Our History


Mrs. Frank Erickson (Charlotte) wrote an extensive history for the 75th  Anniversary of the Stratford Lutheran Church.  We are indebted to her for this work as we have relied on it for subsequent historical anniversaries.   It reads and we are in complete agreement as follows….

We meet today with a special sense of gratitude

and devotion. We are the heirs of a glorious heritage left to us by those who 150 years ago came together to establish this church. 

God has always been desirous that His people should remember the days of old and recall what He has done for them even through past generations.

Each Christian and each congregation has ample reason to pause along the way and consider what they, by the grace of God, enjoy today as the result of the work and sacrifice of their Christian ancestry. 

A need of God and of a spiritual life was manifested in the lives of many of these pioneers from the very first. The family altar was never omitted in their homes and church holidays were religiously observed. Sunday began at 6 PM on Saturday evening, when all labor must cease.  With the few belongings they had been able to bring with them from Sweden, they had found room for a Bible, the Psalm book, and other devotional books.  They felt the need to assemble- themselves together and met in their humble homes for the reading of the word of God and for prayer.  A humble beginning, with empty hands as far as material possessions were  concerned, but rich in God, for they confidently looked to God for help, and trusted in his sure word.

Our forefathers had problems to meet, with which we are unfamiliar in this age.  Coming to church was a very difficult matter.  There were no roads through the timber, nor over the prairies with its many sloughs, but this did not hinder them from going to worship, as their places were never vacant in church.   It may be well to bear in mind that the spirit of speed and haste, which dominates men of today, did not affect our founders in any marked degree.   They had time to come to church and stay at church, though they walked long distances.

We trace the beginning of our church to Swede Bend as early as  the late 1840’s when a few Swedish settlers came up the Des Moines River locating in this area.  Peter Laurintz arrived in 1849 and Jonas Ericson in 1851.  A log cabin, which served as a school house, was built on land owned by Jonas Ericson. In 1865, the first church and parsonage were built on the Jonas Ericson farm in the Swede Bend area. Mrs. Ivan Andersen owns the land in 2009.

As early as 1854, Pastor Håkanson preached in the community and some people of confirmation age were confirmed. Pastor Håkanson organized the Stratford Lutheran Church in a log cabin with 40 charter members on Sunday, October 30, 1859.  Meetings were held in homes of members for about five or six years after the church was organized. Håkanson continued here as pastor for nine years, at which time he also served at Swede Point, now known as Madrid, Iowa. Among those as charter members of our church were Peter Laurintz, Jonas Ericson, Anders Pearson, Anders Johnson, Hans Hanson, J. Berglund and Carl Gustafson.

 In 1865-1870, Pastor C. J. Malmberg served our church for 5 years.  Much credit should be given to both pastors for their work against almost unbelievable difficulties and hardships, through misunderstandings, strife and poverty.  They were pioneer missionaries in the truest sense of the word.  They assembled our Swedish countrymen, organized a community, planted the Cross in their midst, built churches, taught and preached the Word of God and baptized.  

Before the town of Stratford came into existence, the post office was located at Hooks Point, about one mile north of what is now known as Stratford.  Those of the Lutheran faith in the Hooks Point community had meetings in their homes and in the schoolhouse.  In 1873, they joined the Swede Bend congregation.  The same year the church became known as the Hooks Point Church.  In 1883, the name was changed to “Stratford Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church”.

During the vacancy from 1870-1874 the following Lutheran Pastors served the congregation:  M.C. Ranseen, C.J. Damstrom, V. Vestling, and Carl Nelson who lived in Swede Bend.   During the latter part of 1874 and the early part of 1875 Pastor Siljestrom, then minister at Madrid, Iowa served the congregation every third Sunday. P. Nelson also served the congregation occasionally at this time.

 In 1876, the congregation purchased, from Hans Hanson, for a consideration of $62.50, five acres of land in Section 7-86-26 which is now Teneyck addition of Stratford.  A parsonage was built on this land in 1876.  In 1878, the church was moved from Swede Bend and placed where the present church stands. We are grateful to those who were instrumental in securing such a splendid location for the church.  The church was given a deed to this land, which was recorded January 8, 1880. Magnus Spångberg 1875-1878, Catechist-Carl Nelson 1878-1883, student G.Lundborg , student C.J.Peterson served us during the period from 1886 to 1888. 

Pastor S. Pearson became our pastor in 1889 and for two years also served the Skaraborg congregation. In the winter of 1892-93, a decision was made to build a new church.  By March 1893, $1500 had been contributed, some $400 coming from businessmen and others.  The church was built on the same location as the old church.   It was 34x60 feet, 16 ft. sidewalls and 48 ft. high with a hot air furnace.   Members of the building committee were S..J. Berggren, Olaf Shoberg, A.G. Barquist, Charles Felleson, Peter Leksell, Olaf Lundgren and John Barquist.  The contract was let to G.W. Hamilton and O.F. Norling for $2450.  August Peterson built the stone foundation and A.C. Deo moved the old church back 100 feet.   The total cost of the church was $3396.    The tower is over 80 feet high and holds a large bell, which was not included in this cost.   The old church was later sold to Charles Johnson who tore it down and built a house on his farm.  The church was ready for Christmas 1893 when the festive “Julotta” matins were held and the traditional Sunday School program.  The church was officially dedicated February 13-14, 1894 with Pastor A.A. Dalberg of Des Moines and Pastor J.E. Erlander of Gowrie participating in the service.  Pastor Pearson resigned in 1895.   In 1896, a new parsonage was built, financed by a donation of $1,000 from Hans Hanson.

Pastor Edward Stark served the congregation from 1896-1899.  The 50th Anniversary was observed Thursday, Sept. 21, 1899.  Dr. O.Olson spoke in the Swedish language. Worship services were held in the afternoon and evening following a congregational dinner.   Pastor J.A. Hemborg served but one year, followed by Pastor C.W. Andeer (1901-1903)

In 1903, a chapel was built on the northeast corner of the church property.   The Young People’s Society paid for the material and the congregation paid for the labor.   The chapel became the social center of the church, where good programs were given and tasty meals served.   After the basement was built in 1931 the chapel was sold to Harry Carlson and moved to his farm and remodeled into a house.

Pastor J.A. Christenson of Dayton served the congregation until the next pastor, A.P. Martin arrived in October 1903 and left in 1907.   Pastor A.P. Green served first as a student and then as pastor after ordination in 1908, remaining until the latter part of 1909.   Pastor Green was the first minister who owned an automobile.  It was a high wheel red auto (make unknown) with room for three passengers.   During the vacancy that followed Pastor Green’s resignation, Pastor N.E. Kron served as vice pastor.  During this time students C.E. Sholander, A.F. Andre, Bikborg, B.M. Samuelson and C.A. Callerstrom served the church.  The latter came as pastor in 1913, serving here during World War I in 1917 and 1918.   During that time ten of our boys answered the call to service, with three of them giving their lives for their country.

 Pastor F.O. Hanson and student Roger Peterson served during the brief vacancy, which followed Pastor Callerstrom’s resignation in 1919. The 60th Anniversary was observed May 27-28, 1919.

 In 1920, Pastor S.P. Holmberg was called and served until 1924.  A garage was built in 1924.  Pastor Ekeberg of Dayton served as vice pastor.  Pastor Sandeen of Boone and Pastor Jessup of Cedar Rapids served as temporary pastors

In 1925, student Gunnar Goranson  served us during Christmas.   A call was extended to him to become our pastor in 1926 after his ordination.   He served our congregation until 1930 and then resigned to go to Montreal, Canada to serve as a missionary among the Swedish immigrants.  Student Erland Borg served the congregation while Pastor Goranson visited Sweden for four months following his marriage in 1929. 

In 1929, a small addition was built on the southeast corner of the church to make room for the beautiful pipe organ which has been a very blessed asset to the church.

Pastor Anton Chell began his work as pastor the middle of the year 1930.  In 1931, the church was raised three feet and a basement was built under the entire church.  A ten foot addition was made to the east end of the church for the sacristy, choir room and altar space.  Members of the church performed most of the work. The first cornerstone was laid on April 19, 1931.  The same year a porch was built on the parsonage.  In 1934, the word “Swedish” was dropped from the official name.  That same year the 75th Anniversary was celebrated September 7, 8 and 9.  Among other pastors was the presence of Dr. G.A. Brandelle, President of the Augustana Synod.  The history of our church, written by Mrs. Frank Erickson, was read by Myrtle Olson Anderson.  Pastor Chell resigned in 1936 and Pastor Carl S. Ericson took up the work the same year, serving until 1943.  A new altar, altar railing and new pews were placed in the church in 1936. 

Pastor F.W.Hanson accepted a call in 1944 and served until he retired in 1953.  During World War II, 18 of our young men served our country, with one paying the supreme sacrifice.  In 1948 more interior improvements were made in the church.  The 90th Anniversary was celebrated August 20-21, 1949.  Pastor Chell was the only former pastor returning for the event.  In 1951, a new Wurlitzer organ was installed.  In 1954, the church interior was repaired and painted.  In 1955,  it  was painted on the outside.

Pastor Lawrence S. Anderson assumed the pastoral work of our church in 1953.  In 1957, Lutheran Companions organization was formed with approximately 20 young married couples meeting monthly.  Some of the activities each year were…to rake and clean the church yard with their children assisting, often followed by a wiener roast; farmed the church acreage; served food at farm sales; served an ice cream social each summer…with homemade ice cream… first on the north church lawn then later in the city park; made floats for the yearly city parade and decorated a large Christmas tree and the interior of the sanctuary in mid December. The organization continued with fewer members and less activities until 2000.  During the centennial year of 1959 the balcony and the church kitchen were remodeled.  A ranch style parsonage with full basement for Sunday School classes, was built at a cost of $26,000.  Our Centennial Anniversary was observed August 20th-23rd, 1959. A pageant was presented and Pastors Goranson, Chell, Borg and Dr. Lingwall were the featured speakers.  The congregation had grown to 310 confirmed members. Pastor Anderson concluded his work in August 1960. 

 Pastor Robert Carlson arrived in the spring of 1961.  During his pastorate the debt on the parsonage was paid.   The congregation adjusted to the merger of the four Lutheran church bodies, forming the LCA ~ Lutheran Church In America.  Pastor Carlson left the congregation in January 1968.  

Pastor A.M. Youngquist assumed the work on May 1, 1968.  Ahrens Bro’s Construction was contracted to put a new entrance area on the front of our church at a cost of $8112.  It was dedicated on October 26, 1969, at the time of our 110th Anniversary with Dr. Raymond Lingwall, President of the Iowa Synod, bringing the message.  Pastor Youngquist suggested our congregation purchase the stain glass windows from the Manson Lutheran church for $1100, as they were taking their church down. The stain glass windows were reconditioned and installed in our church in 1972.   Movable Sunday School partitions were purchased.  We saw an average attendance of 151 each Sunday and an average of 86 children in SS. Pastor Anton and Erma Youngquist were honored for their 40th Anniversary with an open house when guiding our congregation.  Pastor Anton Youngquist retired in 1973.

Pastor Robert Nelson of Burnside was our Vice Pastor during this vacancy.   Ray  Lavrenz, of Hubbard formerly of Stratford, filled the pulpit during the absence of a pastor. Eleven children attended church camp in 1973.   The church basement was carpeted.

Pastor Calvin Rossman came in September 1974.  The LCW (Lutheran Church Women) prepared a cookbook during our 115th Anniversary year, which is enjoyed by many in the community. LCW also sponsored “A Day of Renewal” in the winter that still continues in 2004. Pastor Rossman suggested that congregate meals should be started in Stratford and sponsored by our Lutheran church. They began Dec 1, 1976.  Pastor kept the records for it during most of his pastorate here…then Dorothy Westrum for a short time followed by Ardelle Phipps for the last 20 years.  The meals still continue to be served at the Stratford Senior Citizens Center and Athens Woods at this time in 2004.   Leeds Grocery prepared the meals until October 2004, which discontinued due to closing their store. Meals for Athens Woods Estates residents were added to the congregate meals program in March 2001, but now the care center has been preparing their meals for several years.  During the last 14 years, 101,512 were served.  That is an average of 7,250 meals a year.

In 1975, Esther Rossman showed the ladies how to make quilts from used clothing for Lutheran World Relief.   The ladies have made 3228 quilts in the last 29 years.   205 quilts were the most quilts made in one year. Due to lack of ladies sewing…fewer quilts are being made after the spring of 2004. In 2009, 12 quilts were sent to Lutheran World Relief.  Approximately 27 quilts and several boxes of good men’s clothing have been taken to the Homeless Shelter in Des Moines by a friend in Ankeny. 

The parsonage was shingled during 1976. The Church purchased an Allen organ for $15,030 in 1977.  It was installed in the balcony.

The Lutheran Companions served refreshments for fellowship coffees following the summer worship service for many years.  The Lutheran Companions painted the parsonage in 1979 and celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the organization in 1982.  All former members were invited for dinner and a program.  The southeast church entry was enclosed in 1980. Pastor Rossman served us until September 1983.  At this time we have 194 communing members.

Pastor Jenny Edinger was installed in April, 1984. We celebrated our Quasquicentennial with monthly displays of 18 different heritages and themes. In September 23, 1984, Dr. Ruben Swanson attended our celebration.

The LCW ladies prepared the 2nd cookbook in memory of our 125th Anniversary.   Ceiling fans were installed in the church basement.  In 1987, ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) was formed by merging Lutheran Church of America with American Lutheran Church.  In 1988, the exterior of the church was painted.   In 1990, the exterior of the parsonage was painted, the Church roof was shingled and burgundy carpet was laid in the front entry of the church.   In 1991, the parsonage basement walls were re-enforced with steel I  beams. In 1992, the parsonage was shingled.   An oak handrail was built and installed in the church front entry. Pastor Jenny served us until 1992.

 Pastor Thomas Hungerford began serving the church in January 1993. In 1995, carpet was laid in the balcony, purchased by the Love circle. Kitchen carpeting was laid in the church basement, the walls were painted and new curtains were hung.  Oak handrails were built and installed on steps to the altar.   A new sound system with dual recorder was given and a wireless microphone was purchased. In 1997, the church exterior was sanded and painted for $8327.  In 1998, a new Carrier heating and cooling system was installed in the church by Bergman Plumbing.   The sanctuary was painted.   In Dec. 1998, AAL paid for materials for the new cedar front steps for the parsonage, built by Tim Bergman and Dirk Westrum.  New garage doors were installed in 1998. In 1999, the parsonage was painted the same color for $2000. Our people were saddened when Pastor Tom died of cancer on May 5, 1999.

Our faithful lay members led us in worship service in the absence of a pastor.  We were grateful for Pastors John Grebner, Doug Bullock Tiffany of Webster City, Dave Abrams formerly of Boone, Ray Roden formerly of Webster City and intern Amy Odgren  of Stanhope OSL assisting us  in our time of need.

 We celebrated our 140th Anniversary October 31, 1999, with former Pastor Robert Carlson delivering the message.  Pastor Lawrence Anderson was also in attendance.  Stover Photography of Norwalk took a congregational photo. A potluck dinner was followed by greetings from wives of former Pastors, Phyllis Carlson &Esther Rossman.

In 1999-2000, the parsonage remodeling project included…new windows in the master bedroom and bath room, enclosed old patio for a new master bathroom, closets and laundry room; remodeled central bath, refinished wood floors, new carpet in dining and living room; new light fixtures in dining room and kitchen dining area, new sheer curtains, clean drapes;  new floor covering in kitchen, baths and front entry; walls painted, new kitchen sink and counter top, new wiring in office, new 200 AMP electric panel; partitioned off a bedroom in the basement, installed a small sink  and medicine cabinet in basement, insulate and cover N. garage wall, new garage door opener for approximately $39,000.   Kevin Patterson-contractor of Story City.

Pastor Joe Lambert was called in May of 2000 to minister to our congregation.  He accepted and was installed August 6, 2000.   We are sharing, for the first time, the Pastoral expenses 50/50 with Our Savior’s Lutheran in Stanhope.  Pastor Joe and Gracia Lambert have 5 children…Joseph entering first year in college, Abraham 11th grade, Tia 9th grade, Samuel 8th grade and Benjamin in 4th grade.

A Roland Electronic Piano was purchased for the Sanctuary in Oct 2001 for $6294.75.   In Feb 2002, photos were taken of our congregation by Olan Mills for a pictorial directory.

A building committee of Elaine Lundquist, Rachel Cahill, Donna Robinson, Brian Bergman, Tim Bergman, Rick Adams, Dirk Westrum and Darrell Young were appointed on Oct 3, 2002 to investigate purchasing and installing a handicap elevator to the sanctuary and to plan an addition for a fellowship room, kitchen and handicap accessible restrooms on ground level, then improve the Sunday school rooms in the basement as needed, at a later date.    The finance committee is Phil Larson, Carol Bergman, Trevor Carlson, Sheila Carlson & Matt Westrum.  The loan was secured from the US Bank in Stratford.

 Tia Lambert, daughter of Pastor Joe & Gracia Lambert was killed in a tragic car accident on Nov. 1, 2002.   The congregation mourned her loss along with her family.

In January 2003, the sharing cost of Pastor Joe’s salary was adjusted to 60/40…Stratford/Stanhope, supplies remain 50/50.

On April 13, 2003 a vote was taken by the congregation to proceed with the 80’X36’ fellowship hall addition and connecting room accepting a bid of $199,541.  Victor Jelinek Construction Co. of Webster City was the contractor. Ground breaking service followed worship on June 22, 2003.

The new addition has seen lots of use not only by our church but by the community.

A three-stop elevator lift costing $23,888 was installed in July 2003 to access the sanctuary and the basement.  The lift shaft-way was installed by 7 members saving the congregation approximately $8000.  Materials to finish the project cost $1919.

A new sound system amplifier was installed in a closet at the back of the church.    It is also connected to the fellowship hall.   The old amplifier was installed in the new addition.

Ardelle Larson Phipps retired as Organist at the end of 2003 after approximately 35 years of untiring service to our congregation.   Gracie Lambert filled in as organist for Ardelle during the last half of 2003 and became our full time organist in 2004. Sarah Anderson was our choir pianist and the church pianist when needed for worship service until they moved away.   This is the first year, in 2009, we have not had a choir due to lack of singing members.

An electronic piano for the fellowship room was a memorial gift given in March 2004. The front of the new addition, north side and the new courtyard space was landscaped in the summer of 2004.   Ten new blond Formica topped tables were purchased with the remaining funds of $900 from AAL and the remaining expense from Thrivent funds…Total $1769.  Seventy-five light gray padded chairs were purchased from PSI office supply of Webster City.

The church sign was renovated… with a new coat of paint, a copper top was applied, new lights and additional letters in good condition made it possible for it to continue to be used for many more years.

Eagle scout projects in 2004, by Trevor Seela and Josh Larson and memorial funds helped provide benches and playground equipment that were installed between the parsonage patio and the kitchen area of the new addition.

Peterson Construction of Webster City renovated the steeple with Decra steel backed shingles, sheeting and vertical white siding for…$23,087.50 in the summer of 2004.   A memorial gift of stained glass windows for the fellowship room was designed and made by Shakespeare Glass of Stratford. They were installed in September 2004.    

Julotta worship, in 2008, was still held on Christmas morning at 6:30 am. Since 2000, a potluck breakfast has followed the early morning worship.  Approximately 65 people attended the worship service in 2003.  It is a wonderful way to celebrate Jesus’ birth  and begin Christmas day.

In 2005, the south 1/3 of the large dining room in the church basement was divided into 2 closed rooms for Sunday school classes and 1 smaller open room between the two rooms.  In Oct. 2009, there are potentially 18 children in pre-kindergarten to confirmation class and 16 post confirmation students, that should be attending our Sunday School. 

A devastating tornado cut a path through the NW corner of Stratford on Nov. 12, 2005.  Our new addition served as an emergency shelter and as a collection place during the recovery period.  Several of our members were affected by the tornado.  Many of our members helped with the clean up. Pastor Joe and Gracie helped co-ordinate the disaster relief program.

Stratford Lutheran Church continues to sponsors congregate meals, which began in 1976. Ardelle Phipps retired from keeping the records for congregate meals in March 2008.  Donna Robinson agreed to take care of the records for Congregate Meals as of April 2008.  Philly’s restaurant prepares the meals. There are about 12-14 meals served each day at the site and 7 delivered to homes.   Irene Johnson retired as site manager.  Peggy Ober has been the site manager since Oct 2005.

In May 2007, after prayerful consideration and growing dissatisfaction with ELCA Synod policies, Pastor Joe Lambert announced he will be discontinuing his affiliation with ELCA, and therefore resigned his pastoral duties with Stratford Lutheran Church and Our Savior’s Lutheran of Stanhope, which became effective July 1, 2007.  It was with deep regret and understanding that we accepted his resignation. 

After his resignation, Pastor Joe became rostered with LCMC“Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ”.

Pastor Joe, Gracie and Sons moved to Webster City,  but  Pastor Joe continued  to  be our Pastor for Communion, midweek Lenten service, Holy Week, Easter, Christmas eve & morning Julotta, and at other times of need.  The lay people and pastors that filled the other Sundays are...

Duane Anderson, Becca Martin, Marilyn Strandberg, Beth Odor, Toni Larson, Carol Larson, Marilyn Carlson, Pastor Wahlgren and Pastor LJ Hartley.

In October 2007, the parsonage was re-shingled.

The congregation held several informative meetings about LCMC. Official paper work was completed and Stratford Lutheran became associated with LCMC in April 2008. 16 Congregations in Iowa are associated with LCMC and almost 300 congregations in the USA. Our Church constitution is being rewritten. A call committee was formed.

In 2009, benevolence is no longer on the budget.  Now it is called “Special Projects” for mission work. 

Gracie Lambert’s secretarial duties at Our Savior’s office in Stanhope were finished the end of March 2008. Our library was moved into our meeting room and the former library room was transitioned into our church office in April 2008.  Gracie remains as our church secretary and organist.  Marilyn Berglund retired as assistant secretary in Jan 2008.   Carl & Marilyn did the secretarial work for our church for many years.  Thank You!

Through meetings and by mutual agreement, our sharing ministry with Our Savior’s Lutheran of Stanhope ended May 1, 2008.

In June 2008, excessive rain caused water to back up through the floor drains causing damage to the church basement. The parsonage basement was also flooded with about five inches of water.   We began to restore the two basements again.

Pastor Joe Lambert was called to be our Pastor again on June 22, 2008, at 60% time and salary, with a proposed starting date of July 1, 2008. Pastor Joe Lambert accepted the call and moved back into the parsonage Aug 1st. 

In Oct. 2008, Ben Lambert’s Eagle Scout project was to place a church sign, a cross and flag pole at the SW corner of our church lawn.

Improvements to the parsonage during 2008, have been new under ground electrical service, new high efficient furnace/air conditioner, new windows and siding were installed.

In 2009, the church basement walls in the old kitchen were painted, new carpet, floor covering, 2 sofas were purchased for the youth meeting room.  The rest of the basement is used for Sunday school.

In October 2009, a 26 ft. X 28 ft. asphalt pad by the new east kitchen entrance, a new sidewalk between the north fellowship room door and the parsonage.  New cranberry double front doors with side windows, a new south office window, painted the office, south entrance door, cement board siding to match the new addition and a new storm door on the S E. entry were installed. 

The congregation has been blessed to receive generous memorial gifts which have enabled us to build, repair and update our church property.

Thanks to all who have donated their time, talents, memorials and financial gifts that enhance the Christian life of our congregation.

The congregation was able to pay off the mortgage for the fellowship hall in July 2010.  This was celebrated in September with a mortgage burning and potluck.

 In August of 2010, excessive rainfall caused the council to install sump pumps and water backup valves in the parsonage and church. Carpet was replaced in the church basement.

Due to declining enrollment in Sunday School, a new curriculum called ‘One Room Schoolhouse’ was implemented beginning in 2010-11. All ages are taught together and the material is developed for this.

In the spring of 2011, new shingles were put on the south side of the church.  

After 18 years of service as church janitor, Marsha Adams resigned this position in September 2011. She was replaced by members of the Lance Haman family.

The church mission work is ongoing, collecting needed items for various community members and groups in need.

In the summer of 2011, a lightning strike to the organ caused $15,000 in damage. A special meeting was held in September to discuss options. In October, the congregation voted to buy a new Allen organ from Foster Music and it was installed in December. The cost was $48,150. 

A special fund was created to help Ben Lambert go on a youth encounter adventure in Africa, which was completed in 2012. While there, Ben met Dace from Riga, Latvia. They traveled on the youth outreach team together. When they were done with their travels after a year, they didn’t want to be apart so Ben proposed and they got married in September 2013. They now reside in Latvia.

Projects in the year of 2013 included an all-new kitchen in the parsonage ($17,000 paid by church and $3000 donated items), and basement wall repair for approximately $1000.  The congregation also approved the by-laws.

In 2014, new LCMC signs were placed on Highway 175.

In 2015, Acoustic panels were installed in the fellowship hall.

This was possible as a result of a $5000 memorial gift.

In August of 2015, more flooding and a storm drain back-up caused damage to the church basement and parsonage basement. Repairs were done.

Several big projects were completed in 2016. Due to defective shingles placed in 2003, new shingles were placed on the north side of the church and fellowship hall in April by Runyan Roofing for $19,000. In September, the siding on the square base of the steeple was replaced by Tim Bergman Enterprises. Cost was $15,815.

The only project for the year of 2017 was the sale of 50 feet of property to our neighbors, Larry and Lola Mathews. This was an advantage to them and to the church. The council priced the property at $2500 with no expenses to the church. This was approved by the congregation at a special meeting.

Amy Larson Anderson has become a substitute organist and the church is very grateful for her service. 

Several smaller but equally as important projects continue throughout 2018 and into 2019… landscaping on west side of church and parsonage, and mulch added to playground, removal of peeling paint and repainted  the spots in the sanctuary ceiling,  cleaned, painted all restrooms, original church sign was refurbished, Many cracks in parsonage basement walls were sealed to prevent water leakage.    Many thanks to all volunteers in the congregation.

In 2019, the church attic was insulated for $3000.  A new 70” monitor TV was purchased for the fellowship hall.  This will allow Pastor Joe to use the portable monitor more easily.

In November 2019 U.S. Bank branch will close in Stratford.  Security Savings Bank will begin in Stratford Nov 25, 2019.  The 7 church accounts will be transferred at that date.

Our congregation continues to be blessed with generous memorial gifts, as well as active and talented members who volunteer their time and energy to the needs of our church and to the building and property. Our mission outreach continues with community worship events and monthly collections for various groups. We are very grateful and proud to be a part of the LCMC mission. “Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ”.

We conclude this brief historical sketch of the Stratford Evangelical Lutheran Church.   The history of this church reveals God’s faithfulness and great mercy. During the 160 years of our church, the heart and core of our congregation’s work has been the preaching of God’s word, administering the Sacraments, instructing the young, ministering to the sick and comforting the bereaved. Faithful, willing members have made this possible.  May God who has given us the will to do these things, graciously give us the strength and compassion to continue to perform them.  Together we will march into the future confident that God will indeed give us the strength and compassion that we need. Because of God’s goodness and faithfulness, we have a wonderful heritage. May we prove faithful to this heritage that it may be passed down to the coming generations.

 In November 2020, Pastor Joe Lambert retired as Pastor of Stratford Lutheran. His last Sunday was November 1st 2020. At the end of November Stratford Lutheran Church called Alex Zenk to become their Pastor. Alex accepted and began his ministry December 1st.


Alex is joined in Stratford with his wife Janae and daughter Gracelynn Rose. In late March, Janae and Alex announced to the church that they are expecting their second child who is due in September 2021.


“The Lord is good and his love endures forever;

His faithfulness continues through all generations.”



“Thank  You” for coming and

sharing your memories with us on this historic day.

Thanks to everyone who has helped us relive our

 160  years of history.