According to the best information available, Rev. Edmund P. Block of Stockton conducted the first Lutheran services in 1887. For several years, services were held once a month, at Henderson school, located just four miles southwest of Lodi. In 1896, a mission’s service was held at Spenker's Grove, where it was resolved to conduct additional services at Alpine school, just outside of Lodi, and Stoddard's Hall, located on the corner of Main and Oak in Lodi. Under the leadership of Pastor 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. By special agreement, Pastor Streufert, was permitted to continue his activities as, missionary -at-large, in Northern California, with the condition that he conduct at least two services a month, in Lodi.
In September 1901, the church purchased property located at Church St and Locust St in Lodi, at a cost of $300. The first church was dedicated on the 2nd Sunday in January 1902. The cost of the church $2,034. 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, at a cost of $780. 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) at a cost of $3,700. Yes, that's right, a two story, ten-room, solidly constructed house.... and all for less than $4,000. 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 and was buried in Lodi Cemetery, on East Pine Street. 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, for a cost of - hold your hats - $1,600. Rev. H. Wiemken (1915 - 1919) succeeded Pastor Jacobs.
During the first twenty-one years of its existence (1898 -1919), the congregation experienced frequent changes in the pastoral office. The average length of pastoral service, until 1919, was four years and two months. However, in spite of the frequent changes, the Lord of the Church, blessed the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments so, that it became necessary to erect a larger house of worship, which was dedicated in the fall of 1923, at the same location. 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. The beautiful house of worship, that was dedicated to the service of the Lord on, November 11, 1923, was built at a cost of about $60,000. Pastors, Edmund Block, organizer of the congregation, F.C. Streufert, first resident pastor, and George Jacobsen, then pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church of Stockton, delivered the dedicatory sermons. The Lodi News Sentinel carried full front-page pictures, and stories of the event.
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.
With the years beginning to take their toll, and with the workload increasing from year to year, Pastor Schlueter resigned as pastor of the congregation 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.
On November 1, 1964, a fire destroyed the church; cause was believed to be a defective chimney flue. The building was 41 years old, and the damage was estimated at $200,000. The cost did not include the stain glass windows or the organ (which had been purchased for $10,000 in 1923). Harry Weber who owned the old First Congregational Church building, offered to rent the facility to St. Peter for church services at $150 per month. Central, Fairmont Seventh Day Adventist and Bethel Open Bible church, offered assistance to the St. Peter congregation, as well.
St Peter Lutheran Church congregation purchased 25 acres at Lower Sacramento Road. The congregation sold about 13 acres to the City of Lodi for a park (now called Henry Glaves Park) and 3 acres to a developer for houses that would be built on Oxford Way. The social hall (current gymnasium) was the first building to be constructed at the Oxford Way location and was dedicated on November 30, 1969, and was used as our sanctuary. The new school building housing Kindergarten through 8th grades was completed in 1970. The current church was dedicated on May 28, 1978.
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. A mission congregation was begun in Mokelumne Hill (located in Valley Springs 1997). 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 St Louis Seminary. In November 1985, he was ordained and installed as pastor of the mission congregation(Mokelumne Hill). On November 22, 1987, the administration building was dedicated - debt free! 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). This building contains four classrooms, an extended day care facility, archive room, youth room and an additional office.
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.
Rev. Timothy Blau (The Pastor of many costumes) was called to our congregation in 2018 and is still our fearless leader!