Our congregation’s founding dates to 1855, when Rev. Edward Romanowski was installed as its first pastor. There was no church building, and services were held in homes for a time. It soon affiliated with the “Buffalo Synod”, a group of German Lutherans known for their strict adherence to doctrine as interpreted by the Lutheran Confessions.This was a period of great turmoil in American Lutheranism, with European immigrants holding to their own interpretations of what it meant to be a Lutheran Christian. A church building was completed in 1863, and the little church on the hill continued to struggle on in the midst of Lutheran controversy and the American Civil War. Pastor Conrad Kuehner accepted a call to serve St. Paul’s in 1882, and served until 1916. His tenure brought stability to the congregation.
Pastor John Pfohl was called to St. Paul’s in 1928 after serving as Vicar in 1927. It was during the time he spent here that the Buffalo Synod was absorbed into the American Lutheran Church in 1930. New worship books were purchased in 1931 that had been authorized by the new church body.
Between 1932 and 1955, St. Paul’s was served by capable pastors who brought the church into the 1950’s. It was then that sentiment began to grow to move the church from Highway 57 into the village of Random Lake. It was during this 25 year period that St. Paul’s was for a time linked with St. John’s Church in Lakefield and Redeemer Church in Plymouth—sharing the same pastor.
Pastor Gerald Nerenhausen accepted the call to St. Paul’s in November, 1955.
In 1957-58, a new church was constructed on the present site at a cost of $38,000. The 1960’s brought new pastors every three years or so. In 1964, the congregation celebrated the ordination of Eugene Moll, the first son of the parish to be called to the Holy Ministry. In 1965, the alignment with Redeemer in Plymouth ended, and St. Paul’s was on its own again. The present spacious parsonage was completed in 1966.
In 1980, the 125th anniversary of St.Paul’s was celebrated during the pastorate of Eugene Anderson. During the 1980’s a daughter of the congregation began her journey to ordination. Marilyn Borchardt was ordained to the Holy Ministry in 1992 at Capitol Drive Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. During the late 1980’s, an important development took place in American Lutheranism. The American Lutheran Church, The Lutheran Church in America, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches merged to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). During the pastorate of Rev. Richard Druckrey in the 1990’s, plans were made to build a significant addition to increase space for the office, Sunday School, and a new entrance and gathering area. The dedication service took place on February 15, 1998.
During 2002, the congregation embraced the year-long MET process to call a new pastor. Rev. Ned Dorau accepted the call to be the pastor of St. Paul’s in January 2003, having been ordained by Bishop Paul Stumme-Diers at Capitol Drive Lutheran Church in Milwaukee.
St. Paul’s began celebrating Holy Communion every Sunday in the fall of 2003. At that time, it joined many congregations in the Milwaukee Synod in embracing The Use of the Means of Grace—A Statement on the Practice of Word and Sacrament that was adopted by the ELCA for guidance and practice in the summer of 1997.
During 2005, the parish celebrated its 150th anniversary year. During that year, we completed a parking lot paving project and added a permanent portico graced with a cross at the main entrance on the west side of the church. Our first website went online in 2006.
On Ash Wednesday 2007, St. Paul’s began using Evangelical Lutheran Worship—the new primary worship resource of the ELCA. Renovation of the upstairs church kitchen and the addition of sacristy space was made possible by a gift in memory of Henry Portschy. It was dedicated on the Third Sunday of Easter, 2007. A gift in memory of Viola Ghaffouri made possible a completely renovated sound system which was completed in the spring of 2008. The Parsonage received a new roof in late 2009. During November 2010, the church office internet access switched to a High-Speed connection. Life in cyberspace is now much more enjoyable. The monthly newsletter went online in early 2011.
Pastor Dorau began a daily e-mail devotion shared by Luther Seminary coupled with news of the congregation on Ash Wednesday of 2010. It had started off as an experiment during Lent. It was well received, and continues six days a week into 2012. Pastor Ned also taught a five week course in worship for the Diakonia Program during Spring of 2011 at Faith Lutheran Church in Cedarburg.
At the June 2011 Assembly of the Greater Milwaukee Synod, our former council president Matthew Brockmeier was elected Synod Secretary, a position on the Synod Council.
Maintaining the Parsonage took much time and attention during 2010 and 2011, with tuckpointing on the exterior brick, and repairs to the 1st and 2nd floor bathrooms along with repairs to the garage. The spacious home and garage received a new roof during this time.
Cemetery repairs and renovation of the old church steeple began in the summer of 2011. This is an ongoing project that was completed in time for the Ascension Day Service in 2012 when we celebrate caring for creation at the cemetery grounds.
On the last Sunday of July 2011, Elvira Klug presented a Credence Table to the church in memory of her late husband Harold. It was crafted by her son, Jeff Broetzmann, who built the Altar some years ago. It is used to hold the bread and wine brought up with the offering, and at baptisms.
The Tri-Par Brat Fry during the summer has become an annual fundraising event, and the Spaghetti and Meatball supper continues as an election day supper when we take our turn to greet the community after voting.
St. Paul’s has been active in a variety of outreach ministries, including a clothing drive for Wellington Park Lutheran Church in Milwaukee and participation in the Random Lake Area Interfaith Food Pantry. Most important is our ongoing ecumenical outreach in the Random Lake area. With Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church, St. John’s UCC, New Horizon UCC, St. Martin’s UCC and Zion United Methodist, our parish celebrates the positive relationships we have with Christians in and around our village. We are engaged in exploring new ways to work and worship together throughout every year.