Stony Hills Presbyterian Church-USA

picture of the Lutheran Church
Stony Hills Presbyterian Church-USA

Contributed by Wilma Bednarz:

In 1984 a small group met with the Presbytery's New Church Development Committee as the result of a survey of southeastern Washington County, an area containing 83,000 people with but one Presbyterian church. To serve the small villages and town of this area, a new church was to be located in Germantown. Joy prevailed in the small group served by the Reverend Linda Morgan-Clement, worshiping for the first time on 30 September 1984 in the Lake Park Condo Lodge in Germantown.

Services continued, members transporting church properties to the Lodge each Sunday for services. The church had no name at the time and as one lady who was carrying a heavy box of hymnals quipped, "We should call ourselves The Church of the Three Boxes."

Newcommers found a joyous welcome. Talents were given generously. One of the women seeing a need for a baptismal font, fashioned one of porcelain. A choir was formed, so to a Sunday school, a nursery and an adult Bible class. Another church provided taped hymnal accompaniments. The choir graduated to a keyboard.

Churches of the Presbytery continued to nurture the new church, providing nursery care, calling on prospective members, providing money gifts, and fulfilling the church's "wish list." Through this loving support church members gathered courage.

Following the Reverend Linda Morgan-Clement, the Reverend George C. Weinberg served as interim minister until the steering committee completed its ministerial search. The Reverend Donald M. Sinclair was installed 24 November 1985 as full time developing minister. It was soon after this that everyone both adults and children gathered after a Sunday service for a potluck brunch to choose a name. Everyone agreed upon Stony Hills for the rocky ground found on the land and for the many references to hills in the Bible and those found in the area the church was to serve.

September 21, 1986 a bagpiper led members and guests down Mequon road to dedicate its newly acquired land on which its home was to be built. The pipes rang out to announce the church's presence on 7 February 1988 when Stony Hills was charted and Reverend Sinclair installed as pastor.

As the church had land but no building, beginning in January 1987 church members worshiped on Sunday at 8:80 AM in a building located at Lannon and Appleton Avenue. The use of this building was offered by the Kettle Moraine Christian Center, a charismatic church. While their generosity was greatly appreciated, it was sometimes hard to compete with the rhythm and voices of their joyous worship service.

The Church Growth Committee worked diligently to increase membership. All rejoiced when on Palm Sunday, 1989 the church's first Communion Class of six members was received.

Church members needed to have their place of worship, a place they could call home. To meet these needs the fifty-one members of Stony Hills planned for a temporary church as carefully as if were to be a cathedral. A party shower for the church was held before the modules arrived. Members brought pans, tissue, towels, coffee pots, floor mats, tools, a bulletin board, cleaning materials, everything a church building might need.

A small group waited in the snow in subfreezing temperatures for the arrival of the completed module on two wide load trucks. The worship center would seat a hundred people. That seemed, at the time, like such a huge membership. Also included was a pastor's office, a church school room, a nursery, a kitchen and rest rooms. Hymns resounded joyously as members filed into their own building filled with flowers and balloons.

The year 1991 saw Stony Hills as a volunteer-service congregation. Volunteers helped Pastor Sinclair with the office work, members took turns cleaning the church on Saturdays with cleanup and landscape activities scheduled in the spring and in the fall.

The parish was developed in Germantown to serve southeastern Washington County. Members came from the neighboring counties. Reaching out into the community through the local association has meant sharing Easter, Thanksgiving, and summer Bible School activities with all local denominations.

The Hungarian Church became a major project after the visit of Reverend Bronkhorst of the Netherlands. High schoolers from the Milwaukee Presbytery with three adults from Stony Hills took a trip to Hungary and joined the Netherlands young people to repair a church camp ground there. The summer of 1992 the young people of Hungry returned the visit, working on the Stony Hills' parking lot. Mittens, scarves and money collected at Christmas were sent to Hungary by the church. The church school children added a hundred dollars to the fund through their two doughnut sales.

The year 1993 saw the congregation at 134 members and 55 children. The increase in new members and frequent baptism of babies promised a worship service overflow. The 100 seat worship area was looking to need extra space.

In 1994/95 a new church building was constructed and continues to serve the congregation well.

In 1995 Pastor Sinclair was followed by Reverend Susan Vergeront who ministered to the congregation for one year. She was followed by Reverend Paul Van Loon who served as interim pastor through most of 1997 and the first half of 1998. Following Reverend Van Loon in August 1998 came Reverend John W. Culp who presides today [2002].