In July, 1893, a congregation was organized in Mattoon under the name of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Rev. G.W. Wolter, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Dorans, conducted services in a hall at 1620 Broadway Ave. In 1904, the Rev. Max Krueger was called to be the first resident pastor. During this time the church site, located at 2220 Champaign Avenue, was purchased. The congregation then reorganized as St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and in 1905, built its first house of worship.
The fall of 1920 marked a time of decision. Under the leadership of Rev. Oberndorfer, the congregation bought the property at 1321 Broadway. God blessed these early years with an increase in both souls and material gifts, so that in 1923 St. John’s Lutheran Church became self-sustaining.
In 1928, the congregation extended a call to Rev. E.T. J. Birner. Through God’s guidance he accepted and was installed in December of that same year. In October 1953, ground was broken and the building of the current sanctuary began. The cornerstone was laid on May 15, 1955 and a year later, July 8, 1956 our present structure was dedicated to God’s glory.
December 5, 1963 closed a chapter in the history of St. John’s with the death of Pastor Birner. Once again God blessed the congregation when June 7, 1964, the Rev. Ronald Schmidt was installed as pastor.
The physical facilities continued to grow with a parsonage dedicated in September 1965 and a Sunday school addition, on the south west of the original structure, was dedicated in May 1967.
The congregation celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1968 with the burning of the church mortgage. In 1976, St. John’s remembered the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the present sanctuary, and in June 1979 the activities center was dedicated.
Another milestone was achieved, by God’s grace, when St. John’s noted their 100th anniversary in 1993. Under the guidance of Pastor Schmidt and Pastor Schlak a year - long celebration was planned.
The Activities Center was dedicated to God’s glory, and in honor of the ministry of the Rev. Ronald Schmidt. A special dedication service and dinner was held in May, 1999.
Rejoicing in the Present and Looking to the Future.
The Lord has blessed us very richly. We pray that we will be faithful stewards in discerning and carrying out the Master's Plan in building His Kingdom.