Afton church to mark 150 years in style

Saint Peter Lutheran Church celebrates sesquicentennial with events all year

AFTON — Saint Peter Lutheran Church plans to celebrate its 150th anniversary this year in style. The church hosts a variety of events throughout the year to celebrate the sesquicentennial.

“We’ll have events every month. We tried to get a variety of events to appeal to a large group of people,” said Anniversary Committee Chairman Doug Stoltzmann, “We’re also reviving a couple of old events that haven’t appeared for a number of years.”

The events include several concerts. The Green Lake Bluegrass Band performs this month, the Concordia University Chorus in February, Monroe Crossing in May, the Kingery Family in September and a Christmas Jazz Concert in December.

Other traditional celebrations like the ice cream social and talent show will also take place. March and April will have events within the congregation. July holds the main event with a service, speaker and dinner. The final celebration involves a Dec. 29 service, two days after the church’s official 150th anniversary date.

“(150 years) is a long time, but for area churches that’s not unusual. Churches seem to have more longevity than most places,” Stoltzmann said. “There are very few businesses in the area that seem to last that long.”

Stoltzmann attributes Saint Peter’s longevity to serving 10 to 20 families with five to six generations of continued membership and fulfilling community needs. Despite the close-knit congregation, Stoltzmann said people in the community are welcome to attend the events hosts during the next year.

“We hope to get attendance from a wide group of people. We’re hoping that our members invite their friends and neighbors to join us. Everybody sees an advertisement for things in the neighborhood but some people are nervous about attending,” Stoltzmann said. “Come and give it a try. We have, I think, a warm and friendly congregation.”

Most of the events are free and only have a non-obligatory free-will offering. However, the Monroe Crossing performance is a ticketed event.

What they hope to achieve with all the events is a renewed sense of community.

“We hope it brings back former members and brings in people in the area. If anyone is looking for a church home hopefully they’ll come and visit us again.”  Stoltzmann said. “We’re hoping to have good attendance to let people see who we are and what we’re all about. Summer time events are sometimes difficult to get people to attend, but it’s a special year and it only comes along once.”

For more information on the church check out the website: www.stpeterafton.org

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The Kick-off Event

Who: The Green Lake Bluegrass Band

Where: Saint Peter Lutheran Church

880 Neal Avenue S.

When: 2 p.m., Jan. 13,

Cost: Free will offering

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