History of St. Paul Rehburg
We have a history book for sale. The book, titled "Celebration of Our History" covers the years 1870 through 2005 and contains 92 pages of history, photos, confirmation and cemetery records. The books sell for $15 each, or 5 for $60. Shipping can be arranged for an additional $5 per book. Contact the church at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase a book.
The History of St. Paul Lutheran Church of Rehburg
The community of Rehburg, named after Rehburg, Hannover in Germany, is one of the oldest in this area. Most of the early settlers left their native country because their lives had been a struggle under conditions of economic hopelessness. The first body of immigrants arrived in this locality in 1847. Itinerant pastors of the Methodist faith, better known as circuit riders, were the first to concern themselves with the spiritual needs of the early settlers, conducting occasional services, visiting the sick and baptizing the children of the community.
Twelve years later, in 1859, work by Lutheran pastors began among these settlers. Pastor Johann G. Ebinger of the Berlin community provided the incentive for the settlers to use certain homes for meeting places where interested persons could gather regularly for worship. This work was continued by his successor, Pastor C. F. Springer.
In 1861 Pastor Springer traveled to Galveston to meet Pastor Jacob Graul, who had sailed there from Germany, to persuade him to assume the full responsibility for the Lutherans in this area. Definite steps toward formation of a congregation were undertaken with Pastor Graul’s assistance.
The homes of Ludwig Heine, Dietrich Bremer, and other dedicated laymen who have descendants living in Rehburg today served as the centers of spiritual life. These men provided the leadership needed during this era. In addition to the regular monthly services conducted by Pastor Graul, Ludwig Heine held bi-weekly services and devoted much of his time to the instruction of the young people in preparation for their confirmation. Records show that he also officiated at 36 burials and administered a number of emergency baptisms.
During a short time prior to the erection of the first church, services were held in the Hool’s Baptist Church which was then located on what is now known as Hool’s or McNelly’s Cemetery two miles from the present site of the Rehburg church.
The decision to build a house of worship was made in 1869 and the building was completed the following year under the supervision of Dietrich Bremer. Thus was the beginning of the St Paul’s congregation organized as Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische St Paulus Gemeinde. In addition, a Sunday School was organized as part of the congregation at that time. Pastor Rudolf Jaeggli, President of the First Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas, assisted by Pastors J. Graul and H. Pfenniger, conducted the organizational-dedication services on November 6, 1870.
Original members of the congregation were the following: Messrs. Christian Boessling, Dietrich Bremer, Friedrich Broesche, Heinrich A. Broesche, Wilhelm C. Broesche, William H. Broesche, Heinrich Dallmeyer, Heinrich Eberhardt, August Eldagsen, Ludwig Goerdel, Ernst Heine, Friedrich Heine, Ludwig Heine, Heinrich Homeyer, Johann Kersten, Heinrich Kiel, Wilhelm Kiel, Dietrich Korthauer, Heinrich Korthauer, Wilhelm Meyer, Christoph Neinast, Friedrich Nienstedt, Friedrich Rust, Johann Schoppe, Heinrich Turnau, Heinrich Wilkening, Wilhelm Wilkening, and widow Mrs. Caroline Broesche.
Ludwig Heine continued to conduct bi -weekly services until October of 1871 when the first pastor, Rev. Friedrich Ernst arrived. According to available records, Ludwig Heine, Heinrich Turnau, Heinrich Kiel, and Dietrich Bremer were the first church council members.
In 1874, charter members Ernst Heine and Heinrich Turnau, in recognition of their 25th wedding anniversaries, presented the church with its first bell. That bell is still in use today.
The second minister of St Paul’s congregation was Pastor Ernst Huber, who also served as school teacher for the old St. Paul School from February 1875 until March 1883. In 1878 the members of the congregation collected funds to buy six more acres of land and accomplished that on January 13, 1879. During that time the congregation increased to over forty families. In January of 1880 they acquired their first organ with free will offerings given by members of the congregation and the surrounding communities.
A Texas Synodical convention was held at Rehburg from April 28th to May 4th in the year 1887. Serving the congregation at that time was Pastor Freidrich Grueber.
St Paul’s congregation continued to prosper and on November 2, 1889 purchased fourteen more acres of land. On November 30th of that same year they had special Thanksgiving services commemorating the purchase of a second organ by members of the congregation.
The Ladies’ Aid, which served the purpose of fellowship and assistance, was organized on July 3, 1892. A building committee composed of Dietrich Bremer, Christian Boessling, Wilhelm Wilkeining, Wilhelm Turnau, Heinrich Broesche and Leopold Maas, with the supervision of general contractor Wilhelm Nienstedt, was responsible for building the second church at Rehburg. Dedication services for this new stately rural frame structure that served as the House of Worship for 70 years were held on November 7, 1892. Church council members were Pastor J. J. Roesch, Dietrich Bremer, Wilhelm Turnau, Christian Boessling and Wilhelm Wilkening.
A severe hurricane moved inland from the Gulf of Mexico on September 8 and 9, 1900, and damaged the church, moving it ten to twelve feet off its foundation. Members of the congregation and community, with ox-teams, pulled the building upright onto the foundation blocks so that the church’s 30th anniversary in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of Pastor A. Falkenberg’s ordination could be held on November 7.
A special Synodical convention was held in Rehburg on March 13 and 14, 1901. This was the first of two special conventions to be held by the Synod. Pastor August Falkenberg was serving the congregation at that time.
The Young People’s Society was organized on June 27, 1909, became affiliated with the Luther League on August 30, 1914, and now carries on activities and services for the congregation under the name of Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO).
The membership of St. Paul’s had increased to over ninety-five families in 1920. In preparation for the 50th anniversary services that same year, the house of worship was remodeled and the interior redecorated. Pastor Herman Weber provided his leadership and talent along with Henry Nienstedt, August Quebe and Henry Heine in beautifying the interior. Some of the decorative appointments were placed in the new building in 1962, and still provide charm and dignity for all to admire. The late Pastor Weber referred to these ornamental accessories as “true works of art.”
On January 2, 1928, the congregation decided to undertake another major rebuilding project. The parsonage, with Henry Boessling in charge of reconstruction, was rebuilt at a new location during that year.
The St. Paul School building, a gift from the Burton School District in 1947, became the church’s first educational building and was used as the Sunday School center for fifteen years. It was also used as a fellowship hall for the Brotherhood, Ladies’ Aid, and Luther League. The Rehburg Brotherhood, with Pastor Arthur Wolber as president, was organized on September 5th and has taken part in many projects of service for the congregation. In 1947 church membership consisted of 300 confirmed members, 140 Sunday School participants, a Ladies’ Aid group of 70, a Brotherhood of 35 and a Luther League of 15.
On October 3rd of 1948, Pastor and Mrs. A. H. Falkenberg presented a Hammond electronic organ to the congregation.
The first annual Vacation Church School for the children of Rehburg and the surrounding area was held in the summer of 1958. The program, started when Pastor R. Lynn Zimmermann was here, has been an annual summer affair since that time.
On August 28, 1960, by overwhelming majority vote, the congregation decided to begin making plans for the construction of all new facilities for worship and education. The members of the building committee elected were: A. C. Bredthauer, chairman; Mrs. Ora Nell Heine, secretary; Mrs. Mae Dell Christinek, Henry Fischer, Edwi Harmel, Alex KeIm, Herbert Korthauer, Will Schulenberg and Pastor R. Lynn Zimmermann.
In December of 1960, Travis Broesche and Associates, A. I. A. of Houston, were engaged as the architects.
A finance committee was appointed early in 1961 and included the following: Edwin KeIm, chairman; Mrs. Adeline Landua, secretary; Joe Christinek, treasurer, Leon Dallmeyer and Oliver Fischer.
In February 1962, the M & M Construction Company of Giddings, Texas was awarded the contract for construction of the new building.
When the old building was moved to allow space for the new building, the original cornerstone was opened, revealing a number of old German news letters, the church’s original constitution, and a short poem in memory of Robert E. Graul. The damage done by the wind and water of the 1900 storm made it practically impossible to read the 1892 papers; however, enough of the heavily damaged paper on which the poem was written was put together to read as follows:
August 9, 1892
This ninth day of August
Eighteen hundred and Ninety-two (1892)
I address this for the Rehburg Church Treasure, for future opening when the church is taken down again. Whoever may open it will please send it to the writer or wife, otherwise to any of my brothers or relations.
So I render the verse for same on the other side for this purpose.
Many years may come and go
Many faces greet the sight
But among them none can show
One like this Lutheran Church to me so bright.
In Sweet Memory of
Robert E. Graul
Washington Co., Texas
Pastor August Falkenberg, using German script, placed several papers showing the cost of various shovels for cemetery use, the cost of a chalice for communion and statements pertaining to the 1900 storm with the badly damaged papers when the church was placed back onto its foundation and the cornerstone was again sealed after the storm had taken its toll.
After pausing to reflect upon events that had happened in the early days of the recently-moved old building plans for the future were continued.
The congregation was incorporated under the laws of the State of Texas as the St Paul Lutheran Church of Rehburg, a non-profit organization. Original trustees of the incorporation were: Pastor R. Lynn Zimmermann, Armond Eberhardt, Brian Fischer, Hugo Harmel, Elmer Hohlt, Arthur Kochwelp, Roy Neinast, James W. Nicholas, Robert Nienstedt, Jr., and Lavern Reuter.
Ground-breaking ceremonies for construction of the new facilities were held on Sunday, March 18, 1962.
In September of 1962, the St Paul’s American Lutheran Church Women Organization was established after a year of Bible Study of a series edited by the ALCW.
On November 25, 1962, cornerstone laying services were held. The new cornerstone contains several photos of the old building, the congregation’s list of members, a brief history of the congregation, the old constitution, the proposed constitution for the congregations of the A. L. C., the Article of Incorporation, a copy of the Brenham Banner Press, and copy of the Southern Lutheran.
The new building was dedicated on December 9, 1962. It is centrally heated and air-conditioned and includes some of the finest features to be desired in church facilities of that day. The nave provides seating for more than 240 worshippers, and other areas of the building can accommodate at least that many more. There were teaching areas for ten separate class groups, a pastor’s study, church office, roomy narthex, and a beautiful kitchen.
The worship area of the building features chancel appointments from the old building. The altar, pulpit, lectern, font and organ were removed from the original structure and installed in the nave. The nave ceiling is of southern yellow pine, finished in a light clay tone, supported by laminated arches. The walls feature Philippine mahogany paneling, with striking Blenco glass windows to enhance the worshipful atmosphere. A gold chancel carpet and floor-to-ceiling chancel screen draw the worshipers’ attention immediately to the altar and pulpit. This emphasizes the Lutheran’s traditional central interest in the Proclamation of the Word of God and the Administration of the Sacraments.
One common entrance admits all people to the worship area, with immediate access to the educational area. This arrangement encourages the equal importance of worshiping God and learning to do His Will. The main narthex doors feature a striking orange color, symbolizing the life-blood of the saints and martyrs who gave themselves for Christ in the spreading of His Kingdom. The comfortable “earthy” colors of wood and brick promote the idea of complete communion between Man, the created universe, and God, the Creator and Father of all. The free-standing bell tower reaching up to the base of the tower cross indicated man’s aspiration for eternity and God’s call to the Holy Fellowship in token of our acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Our congregation, by the grace of God, continued to prosper under the guidance of Rev. John D. Kueker, who arrived in July of 1965.
One of the goals set late in 1968 for the 1970 Centennial was to retire the church note. That happy occasion, however, became a reality on Sunday, November 30, 1969 with a note burning service. the note was scheduled to run until November 1977.
A new parsonage was built and dedicated on November 12, 1972. this parsonage is still in use today.
On February 2, 1992 the newly remodeled sanctuary and educational building were dedicated. Through the years our church has changed in size and shape.
Our Former Pastors
1871-1874: Rev. Friedrich Ernst
Friedrich Ernst was born Dec. 28, 1836 in Switzerland. After finishing his theological studies at St. Chrischona, Switzerland, he was sent to Texas in 1866. He served congregations at Pflugerville, Rehburg, New Wehdem, Weideville, East Navidad, McDade and Bushdale. He served at Rehburg for 3 years. After 25 years in the ministry, he retired and lived on his farm at Lyons until his death on August 25. 1899. He was buried in the Birch cemetery.
1875-1883: Rev. Ernst Huber
Ernst Huber was born on April 16, 1947, in Baden, Germany. He was educated at St. Chrischona, Switzerland, and was ordained in 1874. He was then sent to Texas, where he served the congregations at Mason, Rehburg, Welcome, and Zionsville. He was pastor at Rehburg for 8 years. Huber was president of the synod for 2 1/2 years. He passed away at Zionsville on August 30, 1889, at the early age of 42 and was buried in the Zionsville cemetery.
1883-1891: Rev. Friedrich Grueber
Friedrich Grueber was born in Bararia, Germany on Sept. 10, 1849. He received his theological training at St. Chrischona, Switzerland, and was ordained in 1878. In the same year, he joined the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas. Pastor Grueber served White Oak, Seguin, Wharton, Elm Creek, and Rehburg. He came to Rehburg in 1883 and remained until 1891. He married Marie Eldagsen of the Rehburg community. He later served the Bartlett congregation until he retired.
1892-1893: Rev. J.J. Roesch
J.J. Roesch received his education at the Missionhouse at Basel, Switzerland, and was received into the synod in 1892. The first congregation he served was Rehburg and he was here for 1 1/2 years. Rehburg was the only congregation he served in Texas.
1893-1905: Rev. August Falkenberg
August Falkenberg was born July 3, 1849 in Vieritz, Saxony, Germany. He received special training at the Pilgrim Mission Institute, Chrischona, Switzerland. He came to Texas in 1875, and was ordained at a meeting of the First Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas at Zionsville, May 11, 1876. His first charge was at Miller's Creek, the Quihi and New Fountain for 5 years, and Yorktown for 10 years. He came to Rehburg in 1893 and remained until 1905. His wife, the former Anna Hochsteter, passed away during his time at Rehburg and was buried in the cemetery here. After leaving Rehburg, he again served Quihi and New Fountain until 1908. In 1908, he moved to Hondo and organized St. Paul's Lutheran Church there. He retired from ministry in 1922. Pastor Falkenberg served the synod as secretary and treasurer, and as president for a term of 12 years. Falkenberg observed the 50th anniversary of his ordination May 9, 1926. He died on December 6, 1926 in Hondo, Texas.
1905-1906: Rev. William Westerhoff
Willaim Sesterhoff was born MArch 27, 1855, at Kerfeld, Germany. He was educated at St. Chrischona, Switzerland, and was ordained in 1882. He served the congregations at Bauersville, San Antonio, Meyersville, and Rehburg. He married Emilie Baur of Bauersville and they had two sons, William and Adolf. Pastor Westerhoff was serving at Rehburg on June 13, 1906, when he collapsed during the service. He passed away on June 15, 1906 and was buried in Bauersville, Texas.
1906-1909: Rev. John Meyer
John Meyer served the congregation at Rehburg for 2 1/2 years. He married the former Rosalie Janek. During the time they were at Rehburg they had two daughters, Ruth, born Nov. 16, 1907 and Esther, born Nov. 28, 1908.
1909-1927: Rev. Herman Weber
Herman Weber was born October 28, 1871 in Bremenhafer, GErmany. He came to this country as a young man and received his theological training at Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa. He was ordained in 1898, and then became a missionary in North Dakota. Later, he served as pastor of a rural church near Parkston, South Dakota. He married Emma Wegner of Montello, Wisconsin; and in 1903 they came to Texas where he served congregations at Shelby, Maxwell, and Warrenton. In 1908 the family went to Germany for an eight month visit, returning to Texas in 1909. PAstor WEber accepted a call to Rehburg, was installed in July of 1909, and served the congregation for 17 years. He died on June 25, 1942 and was buried in Burton, Texas.
1928-1941: Rev. Christian A. Lehne
Christian A. Lehne was born Nov. 16, 1904 in Fredricksburg, Texas. He was baptized and confirmed in Zion Lutheran Church at Fredricksburg and attended the public schools there. He later attended Texas Lutheran College at Seguin, graduating in 1925. He graduated from Wartburg Seminary of Dubuque, Iowa, after three years of study, in 1928. He was ordained on August 5, 1928, and received his first call which was to Rehburg, and was installed on August 19, 1928. After nearly 13 years of service at Rehburg he was called into the Armed Service as an Army Chaplain and served for 20 years, retiring with the rank of Lt. Col. on July 1, 1961. After his military service, he accepted a call to St. John Lutheran Church of Castell, Texas, and served there until his retirement in January 1969. he married Edith von Lienen of Moulton, Texas on Dec. 27, 1928. They had two daughters, Peggy Jean Basse and Jo Ann Goff. He passed away April 10, 1985 in the VA hospital in Kerrville, Texas at the age of 80.
1941-1945: Rev. Paul Czerkus
Paul Czerkus was born October 9, 1903, near Hondo, Texas. He went to school in the community of Sandy Hill, Texas. He began his theological training in 1919, first attending Texas Lutheran College, Seguin, then Wartburg College in Clinton, Iowa, and he graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa in 1929. He was ordained in St. MAtthew's Lutheran Church, Sandy Hill, Texas July 21, 1929. Czerkus served congregations in Texas at Slaton, Southland, Buckholts, Killeen, and Hondo until 1941. He served the Rehburg congregation from 1941 until 1948. Late in 1945, he accepted a call to Taylor, Texas and in 1948 began serving the merged congregations now know as the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. Paul Czerkus served that church from its formation in 1948 util the time of his retirement in 1968. He married Lydia Stegemueller on May 12, 1932. They had two daughters, Pauline and Elizabeth, Pastor Czerkus passed away in December of 1997.
1947-1956: Rev. A.R. Wolber
Arthur Roy Wolber was born in Greentree, Pennsylvania on July 6, 1916. He moved with his family to Houtzdale, PN; Weisberg adn Manchester, Indiana, Cardington and Powellsville, Ohio. He received his B.A. degree from Capitol University, Columbus, Ohio and graduated from the Theological Seminary, Columbus, Ohio in 1940. Pastor Wolber served congregations in Ohio and Wisconsin from 1940 until 1945. He then came to Texas and served in Alvin and Alta Loma from 1945 to 1947. He served the Rehburg congregation from 1947 until 1956. In 1957, he accepted a call to Crawford, served there until 1964 and then served at Blanco. He married Ruby E. Carlson of Clifton, Texas on March 23, 1947. The Wolbers had five children; Nelda Helms, and Dorothy, Margaret, Theodore and Esther Wolber.
1957-1965: Rev. R. Lynn Zimmermann
Raymond Lynn Zimmermann was born Sept. 18, 1931 at Port ARthur, Texas. He graduated from Nederland High School, Nederland, Texas, in 1949; from Texas Lutheran College, Seguin, in 1953; and from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa in 1957. He was ordained July 28, 1957 at St. John's Lutheran Church, Port Arthur, TX, and accepted a call to Rehburg, and was installed on August 17, 1957. Pastor Zimmermann served as secretary of the Brenham Pastoral Conference, East Central ALC Conference, and on the District Stewardship committee. He served our congregation until 1965, when he accepted a call to the First Lutheran Church at Floresville, TX and served there until 1968. He was married to Carra Elizabeth Hohlt of Rehburg on April 16, 1961 and they have two daughters, Rebecca and Jennifer, and one son, Jeffrey, and eight grandchildren. Pastor Lynn and Carra later moved back to Rehburg and became members of our church. Pastor Lynn passed away March 24, 2016 in the Rehburg community and is buried here in our cemetery.
1965-1987: Rev. John D. Kueker
John David Kueker was born in Lindenau, Texas on April 2, 1934. He was baptized and confirmed into the Christian faith at St. John's Lutheran Church in Lindenau. He graduated from Cuero High School in 1951 and then served four years in the United States Air Force. He graduated from Victoria College in 1958 and completed his B.S Degree in Agriculture at Southwest Texas State College in 1960. Fro one year after that he was employed by teh Soil Conservation service at Edna, Texas. In 1961 he entered Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa and graduated on MAy 26, 1965. After serving one year of internship in Fond du Lac Wisconsin, he was ordained on June 13, 1965 at St. John's Lutheran Church, Lindenau, and was installed July 11, 1965 at St. Paul Lutheran Church of Rehburg. He was married to Jean Kleinecke on Feb. 28, 1960 at St. Mark's Luthernan church at Cuero, They had two daughters, Jo Lynne Goldberg and Joy Annette Kueker. Pastor Kueker served Rehburg until 1987 when he accepted a call from Buckholts, Texas. He still resides there in Buckholts.
987-1996: Rev. Robert L. Sorensen
Pastor Robert Lynn Sorensen was born on Nov. 16, 1951 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He came to Texas to attend the University of Houston College of Pharmacy in 1975. Pastor Sorensen worked as a pharmacist for 5 years in Sealy, Houston, and San Angelo. He married Joylene Klaus of Sealy on May 7, 1977 at St. John's Lutheran Church of Bellville. The Sorensens moved to Dubuque, Iowa in 1980 for him to attend Wartburg Theological Seminary. he graduated in 1984 and was ordained on August 5, 1984 at Calvary Lutheran Church of San Angelo. Pastor Sorensen accepted his first call to St. James Lutheran Church of Harper, Texas in August of 1984. He accepted the call to Rehburg in spring of 1987 and was installed on May 3, 1987. Pastor Robert and Joy have three daughters, Christie Lynn, Emily Suzanne, and Katrina Joy. Pastor Sorensen left Rehburg in Sept. of 1996 to continue his work as a pharmacist, and continued to supply and preach at area congregations on a part time basis. He later went back into full time ministry and is the pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church of Phillipsburg.
998-2007: Rev. Larry Henrichs
Rev. Larry Henrichs as born on Sept. 26, 1945 in Roscoe, Texas. He graduated from Newman High School in Sweetwater, Texas. Pastor Henrichs received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from North Texas State University in Denton, TX. He graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa. Psstor Henrichs married Helen Frances Simpson on August 26, 1967 at St. John Lutheran Church, Winters, TX. They have three children: Heather Selie Henrichs Cannon, Ty Benjamin Henrichs, and Liesl Robin Henrichs Chenier. Before coming to St. Paul Rehburg, Pastor Henrichs served in the following congregations and communities: St. Paul Lutheran in Crawford, TX, St. John Lutheran in Coryell City, TX, Trinity Lutheran Church of Clovis, NM, Hope Lutheran Church of Buckholts, TX, Chaplain training at the Shannon West Texas Memorial Hospital in San Angelo, TX, Interim minister at the First Lutheran Church of Galveston, TX, Chaplain at the Clifton Lutheran Sunset Home. Pastor Henrichs came to St. Paul Lutheran Church of Rehburg in November of 1998, and served here until 2006??? He retired from ministry here at Rehburg due to health reasons, and the family moved to Clifton, TX
2008-2011: Rev. Steven J. Cox
2012- 2018: Rev. Denise Seymour
2020- : Rev. Alvin Luedke