History of Faith Lutheran Church, Three Lakes, Wisconsin
On a beautiful day in April 1981, the concept of forming a new American Lutheran Church in Three Lakes went into action. This dream had been in the minds of many people. After checking with the American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church of America, and the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, we were told we needed to wait a year before becoming a Mission Congregation. The other option was to move forward, finding our own financial support.
Trinity Lutheran Church of Rhinelander, with Pastor Check and their Church Council, gave us untold support. Trinity allowed Pastor Check to serve as our Pastor, and other members of Trinity provided additional assistance. On April 12, 1981, a group of dedicated Christians met in the basement of the Oneida Village. Through a process of elimination, a unanimous decision was made to name our church “Faith Lutheran Church”, as faith was absolutely necessary if our church was to survive, grow, and prosper.
Services were scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 18th, the evening before Easter 1981. We found we could use the Club House at Lake Terrace Estates, free of charge. And Trinity allowed Pastor Check to shepherd us, free of charge. The altar was designed, built, and donated by Jerry Hansen and was adorned with borrowed paraments from St. John’s, Ashwaubenon and beautiful Easter lilies. With God’s help we were on our way; 120 people celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus that evening!
Our first Sunday school class followed worship that evening. The next Saturday we moved the Bible Study Hour ahead of the worship service so it would not be so late for the little ones. After a few months it was necessary to move to a new location. We chose the Three Lakes Community Building as that was available free of charge on Sunday mornings.
Pastor Don White, our first assigned pastor, conducted our first Sunday morning service on November 1, 1981. Worship was at 9:30 with Sunday school at 10:30. With the presence of Pastor White, confirmation classes were started, and he was provided free office space in the Rod and Terri Ingram Building on the edge of town. At the renovation of this building into apartments, Pastor White moved the church office into the Three Lakes Office Center.
In February of 1982, a Men’s Chorus was started and shortly thereafter the women joined in. The Choir first sang on Palm Sunday in 1982. At the same time, Trinity assisted the women of Faith Lutheran as they formally joined the American Lutheran Church Women. In the summer of 1982, Pastor Alan Shaeffmier served as our pastor.
Finally, in February of 1983, Pastor Gary Garnatz became our first installed pastor. We purchased property on Highway 45, just east of the cemetery. We dedicated our ground on April 15, 1984, Palm Sunday….our Third Anniversary. Ground breaking was celebrated on March 27, 1987 and the construction of our building began. With Al Huffman in the lead, members contributed countless hours. On March 19, 1989 the first worship service was conducted in the basement of the new building. And at long last, on July 16, 1989, the joyful members of Faith Lutheran Church gathered to dedicate the Sanctuary of the new building to the glory of God!
We believe that with God’s help all things are possible. All we have to do is look around us to see his handiwork…..with faith in God and dedicated workers, our mission and ministry continue in Three Lakes.
Congregation organized as Faith Lutheran Church, ALC
April 18, 1981
First worship service conducted
June 8, 1981
Faith Lutheran Church was incorporated
May 23, 1982
First confirmation class of six members was confirmed
February 13, 1983
Gary Garnatz installed as our full-time pastor
July 27, 1986
Building Committee was formed
March 27, 1987
Ground-breaking for the new church building
November 22, 1987
Service of Dedication for the building
March 19, 1989
First worship service in the new sanctuary
July 16, 1989
Service of Dedication for the Sanctuary
Purchased our church parsonage
1981 – 1983: Pastor Jerry Check, Pastor Don White, Pastor Alan Schaeffmier
1983 – 1985: Pastor Gary Garnatz
1985 – 1991: Pastor Glen Enright
1992 – 1997: Pastor Jonathan Schmidt
1997 – 2004: Pastor Sharon Huff / Pastor Tom Huff
2004 – 2012: Pastor Barb Girod
2013 – 2019: Pastor Ken Ranos
2019 – 2021: Interim Pastor John Kuziej
2021 – Present: Pastor Catie Ford