100 Years In Christ at St. Paul’s
In the spring of 1906 the United Lutheran congregation was organized. It was called “United” because both Germans and Scandinavians belonged.
In the summer of 1906 the congregation called Pastor C.S. Thorpe from Glendive, Montana. He preached in Norwegian for the Scandinavians and English for the Germans.
The United Lutheran Church building was finished in 1908. The first German service was held on March 17, 1907 with Pastor H.T. Rauh from Billings, Montana as the preacher. Twenty-one people attended this service.
On September 3, 1908, Rev. Jacob F.M. Essig of Miles City, Montana was installed as missionary in this area and services were then held once a month. Pastor Essig was installed in an evening service by Pastor H.T. Rauh. There were 16 people present.
On February 24, 1909, the two groups in the United Lutheran Church separated and the German Evangelical Lutheran Church was formed and called the Rev. F.M. Essig as pastor. In March of 1909 the church property was divided and the German congregation received one-fifth of the property.
The original constitution was adopted on March 21, 1909 and was signed by the following members: William Schallock, F.W. Breitenfelt, Karl Brettin, Otto Marten, H.C. Buldhaupt, Wm. Reinke, Gust Wojahn, Henry Geyer, Andrew Helm, M.W. Fleet, Ferdinand Schmeling, Ed Feldmann, Wm. Trester, Fred Yopp and Herman Wojahn.
The congregation was incorporated with the State on May 23, 1910, with H.J. Wojahn, H.C. Buldhaupt and C.F. Brettin signing the certificate.
The congregation continued using the United Lutheran church building until they built one of their own. In 1910 six lots were purchased for $500 along Highway 10. By 1913 the lots were paid in full.
On April 17, 1910, the congregation in Wibaux, Montana was organized.
In September of 1913, the Miles City, Montana congregation called their own pastor and thus Rev. F.M. Essig could serve the congregation in Beach, the one in Wibaux, and another congregation in Belfield, North Dakota. Rev. Essig lived in Beach after 1912 and was able to hold services every three weeks.
In 1914 two lots on the south side of town were purchased from the City of Beach for approximately $300. The basement was dug and the church was built the following year. Fred Bublitz was the contractor. The cornerstone was laid in the early spring and the building was dedicated on November 7, 1915 with Rev. H.J. Trinklein preaching the dedication sermon in German in the morning and Rev. M.C. Kretzmann of Miles City preaching in English in the afternoon.
These same facilities serve the congregation to this day with various improvements over the years. The coal furnace was replaced by natural gas in 1944. Water and indoor plumbing was installed in 1948. Remodeling done in 1954 changed the entryway and added a balcony. A major addition on the west side of the building was completed in 1973. This addition expanded the sanctuary and also added office space, classrooms, and a new kitchen area. The entryway was changed again in 1993 when an elevator, which carries passengers from street level up to the sanctuary and down to the basement, was installed. Air conditioning was added to the sanctuary in 2008. Contracting for the last several improvements was by Feldmann Construction.
About 1918 the parsonage to the south of the church was purchased from Dr. Maercklein for $3500. Additional lots were purchased in 1976 immediately west of the church. A new parsonage was built on these lots and was ready for use in November 1979. The old parsonage was sold at that time.
In 1943 the congregation became self-supporting and also became joint owner of the Lutheran Cemetery. The cemetery is located about one mile south of the church.
In 1963 the Articles of Incorporation with the state were amended to change the church’s name to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wibaux shared pastoral guidance with St. Paul’s until 1965 when they closed and became members of St. Paul’s. St. Peter’s in Belfield entered into a parish agreement with St. Paul’s in 1967.
Pastors who have served St. Paul’s are:
F.M. Essig 1908-1915
H.J. Trinklein 1915-1938
Victor Dissen 1938-1947
Gustav Hinz 1947-1952
Ottis Sauls 1952-1955
William Rempfer 1956-1957
Kermit Kaczor 1957-1963
Norman Aman 1964-1966
Edward Steyer 1968-1971
Howie Krienke 1972-1979
Rex Longshore 1979-1984
Thomas Johnson 1984-1986
David Wagner 1987-1990
Kevin Zellers 1991-1997
Douglas Thompson 1997-1999
Alan Kornacki 2000-2003
Scott Hojnacki 2004-2016