Our Story

How it all started...

St. Peter Lutheran Church of Lodi, California has a rich history full of humble beginnings and challenges where the Lord showed his favor. We are here because of a desire that was manifested in September of 1896, when it was decided that a Lutheran congregation should be planted here in Lodi. At a mission service held in Spenker's Grove in 1896, the movement to form a church was approved. Under the leadership of Rev. Edmund P. Block, a Christian congregation was birthed on January 2, 1898.   At that time in the history of the congregation,  all services were conducted in the German language.  Therefore, the infant congregation called itself "Die Deutsche Evangelish-Lutherische St Petri Gemeinde zu Lodi."  Rev F. C. Streufert, later executive secretary of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, was installed as the first resident pastor of the congregation on March 19, 1898. On March 19th, 1898, Rev. F. C. Streufert was installed as the first pastor of the Lutheran sector in Lodi. The formal organization of our church followed soon after his installation.

Our first sanctuary, located on the corner of Church and Locust street, was built in 1902, and soon thereafter, Pastor Streufert accepted a call to Chicago.  His successor was Rev. H. Hagist (1902-1905).  In 1904 the congregation became a member of the California and Nevada District.  It is to be noted,  that the first parish school was erected under Pastor Hagist's leadership in 1904.  Pastor Hagist was also, the school's first teacher with 16 children in attendance.

Rev. Max Kuessner (1905 - 1910) was installed in November 1905.  It was during his pastorate that the congregation's first and only parsonage was built (1909). In 1959, the parsonage was remodeled, converting two rooms into a church office, and utilizing eight rooms for Sunday School ministry.

Pastor Kuessner passed away in 1910. He is to date the only pastor that died while in the service of the congregation.  Rev. A.H. Jacobs assumed the pastoral office in 1910 and served until 1915.  In 1913,  a new two-story school building was built to replace the first school.  Rev. H. Wiemken (1915 - 1919) succeeded Pastor Jacobs.

A new sanctuary that seated 500 people was built and dedicated in 1923 on the corner of Church and Locust. St. Peter's goal was always to solely preach the the Gospel and reiterate Christian fundamentals. The church was built under the leadership of an energetic and dedicated young pastor, Rev. Albert H. Wessling.  Pastor Wessling began his eleven-year ministry at St. Peter in 1919 and served until he was called to be a professor at California Concordia College, Oakland, in 1930.

Rev. John F. Bauermeister was installed as Pastor Wessling's successor,  on November 2, 1930.  He faithfully served the congregation with Word and Sacraments,  for a little more than 10 years and the congregation, under God, grew spiritually and numerically.  In the spring of 1941,  Pastor Bauermeister accepted a call into a Fresno mission field.   Rev. W.F. Schlueter, former pastor of Zion Lutheran Church of Terra Bella was installed on July 20, 1941, by officiating District President, Dr. Arthur C. Brohm of San Francisco.   God blessed Pastor Schlueter's ministry at St.  Peter, especially, through the opening of the Christian Day School.   Four years later (1949),  a school building was erected,  across the street (west of the church), on a site that had been purchased for that purpose in 1945. Rev. Schlueter residned in early 1961.

In September of 1961, God provided the congregation with an energetic and dedicated servant of the Word, in the person of Rev. Robert M. Visser. Tragically, in 1964, the bells toll no more as our church burned to the ground, bringing to an end the colorful history of a church that had served the Lodi community for nearly 40 years. St. Peter congregants continued to join together in worship each Sunday after this in other local church buildings.

However, by the grace of God we were able to dedicate our current sanctuary on the corner of Oxford Street and Lower Sacramento Road on May 28th, 1978, led by Rev. Eugene Kreutz.  The new school building housing Kindergarten through 8th grades was completed in 1970.

Pastor Robert Visser accepted a call to Messiah in Citrus Heights in 1977.  The Rev Eugene Kreutz was installed in January 1978 and served until his resignation in 1981.

In August of 1982, Rev. Timothy L. Huber accepted the call to St. Peter congregation, and served as its Administrative Pastor, until 1995.  Then, William H. Plath (who served from 1973 to 1983 as Director of Christian Education) was financially and prayerfully supported by the congregation, as he attended Concordia's St. Louis Seminary.  On November 22, 1987, the administration building was dedicated. It had been built primarily through volunteer labor and up-front funds.  In 1992 , an additional 10,000 sq. ft. building was constructed utilizing the Laborers for Christ organization (Lutheran retirees who work for minimum wage).  
Assistant/Associate pastors during this time were Rev. John Duerr (1983 to 1988), Rev. Jeffrey Dorth (1988 to 1991), and Rev. Richard W. Biberdorf (1992 to 200x).
Rev. Paul S. Zimmermann was called in 1996, to serve as the Senior Administrative Pastor.  He served the congregation until he accepted a call to Florida in 2005.
Rev. John Kah accepted a call to the congregation, as Senior Administrative Pastor in 2006 and served faithfully until retirement in 2018.
Rev. Timothy Blau was called to our congregation in 2018 and currently still serves today.

Expanding the vision...

For 125 years, St. Peter has been dedicated to service those in our community through Lutheran Education. Founded 100 years ago, our school educates students from ages three through eighth grade.

With nearly 300 students, St. Peter is on target to expand by an entire class every year for the next 5 years.

We soon hope to build a new structure on our property to house not only school endeavors, but church endeavors also.

We give thanks to God and praise Him for the gifts and blessings that He has shown St. Peter for 125 years and counting.

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together a 8:30am and 10:45am.