Church History

1914 – The city of Appleton had a population of 20,000.  Church council members of St. Paul Lutheran Church requested that a new church be started to keep pace with the growth of Appleton.  Rev. R.E. Ziesemer was the first pastor.

1915 – Pastor E. Bruns was called to St. Matthew.

1918 – Rev. A. Werner was called to St. Matthew.  While he was pastor, the tradition for having a German service and an English service each Sunday was started.

1920 – Rev.  Philip Froehlke was called to St. Matthew.  The Mason Street parsonage was built the year after.  Pastor Froehlke also later became the first schoolteacher.

1923 – The congregation declared itself self-supporting. Up to this time it was receiving support from the synod.

1924 – The new church we have today was dedicated.  The membership had grown to about 65 families.  The little chapel was converted to a one-room school.

1938 – Pastor Froehlke entered his eternal rest.  Pastor Sylvestor Johnson was called to be our pastor.

1939 – The Easter Sunrise Service was adopted and a communion rail was built around the altar.

1943 – It was decided to hold two English services each Sunday, except on the second Sunday, when a German service would precede the English service.

1947 – The final of our church debt was paid.  In 1948, the property west of the church was purchased.

1953 – The congregation had decided to discontinue all German services.  The cornerstone for our new three-room school was dedicated.  St. Matthew joined the federation, which supports Fox Valley Lutheran High School.

1955 – The bell tower was complete.

1960 – The 1326 and 1332 W. Lawrence Street properties were purchased.  Mr. Gresens became the school’s first principal.

1963 – A two-classroom and one school office addition was dedicated.

1967 – The property at 1336 W. Lawrence Street was purchased.

1970 – The council authorized the calling of a vicar to assist the pastor.

1976 – The school addition was dedicated which included church and pastor offices, council room, gymnasium, locker rooms, school cafeteria, three classrooms, and a new boiler.

1981 – Pastor Johnson retired after 43 years.  Pastor David Pagel was called.  Mr. Alfred Gresens retired and Steven Schultz accepted the call as Principal.

1983 – Monday night services were adopted from May through October.

1987 – Pastor Robert Hein was ordained as Associate Pastor, and this same year the vicar program was discontinued.  This same year a new organ, a remodeled balcony, and a new church entrance were completed.

1988 – The Board of Elders was established.  The congregation voted to hold Saturday services from Labor Day to Memorial Day.

1989 – The church expansion was dedicated.  Seating capacity increased to 500.  Robert Fischer accept the call as Principal.

1995 – Pastor Bradley Ragner was called to St. Matthew as Associate Pastor.

1998 – Pastor Randall Johnson was called to St. Matthew as Associate Pastor.

2000 – Mr. Schliewe was promoted to school Principal.  Pastor Verbeke accepted the call as Associate Pastor.

2002 – Pastor Pagel accepted a call to Immanuel, Oshkosh after 21 years at St. Matthew.

2003 – Mr. Ruddat was installed as our first staff minister.  Pastor Paul Schuler accepted the call as our Associate Pastor.  Parish Assistance Program began.

2004 – Office space was expanded to support staff.  New computers were purchased, and the first computer network was installed throughout the facility.  Gymnasium roof was replaced.