History of our Church


A complete history of St. Matthew was completed and published in 2002. Copies are available in the church office. Below is a more condensed version.


    Before 1912, German Lutheran immigrants settling in Monticello had no church. But Pastor Hans Naether, the spiritual leader for the Castle Grove Lutheran Church known as St. Peter and Paul, began to hold worship services about Easter time in 1912 in a rented hall known as Kinsella Hall in what is now Strittmatter's Law Office at 123 East First Street.

    Then, during the summer of 1912, Professor G. J. Fritschel of Wartburg Seminary took charge of the Castle Grove Congregation and also preached in Monticello. The need for a new church was apparent and Prof. Fritschel, alsong with Pastor Christoph Mardorf of Wayne Zion Lutheran Church (who was rendering spiritual service for the Bowen's Prairie group of Lutherans) proceeded to organize a congregation in Monticello.

    On September 8, 1912, after the regular church service, a meeting was held during which the articles of incorporation for St. Matthew Lutheran Church were agreed upon by the following charter members: August Siebels, J.B. (John) Zimmerman, John Burrack, Henry Behrends, John Stadtmjueller, Fred Lehman, Gerd Kammerman, August Schlemmer, John Otten, Gerd Schmidt, J. H. Heeren and T. J. (John) Gerdes.

    Through the aggressiveness of this group, a sum of $2,254 was raised to buy and renovate a 30 x 60 foot building at 115 East Third Street. The congregation dedicated this building as a House of Worship on December 15, 1912 with Rev Mardorf preaching in the German language in the forenoon, and Prof. Fritschel preaching in the American language in the evening.

    In 1919, the last of any debts incurred during the preceding years had been paid off and with a growing congregation; new facilities were being looked at. By 1923, a new church had been built and was dedicated on April 15 of that year. The cost of this church was $25,000. and the total value of the church, parsonage, land and equipment was about $55,000.

    St. Matthew has been served by ten pastors in its 100 year history including: Christoph Mardorf, Sigmund M. Ide (1913-1926), Henry L. Adix (1926-1954), Arnold Schlueter (1954-1961), Anton Kirkegaard (1962-1969), Harold Naig (1970-1983), Robert Slade (1984-1989), Robert Hannemann (1989-2002) Charles Johnson (2003-2007), and Darryl Larson (2008-present).

    Carol Guard served St. Matthew's in the position of A.I.M. (Associate In Ministry) after earning her Master's degree from Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque in 1996.  She served from 1996 until 1999.

    A number of interims have also served St. Matthew's well including most reciently: Norm Schedler (between Naig and Slade), John Meyer (between Slade and Hannemann) and Harris Hostager (between Hannemann and Johnson)and Margaret Debner and Stephanie Lorenz (between Johnson and Larson).

    Current historical events include the re-roofing of the church and educational unit in 2006 and the ordination of Rene Johnson in February of 2007 along with the demolition of the parsonage in April of 2007. In 2008, together with Dean Cox of Kardee's, we cemented the south parking lot and alley. In 2010 Lutheran Services of Iowa opened an office upstairs, which serves families with pre-school children in Jones County.  In 2010, the church’s brickwork was tuckpointed.