Welcome to ELC! With open hearts and minds, we celebrate our faith through love and service to others. Our caring and inclusive congregation gathers for worship, fellowship and spiritual growth in a beautiful, newly expanded facility right in the heart of downtown Mount Horeb.
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mt. Horeb is located on Main Street in downtown Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin. We are also proud to partner with Wartburg Theological Seminary to serve as a pastoral internship congregation in the ministry of forming future ELCA pastors.
Early Years – How We Began
September 30, 1887, the original constitution and by-laws of the church were adopted. The first officers elected were H.B. Dahle, L.H. Lewis, J.T. Mithus, trustees; J.N. Dahle, Secretary; S. Thompson, Deacon and Sunday School superintendent. The trustees were instructed to call Rev. Syftestad on condition that he preaches at least 12 times a year in both English and Norwegian.
April 5, 1888, a group of women met for the purpose of organizing a “Kvindeforening” – a women’s’ group. By 1902 there were 79 members.
On Feb 7, 1890, the committee reported that $860 had been subscribed to the building of a church. A committee, consisting of Dahle, Thompson and Lewis was appointed to determine the cost of a church 36×50, 20 feet high, brick veneered. At the next meeting, March 7, 1890, the committee reported that $1,008 had been subscribed.
An attempt was made to purchase the Union Church lot for the site, but failed. April 18, 1890 the present lot was purchased. The next meeting of the committee, November 28, 1890, was held in the new church!
At this meeting, Rev. S. Gunderson was called and the congregation was incorporated.
Highlights 1900’s – 1950’s
January 11, 1899, the congregation became a member of the United Lutheran Church of America. In 1901 the parsonage was built at a cost of about $1,600.
The church was remodeled in 1907 – cost exceeded $6,100. The congregation consisted of 85 voting members and 447 “souls”.
January 1908 Blue Mounds and Mount Horeb united as one parish and extended a call to Otto Mostrom. He was installed November 29, 1908, and served until 1917.
1917 – E.R. Anderson was installed. He served for 40 years until 1957.
1928 – Amos Stolen, son of the congregation, was ordained.
1937 – The congregation celebrated its 50th Anniversary with festival services, program, and youth rally. Giving the sermon was the Rt. Rev. J.A, Aasgaard, D.D. The program addresses were given by the Revs S. Gunderson, George Rygh and Otto Mostrom.
1930 – Ernest Stolen was ordained.
1937 – Alfred Syverud was ordained.
1957 – Ruben Mostrom was called to serve, and was installed by Rev. M. Austinson.
September 1957 the congregation approved plans to raise funds to build a new church, educational unit, and chapel. The total pledges and special gifts amounted to over $300,000. The architectural firm of Sovik, Mathre and Madsen, Northfield, Minnesota was selected to design the church. The plans were approved in April and contracts let in June 1960. Groundbreaking followed.
During construction, services were held in the theater downtown Mt. Horeb.
Highlights 1960’s – 1980’s
January 1961 – Merger of three synods, establishing the American Lutheran Church.
The new church was used for the first time March 25, 1962. The first service was held April 1, 1996. Fred Hanneman, Mt. Horeb’s “Music Man” played the $35,000 organ at this first service. The organ was a gift to the congregation by a former member and his wife.
June 10, 1962 – Dedication Services were held at both morning services. The Act of Dedication was led by the Reverend Myron C. Austinson, D.D. President of the Southern Wisconsin District of the American Lutheran Church and the Reverend Ruben Mostrom, Pastor, ELC.
An open house (with refreshments, of course) was held following the services.
September 1962 – 75th Anniversary Celebration with reunion of confirmation classes.
July 28, 1968 – R. Daniel Lienau, son of the congregation, was ordained into the ministry of the America Lutheran Church. Participants included: Rev. Ruben Mostrom and Rev. Myron Teske, former Campus Pastor UW who was the preacher. A reception was held following the ordination.
September 1972 – 85th Anniversary – 10 years in the new church.
May 1974 – Pastor Mostrom submits his retirement letter.
September 1974 – Rev Bill Redman accepts call, and preaches his first sermon at ELC.
1985 – Funds were raised and a full complement of hand bells was purchased, and the Bell Choir was begun.
September 1987 – Centennial Festival Worship. Peter Rogness, Bishop, Southern Wisconsin District, was guest preacher.
November 1987 – Extended call to first Associate Pastor, Glenn Zimbelman.
January 1988 – ALC and LCA merged to become the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Highlights 1990’s – 2000’s
September 1990 – Agape Christian Preschool, a community outreach mission, was begun at ELC. The first director was Becky Kleppe.
Fall 1992 – The After School Reading Club, a mentoring program was begun under Helen Martinson’s guidance. The first classes served were 2nd through 5th grades, with a total of 54 students the first day. Further years decreased the number of grades served. Volunteer mentors assisted the students; an after-school treat and milk was provided. The “club” ended in 2008.
May 1994 – Pastor Glenn Zimbelman preached his final sermon as associate.
August 1994 – Pastor Mark Gulbrand began service as Associate Pastor.
November 1994 – ELC purchased the Pearl Brager house on Main Street, to be used as additional meeting space.
December 1995 – Pastor Bill Redman retired.
January 1996 – Pastor Sande Nelson began service as Interim Pastor while the congregation worked to determine directions for ministry in Mt. Horeb.
September 1996 – Pastor George Carlson accepts call as Senior Pastor; preached first sermon at ELC.
January 5, 1997 – a special meeting of the congregation voted to approve the new congregation constitution. The motion to adopt the proposed constitution was carried by voice vote.
September 1997 – 110th year Anniversary celebration.
Fall 1998 – An “Alternative” (contemporary) worship service was begun, and a Saturday evening service was started.
April 5, 1999 – “Celebrating the Pipe Organ” special concert by Lawrence Kelliher was held in the sanctuary. A reception followed in Fellowship Hall. The refurbishment of the organ was the result of the $35,000 fund raising in six months to cover the cost of the project.
March 5, 2000 – The Luther College Nordic Choir performed in concert at ELC.
September 2000 – the Care Team Ministry was begun.
Present – 2001 and Beyond
May 2001 – Pastor Carlson was elected Bishop of the South Central Synod of Wisconsin. He resigned his position at ELC in June and was installed as Bishop August 1, 2001. He served as Bishop until June 30, 2007.
August 2001 – Herman Lehman begins service as Interim Pastor.
October 7, 2001 – A Facility Expansion Plan was presented at a special congregational meeting. It outlined the history of expansion planning over the past 4 years, and called for approval to proceed. The results of the vote: yes 54 – No 62. The process was terminated.
June 9, 2002 – Pastor Tom Isaacson accepts call as Senior Pastor at ELC.
August 2002 – we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the organist and senior choir director, Diane Dangerfield.
October 2003 – the Adene Nelson house adjacent to the bell tower was moved. What a difference this made in the front of the property!
August 2004 – Jim Raney was hired as Youth Ministry associate.
December – 2004 – Pastor Tom Isaacson resigned as Senior Pastor at ELC.
December – 2004 – Pastor Mark Gulbrand resigned as Associate Pastor at ELC.
December – 2004 – Pastor David-Keesey Berg began service as Interim. July 30, 2006 was his last sermon at ELC.
August 2006 – Pastor John Twiton accepts call to ELC; preached first sermon August 26, 2006.
May 2010 – Celebrated 20 years of our Agape Christian Preschool. A reception was held with past directors as special guests. A tree was planted in the yard to commemorate the anniversary.
October 17, 2010 – meeting to plan for the education addition expansion of ELC.
January 2011 – Seth Novak hired as Pastoral Assistant. He served through the summer of 2011.
April 2012 – Construction began on the education addition on west end of building.
October 14, 2012 – 125th Anniversary Celebration on “Heritage Sunday”.