History of Our Church


Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church, was founded in 1948.


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During the month of August in 1947 Synodical Missionary, The Rev. Dwight H. Shelhart, began canvassing the area north and south of Greenfield Ave. to the west of Highway 100; an area of few homes, many empty lots, and wide open spaces. The first church service was held on November 2nd in a private home located at 12211 W. Rainbow Avenue and a few weeks later the first Sunday School session was held in the same home.


In January of 1948 the congregation was given permission to organize and to purchase our present property. On March 14, 1948 the first church council was elected. The congregation was formally organized on Palm Sunday, March 20, 1948 as a member of the United Lutheran Church of America. On April 11th the congregation began holding services at the Shady Nook Elementary School on 124th and Greenfield Avenue.  


The first pastor of the church, Mr. Victor K. Wrigley, was called and began to serve on June 1, 1948 following his ordination. Orville Michelson supervised the construction of the parsonage on August 5,1948 and the original church building on November 28, 1948.


On March 6, 1949 a service for the laying of the cornerstone was held. The first worship service was held in the basement on October 16, 1949. The dedication service for the original church was held on November 13, 1949. A new Baldwin organ was dedicated on June 15. 1950. The organ is still in use in a village church at Genesee, Wisconsin.


Because of a growing congregation and the need for more space a groundbreaking service for a large basement addition was held on May 10,1953. The new basement addition was dedicated on March 25, 1954. Vernon Knoff supervised the construction of the new basement addition, which was dedicated on March 25. 1954.


On September 9,1965 the Church Council established a committee to investigate the possible construction of a new super-structure on top of the basement addition. As a result the Lutheran Laymen Movement was retained to direct a capital funding campaign. On November 13, 1966 the basic architectural plans were accepted. A successful capital funding drive was achieved in March 1967 through L.LM. with Bob Hansen as member director.


To be continued...

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