Churches of Wadena: part one
Wadena is distinguished for its many fine churches. The 1927 issue of the Pioneer Journal described those that were flourishing in Wadena at the time.
St. Ann's Catholic Church
The history of St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church dates back to the first years of the community's founding in the early 1870s. At that time, services were held in the private homes of settlers in Compton township where the first Roman Catholic Church was built. That building, after being enlarged, was later moved into Wadena village. In 1895, the present large church was built under the pastorate of Rev. J.G. Steigler. The present commodious rectory was built in 1900. The parochial school was erected in 1903. That year Father Ubert Gundermann succeeded Father Steigler. During his pastorate, lasting until 1908, the school was cleared of debt, a modern heating system and sewerage was installed in the rectory and the church was frescoed and beautiful composition stations and other statuary were provided. In 1920, a fine pipe organ was installed. Also, the winter chapel in the basement of the church was fitted up with an altar, and the cemetery, now one of the most beautiful in the St. Cloud diocese, was graded and beautified.
German Evangelical Lutheran
St. Paul's German Evangelical Lutheran church was erected in 1887 and the congregation now has a very desirable property in the church and parsonage. Rev. Karl Merkel, residing at Perham, is the pastor. Services are held here every two weeks. An active Ladies' Aid labors faithfully in advancing the interests of the church along all lines.
Christian and Missionary Alliance
The Christian and Missionary Alliance was started in Wadena in January 1923 and the church has had a very rapid growth. Services are held regularly every Sunday in St. Paul's Evangelical church. The regular congregation averages 75 and the Sunday school attendance averages 70. The pastor is Rev. John Nelson.
The Norwegian Lutheran church on the North side was erected many years ago and the congregation is now of considerable proportions although no resident pastor is stationed here at the present time. Rev. E.B. Berg of Staples supplies this charge, holding services here sometimes semi-weekly and sometimes tri-weekly.
St. John's German Lutheran
A German Lutheran congregation enjoys regular worship each Sunday, occupying the church of the Norwegian Lutherans on the north side. The Rev. John Spomer is the resident pastor.
Formed in 1885, this church organization soon thereafter provided a suitable church edifice which is in use today. Rev. Paul Keifer is the pastor. While residing at Deer Creek, he conducts regular Sunday service here. The church has quite a large and faithful membership and a very helpful Ladies' Aid Society with Mrs. H.S. Klawitter as its head.
Information from the Fiftieth Anniversary Number of the Pioneer Journal compiled by Robert C. Zosel. Lina Belar is the interim executive director of the Wadena County Historical Society.