German Evangelical Church

Saint John's Evangelical & Reformed Church

Saint John's UCC

320 9th Ave
Clarence, IA 52216

Builder: M.P. Möller Organ Co, 1923?
Manuals: 2
Ranks: Unknown
Stops: 23
Action: Electro-pneumatic

Notes: Early in 1882, pastor John Schwarz of Zion Evangelical Church of Lowden, Iowa, came to Clarence to minister to the needs of the German settlers in the community. He held his first service here in May of that year. He came occasionally after that and at his invitation the German people gathered for services. The attendance at these services was so well attended that Pastor Schwarz felt encouraged to propose the organization of a congregation. At a meeting held November 5, 1882, those present formed a congregation and selected its name – St. John's Evangelical Church. A constitution was submitted for consideration and after due deliberation it was unanimously adopted and signed by eighteen members. The Church Council was Henry Pruess, Carl Kintzel and Henry Goldsmith.
The new congregation tried to purchase the building in which they worshiped but were unsuccessful. They were able to rent it however. The time came when the members wanted to have a church of their own. Land was purchased from W. B. Hannas. A building 34 x 50 feet was erected at a cost of $2,579.63, including the cost of the land. The sanctuary was dedicated early in 1890. During that summer it was voted to have services twice a month and to pay the minister $150.00 a year.
January 1899, three acres of land were purchased one mile east of Clarence to be used as a Cemetery at $450.00. It was dedicated October 27, 1899.
In 1923 a new pipe organ was purchased and dedicated and at the same time a chancel area was remodeled.
On Sunday morning April 28, 1951, the church belfry was struck by lightning. The damage was confined to the belfry and attic, which was later repaired.
Additional notes of interest: In very early years there was no organized choir. If special singing was needed, Anna and Martha Schwarz and two men from the Lowden Church sang. In 1896 a choir was organized. Membership dues were 25¢ and 5¢ a month dues. Mrs. John Hermann was organist. A few years later Alma Reinking was elected organist with Rev. Hermann as director.
Since then the following have been organists:
1911 – 1912: Dora Griem Meyer
1913: Alma Steffen
1914: Velma Horn Meier
1923-1953: Eleanor Conrad

Since 1953 the following have served as organists: Rosalee Hartwig, Karen Geadelmann Dotseth, Arlynn Kintzel and Carol Meyer. Carol Resewehr, Diane Bergmann and Mary Bowers are the present organists.

Organ Historical Society as of 2018.

Editor's note: The pictured organ is obviously not a Moller from the 1920's, although it's possible part of that organ could be included here.