History

Centenial Booklet 1841 - 1941  

Pastors of Our Church

Cemetery Book

History of Our Church
Timeline by Eileen Stewart, lifelong church member

1840
Our congegation had its beginning in the hearts of pioneer families as an Evangelical Association Church. Con­verted by Jacob Albright on the East Coast, they made their way across the Alleghenies to Oak Creek, Wisconsin. We remember many of their names: ­Schultz, Eggert, Bertke, Wilke, Roemer, and Esch.

1840
The first Evangelical child to be bap­tized in Wisconsin was Mrs. Anna Catherine Wilke Esch by Rev. J. Lutz on October 29.

1841
Rev. John Lutz, Ohio Missionary, formed the nuclei of our church.

1842
Services attended by 100 were held in the Bertke Schoolhouse.

1843
Rev. M. Hauert organized the first Sunday school. Ours was the oldest uninterrupted Sunday school in Wisconsin. Sunday school and worship services were conducted in German.

1858
After worship in homes and schools, a church was built on land donated by John Koch. The Salem Evangelical Church was a 20 x 30 foot frame structure. (It is now used as a shed at the home of Miss Annie Esch.)

 

1900
A new church was built on the same site for less than $4,000. Benjamin Esch brought folks out from the "Lake Station" with his lumber wagon for the October de­dication.

 

1906
Rev. H. A. Block organized a "jugendverein" (youth group) for young people.

1908
Rev. A. E. Happe spent two ener­getic years here.

1910
Rev. F. Reichert served for the next year.

1912
Folks remembered Rev. G. T. Vieth's stay here until 1915 very well!

1919
Rev. C. Wellso organized a Ladies Aid with 13 members. Mrs. Mary Michel was president.

1922
No basement existed under the church, so a tent was set up across the road, a stove was put in, and the ladies were able to prepare a meal. Picnics were frequently held in Charles and Lina Freedy's woods.

1923
Oak Creek was established as a "mission" and served as such for ten years.

1924
The English language was adopted.

1925
Electric lights were installed, and a basement was built under the church. Rev. H. J. Droegkamp was here at that time.

1931
Rev. H. E. Etffmeyer organized the Evangelical League of Christian Endeavor. The members planned an annual Easter Sunrise Service and Breakfast.

1932Rev. Me
lvin Simonsen served us along with his regular charge, Memorial Church, during Rev. Erff­meyer's illness.

1933
Our church became a "student appointment." Rev. H. E. Zebarth was the first Naperville Seminary student to be assigned to us. A formal choir was orga­nized for regular worship services. Previously, it had sung only for special occasions.

1936
Rev. John Koch came to serve. He built a very fine communion table which was not replaced until April 3, 1955. Rev. Koch's table is still in use in one of UMC’s Worship Centers.

1940
Choir members invested in robes. Rev. Sol Cramer started a daily Vacation Bible School in 1939 and saw us through our centennial plans.

1941
Our centennial year was celebrated the week of September 7 to 14 with a banquet, special services, and a “Send Forth Thy Light” pageant.  
1942
Rev. Harvey Schall came to us in June, 1941. He pushed hard to create a building fund that was in a way the birth of future expansion.

1945
Rev. Melvin Roehrdanz served both our church and the Memorial con­gregation for two years. The com­bined Youth Fellowship meetings are happily recalled.

1946
The Evangelical Association united with the United Brethren Church to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB).

1947
When Rev. Herman Siedschlag was as­signed to our congregation, members soon realized that we needed a parsonage. In No­vember the old horse shed was dis­mantled to make way for the construction of a parsonage.

1948
A building permit was obtained in March, and the par­sonage was occupied in December.

1951
The "expansion" idea was renewed by Rev. Siedschlag when he intro­duced the idea of financial aid for Oak Creek at the Wisconsin Confer­ence. Rev. Lealand Graben joined us in June. On July 11 a community survey was taken with 17 EUB mini­sters assisting. Expansion was re­commended by the Wisconsin Board of Missions. On July 23 the planning committee met with architect Ed A. Erdmann.

1952
In July, the congregation purchased a five acre site for a new church, and in October a six foot sign, furnished by the Couples Club, was dedicated to mark the site.

1953
The congregation was busy with building plans, meetings, discussions and more plans, meetings, and discus­sions! A parsonage mort­gage note burning service was held on May 31.

1954
At 5:20 pm on March 12, lightning struck the church during a fierce storm. In an instant, the 54-year-old church was destroyed by fire. The congregation knew that God's work must go on more now than ever before, worship services were held in the school house. Church members and leadership knew they must build and build fast!

Land was purchased - below is the picture of the field upon which the church will be built.

Less than five weeks after the storm, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1954. A cornerstone laying ceremony took place on June 27. The steeple was raised in August. The first Sunday in October we move into our new church basement.

1955
The first worship service in the new sanctuary took place on Palm Sunday, April 2.

The 1955 church as it looked in the 1980’s

 

1966:

1968
The Evangelical United Brethren Church merged with the Methodist Church to form the United Methodist Church. Our congregation was renamed Oak Creek Community United Methodist Church.

1980
Rev. Ed Johnson served as pastor for seven years.

1987
Rev. Gerry Harrison served as pastor for five years.

1992
Rev. David Carlson served as pastor for four years.

1996
Rev. Carol Miller arrived and served as pastor for eleven years.

 

1998
The west addition was built allowing more space for offices and classrooms.

 

2002
In response to the rapid growth in Oak Creek and surrounding communities, a new sanctuary was built allowing for additional classroom space on the lower level.

 

2004

2007
Pastor Paul Armstrong arrived at OCCUMC.

2009
The church steeple was struck by lightning during a summer thunderstorm causing significant damage to the electrical systems within the church.

2009
Pastor Ann Bullis joined in serving OCCUMC with Pastor Paul for around a year.

2013
Sue C. D'Alessio served as pastor for one year.

2014
Pastor Wendee M. Nitz was welcomed to OCCUMC.