The settlers in the Dheinsville began religious services soon after they arrived in 1842. Early founding families were Dhien, Dix, Rheingans, Volland, Waschmuth, Wetterau and specifically Philip Dhein, William Waschmuth and Andrew Wetterau.
Initial services were held in a log school located a mile west. This most likely would have been on the northwest corner of what is now Goldendale and Bonniwell Roads. The first minister was Reverend Schmidt who came from Milwaukee once a month. This was a German community so services were conducted in German. In the 1850s a log church was erected on the northeast corner of Fond du Lac Trail and a road yet to be named now known as Maple Road on land donated by Philip Dhein. On 21 April 1857, the congregation was incorporated and recorded as the United Evangelical Protestant Christ Church. The first church elders were Philipp Dhein, Christoph Schreck, Peter Sinz, C. Strassmann, and Philipp Weimer. The church became known as Evangelische Christus Kirche. In 1861 the log church building was replaced with the present edifice made of limestone blocks and in 1888 a bell tower was added and the bells themselves arriving in 1890.
It is reported in the year 1861, the parsonage was lost along with some of the church records. These early records were recreated in the second half of the 20th century as best could be from memories of the parishioners. Therefore you may have events identified to the congregation as happening before the church, that is, the building and grounds were actually established. It is also said that some records may actually exist for the earliest times.
On 16 June 1895 part of the congregation, 16 families, left along with the pastor Reverend C. Ruegg and founded Zoar Evangelical a mile or so to the southeast along what is now known as Division Road.
While German was the predominate language of the parish and somewhat the surrounding community, WW I caused the people of the United States, specifically those of German Heritage, to review and consider who they really were. They were now citizens of the United States and the language of the country was English so English became the language of the church. This change was not unique to Christ Church as all German churches in the area saw this transformation.
In the 1930s the church was called Christ Evangelical and Reformed Church.
Come the year 1962 Christ Evangelical Church and Zoar Evangelical and Reformed Church were reunited and chose a new name Our Saviour's United Church of Christ. The Christ Evangelical Church building became vacant. In 1975 Our Saviour's UCC leased the old Christ Church building to the Germantown Historical Society, the society having been founded the year previous.
Order of Divine Services (no date identified)
In the winter months services will commence at 10 o'clock, however, in summer they will commence at 9 o'clock because Sunday School Services follow immediately after.
New Year's Day is a holiday, with services, as is Ascension Day. church Dedication is celebrated on the last Sunday in September, thanksgiving is celebrated on the Sunday preceding the Reformation Feast Day.
Holy Communion will be announced 14 days before conferment, it will be bestowed on (1) Good Friday, (2) Holy Easter Day, (3) Holy Whitsunday, (4) upon children's confirmation, (5) on Thanksgiving Day, (6) on Holy Christmas Day. Communion traditionally is given before the Holy Event Feast. On Reformation Day, a collection is held for our seminary, a similar collection is held on the first Advent Sunday for our district fund.
The annual congregation meeting is held on January 2nd. commencing at noon, and is to be announced after divine services on the two Sundays preceding that date.
Every quarter year a collection is held for the purchase of Sunday School gifts, announced the preceding Sunday. Confirmation classes being held in November.
The above historical overview was gleaned from articles written by the Germantown Historical Society and a 12 August 1933 article in the Milwaukee Journal Church Marks Its 90th Year." Also see Our Saviour's United Church of Christ.
The Ninety Fifth Anniversary Booklet, published in 1937, contained valuable background information.
To Washington County in general and the Town of Germantown in particular, the History of which we are considering, came the German Evangelical people, as early as 1837, from their homeland and from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to till the fertile soil of the region.
The Congregation was founded about July, 1842. The founders of the Congregation were Philip Dhein Sr., William Wasmuth and Andrew Wetterau. They came to this region with their families as early as 1837. Mr. Philip Dhein, being one of the first, was of great help to those who followed after him. He assisted the new commers in every way, accompanying them, together with the land grants, to procure land which be had for a dollar an acre, or so called "school land" for even less. Thus having established themselves, they immediately sought a place where they could gather to worship God. The news of the first religious meeting in the old school house, a mile west of the present Christ Evangelical Church, spread over the surrounding country and soon other settlers expressed their desire to join the sturdy German pioneers in their worship service.
Mr. Dhein not only assisted in procuring land for the early settlers but he also sought after the Spiritual Welfare of these early pioneers. While in Milwaukee he became acquainted with Rev. Christian Schmidt. On hearing of the German pioneers in the Town of Germantown, who were without a Pastor and religious guidance, he came out from Milwaukee to serve them. At first at intervals, and then, when others joined the faithful pioneers he remained for a longer period at a time and stayed at the home of Andrew Wetterau. The old log school house soon proved to be too small. The Weinmers, Meyers,and the brothers of Philip Dhine, as well as several Klumb brothers, a large family of Kraetsches and Dixes were added to the membership, and together they decided to build a larger log building to be used solely for religious purposes. This building was built in the early 50's on land donated to the organization by Mr. Philip Dhein, one mile east, and where now the stone church stands.
In 1854 Rev. Ernst Fleischer was called to serve the ever growing community and congregation. He remained until 1857. The congregation on April 21, 1857 was incorporated and recorded as the "United Evangelical Protestant Christ Church."
In 1857 the Rev. William Binner was called to serve the congregation. It is from "The Messenger" of the Evangelical and Reformed Church as of April 29, 1937 that we get a very interesting history of Rev. Binner. Although not one of the actual founders of what was the Evangelical Synod, Pastor William Binner (1805-76), pioneer, teacher, and editor of "Der Friedensbote," who was born on April 29, 1805 showed himself as a master builder on the foundation which is Jesus Christ. A native of Silesi, Germany, he received his training at the University of Breslau. He came to America in 1845. He organized St. Paul's Church, Waterloo, Illinois. During his ministry here he had already begun to train, on his own account, a few candidates for the ministry, to meet the religious need of the German immigrants who were settling in that section. When, therefore, the opening of a theological seminary was decided upon, he was called to the head of the new institution. In that capacity, he was also appointed editor of "Der Driedensbote," the first issue of which appeared in January, 1850. In 1857 he resigned and moved to Dheinsville, Wisconsin where he served Christ Evangelical congregation until 1864. It was at this time that the present stone church was built and dedicated in 1861.
Rev. A. Eisenhauer was called to serve the congregation in 1864 and remained until 1867. The membership in the congregation was steadily increasing and in 1868 when Rev. C. Ruegge of Madison, Wisconsin was called to serve as spiritual leader and advisor of the Church, there was a membership of some seventy families. While serving the congregation, he also served the Evangelical people of the St. Peter's Church of Jackson, Wisconsin and other neighboring communities. During the early years of his ministry here, the congregation bought a home one-quarter of a mile north of the church to be used for the Parsonage. In 1889 the tower addition to the Church building was created. After serving the congregation for 27 years he resigned, June 17, 1895, to serve the newly organized Zoar Congregation of Rockfield, Wisconsin.
Rev. Henry Niefer D.D., was born at Cannstaat, Wuerttemberg, Germany. At the age of 15 he left his home-land and came to America. In 1999 he entered Elmhurst College, and in 1892 he went to Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, to prepare himself for the ministry. He was ordained at Zion Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 30, 1895. He remained in Milwaukee as a home missionary, laboring in Bay View; in September of the same year Christ Evangelical Church was organized. It was during this first year that he served Christ evangelical Church of Rockfield. In 1907 he was elected president of the Wisconsin District, holding this position until 1929. For 25 years he served as a member of the Board of Directors of Elmhurst College. He also was one of the founders of the Deaconess Hospital of Milwaukee. On December 4, 1936 he was called home at the age of 67 years.
Rev. E. Thorman came to serve the congregation late in 1895 and remained until 1897. In 1897 the congregation bought a half acre of land from Mrs. Margaret Wolff, upon which the present parsonage now stands. During the time the parsonage was being built, (1897-1898), Rev. E. Sans served the congregation from St. John's Evangelical Church near Germantown, Wisconsin [Kuhburg].
Upon completion of the new parsonage the congregation called Rev. William F. Weltge of Minnesota. Rev. Weltge was born December 15, 1856 at Niemeck, Province of Brandenburg, Germany. At the age of 21 he came to America and located in St. Louis, Missouri. Shortly after his arrival, he entered Eden Theological Seminary to prepare himself for the Evangelical Ministry, and was ordained in 1887. From 1898 until the summer of 1910 he served the congregation. In 1910 he retired from active service in the ministry and moved to Palatine, Illinois, where he resided untill his death in 1915.
Rev. Gustave Klein was born on December 28, 1857 in East Prussia, and received his early training at Johannes Shift, Berlin, Germany, after which he came to America in 1885 and entered Eden Theological Seminary, primarily for the purpose of completing his Theological training in the English language. His first charges were in Chicago, Illinois and Mission work in Superior and Merril, Wisconsin. In 1899 he came to Brookfield, Wisconsin from where he started a Mission Church at Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and served, at that time, various other communities. Upon the resignation of Rev. William Weltge this congregation called Rev. G. Klein to serve them. Rev Klein had already retired from active service in the ministry because of ill health, but was finally persuaded to come to Dheinsville where he once more began his beloved work in 1910. In 1915 St. Jacobi Evangelical Church of Richfield, Wisconsin, --four miles west on the Holy Hill road, -- was without a Pastor, and it was decided upon to combine the two congregations, as one Parish. Rev. Klein served the two congregations for five years and then retired from active service in the ministry, and moved to his home in Brookfield, Wisconsin, where within three weeks after his retirement, he was called to his Eternal home, -- July 21, 1920.
Rev. Paul Dietrich, pastor of an Evangelical Church in Missouri was called to serve Christ Evangelical Church of Dheinsville and St. Jacobi Evangelical Church in Richfield. He accepted the call and served the two congregations from 1920 to the Fall of 1926. During this time a furnace was placed in the Church basement to replace the stove that heated the church auditorium for many years. Upon his resignation Rev. Dietrich took over the charge at Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, but still served these two congregations until the Spring of 1927, when another pastor was called to serve.
Siegfried Dietrich, son of Rev. Dietrich, who may be called a child of Dheinsville because he was confirmed in this church, is now studying theology at Eden Theological Seminary and will graduate in 1938. It is indeed gratifying to his many friends in this community to know that he is following in his father's footsteps.
Rev Paul Reichert was the next pastor to be called to serve the two congregations, taking charge of his new field of service in the Spring of 1927. During this time Christ Evangelical Church was renovated and also modern conveniences were installed in the parsonage. Rev. Reichert resigned in the Spring of 1931 and took over a charge in Elkhart, Indiana.
Rev. Paul Wendt, Superintendent of the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, served Christ Evangelical Church until June 1931. Rev. Wendt also served as Vice President of the district.
In June, Rev. August Grollmus, student at Eden Theological Seminary was asked to serve the two congregations. This invitation was gladly and willingly accepted, and he served until the Fall of 1931 when he returned to complete his studies. He was ordained in 1932 and began his ministry in Little Falls, Minnesota.
On September 20, 1931, the writer of this history, Rev. Paul J. Kaiser, became the successor of Rev. Grollmus. He came from Liberty Ridge, Wisconsin, where he had served St. Paul's Evangelical church one year following his ordination in June, 1930.
During the time of his ministry here the parsonage was painted. The trees and shrubs were donated by Mrs. P.W. Kraemer of West Bend and by Mr. C. Klumb and Mr. W. Eimermann.
Rev. Kaiser is happy in his work here. During the six years of his activity it has been his privilege to see the congregation grow in numbers as well as gain in grace and the knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ.