History - Peace Lutheran Church

Early Norwegian Lutherans in the Amherst area attended worship services in Scandinavia from 1854-1877. This congregation was the largest Norwegian Lutheran church in Wisconsin at that time and the wooden cross-shaped building seated 1,200 people.

Pastor John Museas, who served the Scandinavia congregation, began to hold services in Amherst in 1877. Fifteen men became the first charter members of the Amherst Norsk Evangelisk Lutherisk Menigehet, organized on March 24, 1877. On February 12, 1877, Gundber Torkelson’s bid of $1,200 was accepted to build the “church on the hill;’ on June 18, 1877 the cornerstone was laid. The bed, still in use today, was purchased in 1894 at a cost of $186.17. In 1902, the Norwegian name was dropped and the congregation became the Amherst Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Peace Lutheran Pastors Gretchen & Dwight

The Nelsonville and Amherst congregations first became a joint parish in 1912 and remained so until 1934 when they separated for ten years before merging again in 1944. The parish is known today as the Tomorrow River Lutheran Parish because the Tomorrow River flows through both villages.

In preparation for the 75th Jubilee, major renovation was completed.  However, before dawn on September 1, 1951, the interior of the church burned.  The shell was saved, but most of the contents were damaged beyond repair.  Worship services and Sunday School were conducted in the Amherst Community Hall.  The congregation did its best to carry on, but the desire for a new church grew with each passing week.

After much deliberation it was decided to rebuild at the current location on the corner of Main and Lincoln Streets. The cornerstone was laid on August 3, 1953. The first worship service was on Ash Wednesday, March 4, 1955, followed by a dedication on May 2, 1955. The name of the congregation was changed to Peace Lutheran Church on January 8, 1963. A mortgage burning celebration was held November 10, 1968.

The building served the congregation well for over forty years. However, to prepare for future programs and styles of worship, if became necessary for new construction and renovation, which began on November 8, 1997. The final worship service in the old sanctuary was held on September 7, 1997 followed by a ground-breaking service, stripping of the sanctuary, and a potluck dinner. During the construction period, worship services were held at Nelsonville Evangelical Lutheran Church. On May 31, 1998, the first worship service was held in the new sanctuary. The cornerstone was laid as a part of the Dedication Service that took place on October 18, 1998.