Our Story

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:20
 

On May 5th, 1953, a group of Christians interested in forming a Missouri Synod Lutheran congregation in West Bend met at the residence of Glenway Ehnert, Sr. At the time there was no Missouri Synod church in town. Pastor Elmer Zanow of St. John’s Lutheran Church in New Fane gave guidance to the fledgling group. Pilgrim’s first service was held May 4th, 1953, in a vacant store located at 327 Main St. in West Bend. Pilgrim Evangelical Lutheran Church was formally chartered on January 18th, 1954, with 18 charter members. Pastor Zanow was followed by Pastor Edgar Engelking of the Town of Scott from November 1954 to May 1956.
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Pastor Paul Natzke was installed as the first full-time pastor of Pilgrim on May 6th, 1956. The congregation at this time had grown to 72 members. Services were held at Fair Park School in West Bend after September 2nd, 1956. In 1956, the land was purchased on Meadowbrook Drive.
 
Groundbreaking for the church building was held September 29th, 1957, with the cornerstone being laid on February 2nd, 1958. The first worship service was held in the newly completed facility August 8th, 1958, and the official dedication service was celebrated October 12th, 1958. A parsonage was built and dedicated on March 27th, 1960. During the early years, German services were held at the church once a month. Pastor Natzke left in 1963 when called to start Peace Lutheran Church in Beaver Dam.
 
Pastor Haupt of St. John’s Lutheran Church in New Fane served the vacancy until Pastor Ronald Albers accepted the call to Pilgrim and was installed on September 22nd, 1963. He served Pilgrim until September 17th, 1976.
 
Pastor Arthur Senn was the vacancy pastor for Pilgrim until Pastor John Stephan accepted the call and was installed on September 1st, 1968. A new educational unit and fellowship hall was built and dedicated at a special service held June 30, 1974. Pastor John Stephan and his wife, Viola, retired June 30, 1986, after 54 years of ministry, 18 years of which he faithfully served at Pilgrim.
 
Pastor Herbert Ries was the vacancy pastor for Pilgrim until Pastor Timm Griffin accepted the call and was installed August 3rd, 1986. In the winter of 1988-1989, seeing growth in the church and community, Pilgrim started a new mission. On November 5th, 1989, the first service for Pilgrim’s daughter church, St. Andrews Lutheran Church was held at Green Tree School.

On March 3rd, 1990, Vicar Bryan T. O’Connor was installed at Pilgrim to serve under Pastor Timm Griffin. Pastor O’Connor was ordained as Pilgrim’s Associate Pastor to serve as the primary pastoral care for St. Andrews Lutheran on March 2nd, 1991. He was installed as St. Andrews pastor on October 18th, 1992 and left Pilgrim.

 
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On June 12th, 1994, Pastor Joseph Michael Fisher was ordained and installed as Pilgrim’s new Associate Pastor. An additional parsonage was built and dedicated July 9th, 1995.

On July 29th, 1995, the cornerstone was re-laid and a new foyer and a drive-through canopy were dedicated. In June 1997, Pastor Joseph Michael Fisher was called to be Senior Pastor at Pilgrim.
 
On July 27th, 1997, Pastor Emeritus David R. Meyer was installed at Pilgrim to help with the pastoral duties and served Pilgrim until retiring in September 2006.

On June 8th, 2003, Pilgrim broke ground for another education unit addition which was completed in 2004.

 
On August 26, 2007, Christopher Louis Raffa was ordained and installed as Pilgrim’s new Associate Pastor.