The Löhne Window in the sanctuary celebrates the history of our congregation.

Many churches can claim a mother church, an existing congregation that commissions a number of members to begin a daughter congregation and often assists in the formation of the congregation by providing pastoral care and financial support.

 

St. Paul Lutheran Church is unique in that it can claim two mother churches. In 1848, when the congregation was founded, the first pastor was the Rev. Carl Frinke of St. John's Lutheran Church at White Creek, located in the southwest corner of Bartholomew County. Pastor Frinke would make the trip to St. Paul Church frequently to lead worship, teach confirmation and bible classes and baptize.

 

Due to the distance between the two congregations, there were no members of the St. John's Church who helped charter the St. Paul Congregation. However, 43 of the 77 charter members who signed the first constitution of St. Paul in 1852 were former members of the St. Simeon Kirche in what is today Löhne, Germany.

 

During that period, hundreds of residents from Löhne and the surrounding area immigrated to the Columbus area. One such example is the sailing vessel Louisiana that departed for America on August 25, 1850. Of the 221 passengers on board, 100 were members of the St. Simeon Parish. Included on the passenger list were familiar Bartholomew County names such as Scheidt, Wehmeier, Nolting, Reinking and Fischer.

 

Economic conditions in Germany were not good in the mid-1800s. Land was scarce and a rigid class system made owning land impossible for many tenant farmers. Also drought, famines, the collapse of the flax industry, inheritance rights for only one child and the never-ending threat of military duty motivated thousands of families to seek a new life across the Atlantic. 

The lure of America, with the promise of cheap, fertile farmland, enticed many families to immigrate. Many of the German immigrants from the Löhne area settled in the area known as Clifty, an area southeast of Columbus bordered on the west by Clifty Creek.

Even though the vast majority of the founders of St. Paul congregation were from the same church and city in Germany, it would be the late 1980's before the relationship between mother and daughter congregations was renewed.

In July 1988, the Rev. William Stache, then pastor of St. Paul, received a request from Hans-Guenther Lichte, the head postmaster of Löhne, seeking more information about the Scheidt family history. After much correspondence by mail with Columbus residents who were investigating their own genealogy and the Lichte's research of the St. Simeon Church, the connection between the two churches was renewed.

St. Simeon Kirche - Löhne, Germany

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church
6045 East State Street
Columbus, Indiana 47201
(812) 376-6504