A group of Lutherans felt the need for Missouri Synod Church services in Winner. The first service was held in December by Rev. Walter Klipp, of Chamberlain, at the home of John and Marie Weidner. A mission preaching station was set up and the first few months of 1957 worship services were held in the Legion Club room with Pastors Klipp, S. J. Lehmann, of Gregory, and/or D. S. Sallach, of Fairfax preaching the word. In March of 1957, the preaching station in Winner and the Redeemer, at Clearfield elected to call a pastor to serve both congregations. The Winner group purchased 3 corner lots on which the church now stands. Starting in August 1957, services were held in the Girl Scout cabin. The name of Christ Lutheran Church was chosen for this new congregation and application was made to affiliate with the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, St. Louis, Missouri. Since no Candidate was available midterm, another call was placed for a Candidate from the seminary in January 1958.

The constitution was adopted and signed on June 17, 1958, at a duly called meeting by the following: A. L. Albert, Marvin Peterson, August Ehrlich, Ed Lundgren, John Weidner, Perry L. Mulford, Donald R. Schmidt, Lowell R. Johnson, Rudy Walter, Gus Brickmann, Robert Brickmann and Chris Walker.

The first officers under the constitution were elected. They were: A. L. Albert, President; Lowell Johnson, Vice President; Donald R. Schmidt and John Weidner were elected Elders/Trustees; Chris Walker, Treasurer; and Rudy Walter, Secretary.

On August 17, 1958, Candidate James L. Wilk (St. Louis 1958) was ordained and installed in Christ Lutheran Church, Winner, as the first resident pastor. Services for that day were held at the Izaak Walton Club House (presently Winner Greenhouse). In September 1958 Christ Lutheran was accepted as a congregation of the Missouri Synod and the South Dakota District, at convention in Sioux Falls, SD.

Under the leadership of Rev. Wilk, the congregation, with the help of a Church Extension fund loan from the SD District planned to build its present house of worship, located at the corner of East 5th and Harding Streets. The first meetings with contractors were held in March 1959. Harry Jorgenson Construction was chosen as the contractor to design and build the church building. Construction started in May, 1959, the cornerstone was laid in August and the first regular church service, in the new Sanctuary, was held on Christmas Eve. The new year began with the dedication on January 10, 1960. The total cost of the church building was $30,000.00. The furnishings were purchased with a gift from the SD Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML) in the amount of $3,105.00.

Pastor Wilk's first regular confirmation class was Alvin Albert, Jimmy Weidner, Robert Bordeaux and Roger Haley. The first adult class was Virginia Anderson, Jerry Kemp, Linda Noelle, Jerold Noelle, Mary Nee ‘Way Noelle, and Derald Shippy.

In July 1963, the Christ Lutheran Church members drew up a contract with Jorgensen Construction to build a parsonage at 730 East 6th Street. This was completed on December 16, 1963.

Pastor Wilk served this congregation until March 1965, when he accepted a call to serve a congregation in Standish, Michigan. Since then CLC has been served by 9 called Pastors and 3 Vicars.

During the past 50 plus years there have been 186 Baptisms, 192 Confirmed, 62 Weddings, and 73 Funerals. One Daughter (Patty (Boortz) Henschen), two Sons (Rev Wade R. Meyer and Rev. Kenneth A. Schmidt), and one more member of our Congregation (Rev Maynard Schulz), have entered into full time work in Missouri Synod congregations.

CLC is now being served by Rev. Donald McKillop. He also serves Redeemer at Clearfield and Zion at Hamill. Rev McKillop has a two minute radio message every weekday on KWYR. The following excerpt is quoted from his message to the congregation on its 50th anniversary: "For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." Romans 10:10. The Gospel is all "about" Jesus. It is not about the disciples, whom the Bible describes as always having many struggles with understanding the truth of what Jesus was teaching them. The Gospel is all about Jesus, because apart from Jesus, all people are doomed to eternal damnation. The Gospel is all about Jesus coming into this world to do for us what we were not able to do. Die for all our sins that we might live forever in heaven. And our faith is not passive. The work of the church is to continue to distribute the good news of the Gospel. Every Christian is to give reason for the hope that we have in Christ. Our lives are to show the thankfulness we have for the Gospel. As a congregation we might make it known to all that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all our blessings come to us through Him.

Picture and information courtesy of the
Tripp County Historical Society Archives

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