St. Stephen’s was not the first Lutheran congregation organized in the City of Beaver Dam, but rather, the second. It was organized on December 5, 1875, when twenty-five staunch, confessional Lutherans, together with the sainted Pastor Paul Lucas, felt conscience-bound to withdraw from the congregation in which they had held membership. They organized into a separate congregation and joined the Wisconsin Synod. Within a week, property was purchased at the corner of Rowell and South Center Streets. This small piece of land contained a house and a barn. The barn was immediately remodeled into a church and dedicated to the service of the Lord.
The present church stands at the corner of West Maple Avenue and West Street. This property was purchased in 1883. The little church on Rowell Street was moved across the Madison Street Bridge to this new location and the old property was sold. Blessed by God, the congregation grew steadily and soon the little church was too small. In 1887 a new church was built. The cornerstone of the church, bearing the year 1887, has found an appropriate place at the rear of our present church building. The old church was used as the school building. Again the congregation grew rapidly and the congregation decided to build a new church in 1919. This new church is our present building and was dedicated on March 14, 1920.
Services were conducted in German and English services were introduced in 1915. Both German and English services were conducted each Sunday until 1958. A second English service was introduced in April 1949 and started 7:30 AM. This service was to accommodate the overflow in the 9:00 a.m. service where it had become necessary to place chairs for the worshippers in almost every church service. German was still used at 10:15 a.m. German services were cut back until they were discontinued in 1973. Since 1957 two full-time pastors have served the congregation.
One of the greatest blessings of our congregation has been our Christian Day School where God’s lambs have been taught the Work of God daily. The history of our Day School dates back to the very beginning of our congregation. The men who founded the congregation and school where the Word of God should reign supreme were indeed mindful of St. Paul’s words to ”bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” St. Stephen’s has also continued to carry out Christ’s commission to “make disciples of all nations” by reaching out with His Word and teaching it. A formal Evangelism program was begun in 1986. Since 1989, our Bible Class for adults is offered weekly during the school year. The Thursday evening service is conducted year round since 1992. A third full-time pastor was called in 1991 to serve more of God’s people with the Word.
By God’s grace, St. Stephen’s will continue to be founded on the Word of God, and will continue to grow as much as each of us grows in the knowledge and use of that life-saving Word!