Christian Faith Moravian Church 
805 E. Holum St.
DeForest, Wisconsin 53532
(608) 846-5876

In essentials, unity;
in non-essentials, liberty;
in all things love.

Christian Faith Moravian Church

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Thus quoted Bishop Edmund de Schweinitz from the text of Hebrews 10:25 as he delivered his dedication sermon for the newly organized “Bruder Gemeine” [German Brotherhood].

The DeForest Moravian Church was officially founded as a home-mission congregation on April 13, 1885 by several faithful, spiritual-minded families in the small, agricultural prairie township of Windsor, Wisconsin. Beginning in early 1876, worship services were held in the homes of Ernest and Fred Karow under the guidance of Brother W. Stengel, who was then pastor of the Mamre Moravian Church, about thirty-five miles away. When other families in the immediate area took interest and began attending these services, it was decided to hold the Sunday meetings in a small rural schoolhouse. Inspiration grew.

A Sunday school program was developed and the youngsters were placed in the hands of Brother August Virchow, who proved to be willing, dedicated, and faithful in leading the youth. In due time, Pastor C.V. Seifert replaced Brother Stengel and led the enthusiastic group. He also lived in Mamre, boarded a train, and was met each time at the railway station in a nearby village. A plan was adopted whereby the families attending church services would take turns getting him back again in the afternoon, after worship services and a bounteous meal.

Soon the little congregation had its first “resident” minister! Reverend J.G. Kaltenbrunn, a retired pastor, arrived in June 1883 and moved into a modest house which had been refurbished and rented just for him. Everyone dearly loved the elderly, kind man who served them earnestly for almost nine years. The “little group on the prairie” increased in numbers and at the annual church council meeting in January 1885, it was decided, after many prayers, to build their first church building.

After considerable discussion, the site for the new structure was chosen – a one-acre lot located two and one-half miles east of the village of DeForest. The small white church was completed using the resources of its members and friends at a mere cost of twelve hundred dollars. In 1923, it became apparent that the logical location for the building should be in the village where it would be more accessible to its members, rather than out in the country.

Choosing not to rebuild, it was decided to move the church building into DeForest. Modern moving equipment was not available to the determined parishioners, thus, the solid 24’ x 26’ structure was moved slowly and painstakingly through the fields and farmlands on wooden rollers pulled by workhorses. Their ingenuity, faith, and use of a windlass (a horizontal barrel turned by a winch) was hampered by deep snow and frigid temperatures which encumbered their progress.

However, their perseverance and hard work brought success. The building was soon placed on its foundation at its new location! During the next thirty-three years, the staunch Moravians in DeForest and the surrounding area worshipped God and were spiritually rewarded at the new site to which the church had been moved. For fourteen of those years, Brother Joseph Weinlick served his calling in ministry with the congregation. His was the longest term served by any minister to date. After his death, his son John served as interim pastor.

As time passed, it became evident that the church facilities were not adequate for the growing needs of the church body. Its members felt a larger building would be the solution to their need for more space. In December 1954, it was voted on to hire an architect to draw up plans for a new church building.

The family of the late August Karow generously donated two acres of land to be used as the building site. The groundbreaking ceremony took place April 15, 1956, digging began on April 21, and the cornerstone for the new “DeForest Moravian Church” was officially laid on July 22, 1956.

As a tree slowly spreads its roots throughout the earth and provides nourishment for the growing branches, so the “little house on the prairie” grew into a permanent ministry serving the DeForest area. Brothers Milo Loppnow,  John Fleigel, Edward Ullrich, Fred Harberg, Robert Gohdes, and Robert Smith all helped to maintain and expand the vitality of the changing congregation, serving the DeForest parish from 1953 to 1984 respectively. By 1984, the church had reached 266 members under the leadership of Pastor W. Thomas Stapleton.

In 1991, the church council decided to change the name of the congregation to Christian Faith Moravian Church as a means to make the name of the church better understood to people not familiar with the Moravian Church.

Pastor W. Thomas Stapleton was followed by Pastors Rich Thierolf, Chris and Darryl Johnson, and our current pastor, Kurt Liebenow, who came to Christian Faith Moravian Church in 2005.

Tradition abounds, and is present in both worship services and congregational fellowship. The DeForest Moravians are proud of their musical heritage and are blessed with many richly talented musicians. The hearty voices in the choir, along with the combined efforts of the pianist inspire the enthusiasm of voices in the congregation.

We honor the steadfast faith and sacrifices of previous generations and are thankful for the heritage they have left to us.

 
 
 
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