St. Paul is a church with a long history. In the summer of 2003 we celebrated our 125th Anniversary. We give God thanks for blessing us for so long here in North Ellsworth. Below is a brief history of how the church got started. If you want to know more about our church, order our 125th Anniversary Celebration Book for $10 plus shipping by emailing Pastor Hoppe with your request.

A Brief History

In 1871, Kansas had been a state for only ten years, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod was only twenty-six years old, and in Ellsworth County, less than four sections of land were under cultivation. It was in this year that a small group of Lutheran immigrants in Wisconsin heard about a "paradise" available for the taking, right here in Ellsworth County. So, the Rev. Richard Erdtmann, a former teacher from Germany, came and brought with him Fred Haase, Carl Henke, and William Peterman. The "paradise" they arrived at was and endless expanse of grass and hills, much of which belonged to other people, whose Texas longhorn cattle roamed freely. The Rev. Erdtmann had no congregation and no church building for a meeting place, but he preached, baptized, instructed, confirmed, married, and buried people from all directions in his home northwest of Ellsworth.

Over the next few years, more Lutheran immigrants arrived. With Rev. Erdtmann gone and feeling a need to gather for common worship in a church of their own, they contacted the Rev. E. Nething who was living near Junction City. Rev. Nething came to Ellsworth as frequently as he could and held the first service December 10, 1876 in the home of Fredrich Henke. After Rev. Nething was called to a distant congregation, the Rev. H. Krause of Rush County came to guide the flock. It was under his leadership that the congregation drew up a constitution, which was accepted and signed.

In July of 1878, a seminary student named Emil Maehr was called to be the new pastor, and he arrived before the church was built. The first church was called David's Star Lutheran Church. Only twenty years later, our present limestone church was built and renamed St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church. We have had eleven different pastors guiding the flock and twenty-one teachers educating the young. It was under Pastor Maehr that we joined the Luthern Church - Missouri Synod.

Since those early beginnings, much has changed. We have shifted from German to English; gone from a large active school to no school at all; we have witnessed the coming of electricty, cars, planes, computers, and increasing prosperity; and through all the years God blessed us - keeping us through wars, drought, hail, storms, and peace.