St. Paul Frankenlust recognized that the German children living within the Salzburg area of (the West Bay City) needed a school. It was over two miles from Salzburg to Frankenlust and almost the same to either St. John’s Lutheran School in West Bay City or to Immanuel Lutheran, across the river in Bay City.
That year the congregation of St. Paul-Frankenlust bought two lots in Salzburg on the west side of what is now Raymond Avenue and the east side of Kiesel between Salzburg and Woodland Avenues. The lots cost $900 and a school building was constructed also for $900.
Johann Georg Appold (1860-1935), a native of Frankenlust was called to be headmaster. In 1884, a teacher’s residence was built on the second of the two lots on Kiesel. It was a one-story structure that cost $650 to construct.
As the German Lutheran population of Salzburg increased, so did attendance at the Branch school. “Lady Teachers” were hired to assist with the lower grades and to teach the English language. Miss Catherine Olive Felker a native of Monitor Township served from about 1893-1900 and Miss Caroline Mackensen served in this capacity in turn from 1901-1906. Miss Mackensen went on to serve as a public school teacher and principal in the Frankenlust/Monitor Fractional School District at the “Brooks School” and “Sugar School” and Mackensen Elementary School was later dedicated to her honor.
The Lutheran residents of Salzburg were members of Immanuel, St. Paul and St. John during the last years of the 19th Century. While the attendance of school children at the Branch School approached 100 (with only two teachers) there still was no home church in Salzburg.
In about 1880 the Concordia Band of St. Paul Frankenlust secured a band hall in Salzburg for practice and performance. This hall was on the corner of current day Ivy and Kiesel Streets. The band had been formed in 1874 under the direction of public school teacher Johann Heinrich Kurz in Frankenlust. When Kurz left the area Kantor Johann Georg Leonhard Himmler (1840-1911) assumed the leadership of the band until 1899 when he retired from St. Paul. With the retirement of its leader the band dissolved but the band hall still remained in Salzburg.
In November 1900 two residents of Salzburg, Johann Friedrich Lössel (1860-1930) and Friedrich Heinrich Ruhlig (1864-1930) appealed to their congregation, Immanuel, to permit and encourage their pastor to organize a Sunday School in Salzburg. A “Sunday School” was not just for children in those days but consisted of Bible Study and lectures and sermons. The voters of Immanuel gave their consent, and in the afternoon of December 9, 1900, the first Sunday School was held at the Concordia Band Hall in Salzburg. This first meeting was well attended by adults and 35 children were enrolled in the junior Sunday School. Pastor C.F. Gräbner preached a sermon on this occasion.
From this point on, a Sunday School was held each Sunday afternoon at the Band Hall, with a sermon given every other week. Soon Lutherans from Salzburg and beyond were convinced that a congregation should be formed in Salzburg. An organizational meeting was held on the evening of Tuesday, July 23, 1901, at the Concordia Band Hall in Salzburg. The following men, all members of Immanuel Church, signed the charter that evening creating Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of West Bay City:
Johann Friedrich Lössel (1860-1930)
Friedrich Heinrich Ruhlig (1864-1930)
Heinrich August Rahn (1861-1944)
Johann Michael Arnold (1868-1955)
Richard Born (1851-1924)
Johann Stephen Hufnagel (1877-1937)
Friedrich Georg Reichard (1873-1970)
Gustav Johann Strömer (1861-1902)
Otto Thadeus Strömer (1866-1925)
Rudolf Heinrich Karl Strömer (1865-1958)
Ferdinand Friedrich August Wendt (1855-1920)
Thus with a nucleus of members Zion became a parish. They purchased the Salzburg Band Hall where they had been meeting since December 1900 from the defunct band members at a cost of $1500 ($850 was paid immediately with the remainder paid in installments). The building, 8 city lots, 2 stoves, 16 chairs and benches, plus some lamps were included in the purchase price.
By January 1902 the structure was redecorated into a Church at the cost of $70. A used freestanding organ was purchased from Immanuel Congregation for $100.
Shortly, after the Cornerstone Laying, a steeple was constructed to house Zion’s first bell, a gift from George T. Mueller. This bell proved unsatisfactory and was sent back to the manufacturer. A second bell, weighing 1275 pounds and made of bronze, was obtained. This bell is still in our present tower, it being the smallest of our current 3 bells.
Soon Lutherans from Salzburg and the area began to transfer their membership to the new congregation. By the end of 1902 there were 150 baptized and 80 confirmed members of the new parish. It was also in 1902 that Zion joined the Missouri Synod as a member congregation of the Michigan District.
Rev. Gräbner preached his last sermon at Zion on December 28, 1902. He had accepted a call to serve in Australia and so Zion no longer had a pastor. The first suggestion that Zion have it’s own resident Pastor came from Philip Born in September 1902. The Rev. J. George Nuechterlein (for many years later Pastor in Frankenlust) was called but he declined. At a special voters’ meeting on the evening of December 28, 1902, the members agreed to call the Rev. Eduard Wilhelm Bohn. He accepted the call and was installed here on January 11, 1903. A new and modern parsonage was built in early 1903 to accommodate the Bohn’s just east of the Church on what is now Ivy Street.
Rev. Bohn served Zion for six years, establishing the congregation as a permanent fixture in God’s Kingdom on earth. He preached his last sermon on November 17, 1907, having accepted a call to St. Clair, Michigan, near Port Huron.
During the six month interim, Zion sent out eight calls for a new pastor, but each in turn returned the call. Finally in May 1908 on the after returning two calls to Zion, Rev. Friedrich Heinrich Brunn, Jr. accepted the call to Zion and was installed on May 10, 1908.
Pastor Brunn undertook the tasks of enlarging and rededicating our first church, purchasing an electrically operated pipe organ (1912), erecting in 1916-17 our former red brick school, followed by two teacher’s residences and the beginning of the fund raising efforts to build our present church. These tasks and many others were successfully completed.
During World War I Pastor Brunn was very active in showing that we at Zion were loyal Americans. He spoke frequently at bond raising drives and urged the full support of congregational members in national affairs. He fervently desired to promote Americanism. Interestingly, during this time, regular English services were begun at Zion.
On July 24, 1927 Pastor Brunn preached his farewell sermon at Zion. When he left to go to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Rockford, Illinois; our Congregation consisted of 590 communicants, 175 voters and 120 children in the Christian Day School. Therefore, our Congregation more than doubled in his 19 years in our midst.
When Pastor Brunn took his call to Rockford, the congregation called Rev. Herman A. Mayer of International Falls, Minnesota. Mayer was installed as Zion’s third resident pastor on September 10, 1927.
The idea of a permanent, beautiful, solid church had been on the minds of many people for a long time before our present church was constructed. A “Church Building Fund” was begun as early as 1906, but began in earnest in the 1920’s under Rev. Brunn’s leadership. The dedication of the current church building was conducted on November 30, 1930, in the midst of the Great Depression, with both Pastors Mayer and Brunn in attendance.
Pastor Mayer served faithfully from 1927 until 1946 when he took a call to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Missions of the Missouri Synod in St. Louis, Missouri. During Mayer’s pastorate, the membership of the congregation had grown from 590 communicants to 958.
Rev. Herman Friedrich Zehnder of Zion Lutheran Church of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, was called as our fourth resident pastor, and it turns out, our last bi-lingual pastor. Zehnder was installed on September 22. 1946.
Zehnder was very involved in many aspects of both church and community. He was renowned as an expert in stewardship, having co-authored the Kurth-Zehnder Stewardship Plan widely used in Missouri Synod congregations and elsewhere for many years. He was Vice-Chairman of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Church Extension Board from 1953-1973 during one of the greatest periods of church growth the synod has experienced. He was a Vice President of the Michigan District and a frequent and popular speaker at Lutheran Layman’s League seminars. In 1975 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by the faculty of the Concordia Seminary St. Louis, Missouri.
Zehnder was also a member of the Kiwanis Club and was on the committee of community leaders that formed Delta College.
Under Zehnder’s direction, Zion became the sponsor for over 500 displaced persons after World War II. These persons, mostly of German decent whose families had moved to Eastern Europe before the war were now refugees from the communist east. Many of the families made Zion their home for a period of time while adjusting to their new homeland. A few families remain members of Zion to this day.
In 1957 it was decided that with the congregation nearing 2000 souls and weekend attendance over 900 that it was time to call a full time Assistant Pastor. Former vicar Lowell Henry “Bud” Rusch was called and installed on August 4, 1957.
It was during Rusch’s tenure that Pastor Zehnder’s health became an issue. Suffering from overwork, stress and fatigue, Zehnder was incapacitated for several months during 1960 and 1961. It was also during this period that Zion’s largest confirmation class was confirmed 79 students in 1960 and 83 in 1961 for which Rusch was the primary instructor of catechesis. Zehnder returned to full duty in late 1961.
When Rusch took a call 0n March 4, 1962, Zion waited for a year to call Rev. James David Fackler from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He was installed on July 21, 1963. Fackler only served a little over six months at Zion, until February 9, 1964.
When Fackler left, recent seminary graduate, Rev. John William Rauh was called. He was installed on July 19, 1964. Rauh and his wife Lavern became the last residents to move into the parsonage at 508 West Ivy Street. In 1958, the congregation had sold a lot on Kiesel Street to Pastor Zehnder so that he could build his own home.
Baptized membership at Zion peaked in 1962 at 2115 and average weekend attendance in 1961 at 1132, but now in 1964 both membership and attendance were beginning their long decline. Part of this was due to the opening of Faith Lutheran Church in 1960. Many of the members of Faith had been members of Zion. But also the “60’s” was beginning its social toll on the church. Conservative anything did not fare well during this decade. School enrollment at Zion peaked in 1964 with 312 students but 1963 and 1965 each had 311. Sunday School attendance peaked also in 1964 with 613 regular attendees! Now the baby boom (1946-1964) was ending and families were not staying in one place. Many families that had been in the Saginaw Valley for generations were now moving to other parts of the country for better jobs and opportunities. German services were also discontinued in 1964, this was because of low attendance, but it still had an emotional value which was probably shown in lower attendance rates.
Pastor Rauh in his early years worked with the youth of the congregation through first the Walther League and then Zion Youth Fellowship (ZYF). They went on many excursions and were a very active element in the congregation. However in 1971, Pastor Zehnder again suffered a break down due to overwork, stress and fatigue. This time he was almost totally incapacitated. During his illness the decision was made to drop one of the three Sunday morning services. Also Rev. Adelbert W. Voges, retired from the Lutheran Homes of Michigan, was asked to assist Pastor Rauh in preaching. Voges assisted occasionally from May 5, 1971 through January 31, 1974.
In early 1973 it became apparent that Pastor Zehnder was not going to return to his duties as Senior Pastor, and so in consultation with the board of elders and the chairman of the congregation, Zehnder announced his retirement from the ministry at Zion effective May 14, 1973.
With the retirement of Dr. Zehnder, Zion decided to call two Associate Pastors who would share the workload. Pastor Rauh was elevated from Assistant Pastor to Associate Pastor and Rev. Jack Douglas Ferguson was called for the other position. He was installed on January 20, 1974. Known as “PJ” or “Pastor Jack” to many, Ferguson only served a short time at Zion taking a call to Land O Lakes, Wisconsin in August 1977.
When Ferguson left in late 1977, Zion decided to return to the older model of having a Pastor and an Assistant Pastor. Rev. John Wm. Rauh was upgraded to Pastor on August 15, 1977 and Rev. William Howard Allwardt of Paris and Clarksville, Texas was called to serve as Assistant Pastor. Allwardt was installed at Zion on June 4, 1978.
Throughout his pastorate here at Zion, Pastor John Rauh received many calls to other congregations, but he always returned them. However in the spring of 1991 after serving at Zion for almost 27 years, Rauh accepted a call to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Saginaw, Michigan. Rauh served this congregation until his retirement in 2004 after forty years in the ministry.
On April 15, 1991, after Pastor Rauh had taken his call, Pastor Bill was installed as Administrative Pastor of Zion, a position he currently holds and a call was issued to Rev. Mark Albert Gerisch of Lincoln, Nebraska to be our Pastor.
With Pastor Bill’s ascension to the Administrative Pastor and Pastor Mark’s arrival, a new and vibrant team ministry appeared. The losses of the last thirty years started to turn to gains in church membership, attendance and participation in congregational activities. The new Saturday night contemporary worship service soon became the most popular service, while the other services continued to gain attendance as well.
In 1995-97 the congregation went through an intensive self study to determine direction and program growth. A new form of church governance and constitution was adopted to streamline the ability to get things done.
Gerisch served until August 14, 2000.
Pastor John Wayne Wernecke was called to be our eleventh pastor and he was installed on August 5, 2001.
On July 24, 2001, Zion culminated a year of activities and celebration with an outdoor service to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the founding of our parish. Rev. Robert Mayer, son of Dr. Herman Mayer and son of Zion congregation, was the guest preacher. A large tent was erected on the south blacktopped playground area of the school property. A day-long picnic, complete with games and activities, including a dunking tank, horse shoes, and the like occurred. Temperatures hovered around a sticky-humid 100 degrees. A photo was taken of many of the participants forming out the words “Zion 100th” on the playground field. Many former and current members gathered to enjoy worship and fellowship on this hallmark day. All in attendance would certainly have agreed: “The LORD Dwells in Zion”.
Twelfth Pastor of Zion
Rev. Paul Kruse
February 2016 – Present
Born 26 November, 1961 in Springfield, Illinois
Pastor Paul is currently our senior pastor and was appointed in February of 2016.
Ninth Pastor of Zion
Rev. William Howard Allwardt
4 June 1978 – 15 April 1991
15 April 1991 – Retired 19 February 2016
Born 4 September 1946 in Milwaukee, WI
Pastor Bill has served our congregation faithfully for over 25 years. He is a 1973 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Illinois, and served congregations in Paris, Texas before coming to Zion in 1978. Pastor Bill retired from Zion, Bay City in February of 2016. He currently lives in Bay City and continues to serve the people of Zion congregation.
Eleventh Pastor of Zion
Rev. John Wayne Wernecke
5 August 2001 – 1 July 2013
Born 23 March 1951 in Detroit, MI
Pastor John served our congregation for 12 years. He is a 1985 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and served in congregations in Shotonier, IL; Stanwood, IA and Alden, IA before coming to Zion in 2000. He has served us faithfully for several years including almost a year as our pastoral assistant before being called in 2001.
Tenth Pastor of Zion
Rev. Mark Albert Gerisch
26 January 1992 – 14 August 2000
Born 19 October 1950 in Detroit, MI
Rev Gerisch served our congregation for over 8 years. He is a 1987 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana and served congregations in Lincoln, Nebraska before coming to Zion in 1992. He left the ministry in 2000 and is currently working in the area of social work.
Eighth Pastor of Zion
Rev. Jack Douglas Ferguson
20 January 1974 – 15 August 1977
Born September 24, 1945 in Ann Arbor, MI
Pastor Jack served our congregation for just over 3 years. He was a 1972 graduate of Concordia Seminary-St. Louis and served a congregation in Lincoln, MO before coming to Zion in 1974. He later served congregations in Land o Lakes, WI; McCall, ID; Boise, ID; and Colby, KS and is currently serving as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Hawks, Michigan. He earned his Master of Sacred Theology Degree from Concordia Seminary-St. Louis in 2002.
Seventh Pastor of Zion
Rev. John William Rauh
19 July 1964 – 15 August 1977
15 August 1977-15 April 1991
Born 31 July 1938 in Alva, OK
Pastor John Rauh served our congregation for almost 27 years. He was a 1964 graduate of Concordia Seminary-St. Louis and came to Zion in 1964. He left Zion in 1991 to accept a call as Pastor of Good Shepherd in Saginaw. He retired from the ministry in 2004 and is currently living in Oklahoma.
Sixth Pastor of Zion
Rev. James David Fackler
21 July 1963 – 9 February 1964
Born 18 September 1936 in Toledo, OH
Rev Fackler served our congregation for just over six months. He was a 1962 graduate of Concordia Seminary-St Louis and earned his Master of Sacred Theology Degree before coming to Zion in 1963. He later served congregations in Toledo, Ohio and St. Louis, Missouri, before leaving the synod in 1977. He later joined the ELCA and served a congregation in Vandalia, Illionis were he is today retired.
Fifth Pastor of Zion
Rev. Lowell Henry Rusch
4 August 1957 – 4 March 1962
Born 22 October 1932 in Merrill, WI
Died 5 October 1987 in Flint, MI
Rev Rusch served our congregation for over 5 years, including one
year as a vicar. He was a 1957 graduate of Concordia Seminary-
St. Louis. He married a daughter of our congregation, Esther
Schmidt. He later served in congregations in Flint, Alpena, Southgate
and Davison, MI. He passed away in 1987 at the age of 55.
Fourth Pastor of Zion
Rev. Dr. Herman Friedrich Zehnder
22 September 1946 – 14 May 1973
Born 17 November 1916 in Frankenmuth, MI
Died 11 April 1979 in Bay City, MI
Dr. Zehnder served our congregation for 27 years. He was a 1942 graduate of Concordia Seminary-St Louis and served in the Zion Lutheran congregation in Ft Wayne, Indiana, before coming to Zion in 1946. Under his leadership the congregation grew to over 2000 members with over 1100 worshiping each weekend. The Memorial building was constructed and added to. After retirement he remained at Zion until his death in 1979 at the age of 62.
Third Pastor of Zion
Rev. Dr. Herman August Mayer
10 September 1927 – 1 September 1946
Born 10 August 1896 in Frankenmuth, MI
Died 13 May 1997 in St. Louis, MO
Dr. Mayer served Zion for 19 years. He was a 1919 graduate of Concordia Seminary-St Louis and served as the founding pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, International Falls, Minnesota, before coming to Zion in 1927. Under his leadership the present church building was constructed and the fund drive for the current Memorial Building started. He later served as Synod Missions Secretary. He returned to visit Zion on several occasions, the last being in 1994. He remained active as a pastor until he was 99 yrs old, and is said to be the oldest active pastor in our synod’s history. He died in 1997 a couple of months short of his 101st birthday.
Second Pastor of Zion
Rev. Dr. Friedrich Heinrich Brunn, Jr.
10 May 1908 – 24 July 1927
Born 21 July 1878 in Chicago, IL
Died 16 September 1963 in Rockford, IL
Dr. Brunn served Zion for 19 years. He graduated from Concordia Seminary-St Louis in 1901 and was a founder of Trinity Lutheran, Edwardsville, Illinois, before coming to Zion in 1908. Under his leadership the red brick school was built and the fund drive for our present church building started. He later served in Rockford IL. He returned to Zion on several occasions. His last “visit” was by recording. He recorded a sermon for our 60th Anniversary in 1961. He passed away in Rockford at the age of 85.
First Called Pastor of Zion
Rev. Eduard Wilhelm Bohn
11 January 1903 – 17 November 1907
Born 28 January 1877 in Rogers City, MI
Died 25 January 1922 in Ft. Wayne, IN
Rev Bohn served our congregation for almost 5 years. He was a 1900 Graduate of Concordia Seminary-St Louis. Before coming to Zion in 1903,he served a congregation in Bingham, Michigan.He later served in congregations in Port Huron and Cleveland. After he became deaf due to the influenza epidemic after WWI, he served in Deaf Ministries in Ohio and Indiana, before his death in 1922 at the age of 44.
Founding Pastor of Zion
Rev. Dr. Carl Friedrich Gräbner
23 July 1901 – 28 December 1902
Born 8 October 1862 in St. Charles, MO
Died 5 July 1949 in Adelaide, Australia
Dr. Graebner founded our congregation while serving as Pastor of Immanuel. He was an 1885 graduate of Concordia Seminary-St Louis and served in congregations in Sedalia, MO and Topeka, KS before coming to Immanuel in 1897. In 1903 he moved to Australia and served as Director and President of Concordia Seminary-Adelaide. He died in Australia at the age of 86.