St. Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church


The congregation at Lyons Creek (rural Herington, Ks.) has much for which to be thankful. Its history is a testimony to the kindness and grace of God and it remains a vital congregation due to the power of God's Holy Spirit.
Around 1858, several German immigrant families settled near the Lyons Creek area. In 1860, Rev. John Andrew Fritze visited his mother-in-law at Diamond Creek, near Council Grove. During his visit, Pastor Fritze's relatives urged him to request a missionary to be sent to Kansas. Pastor Fritze communicated this request to Rev. F.C.D. Wyneken, who arranged for a 22 year old seminary candidate named Friedrich Wilhelm Lange to be sent to Kansas. Missionary Lange arrived at Clarks Creak (near Junction City) in August of 1861 at the log cabin home of Mr. Christian F. Wetzel. Missionary Lange preached his first sermon in Wetzel's cabin on August 17th, 1861 and made plans to find other German speaking families in the area. The next day he visited the families who had settled at Lyons Creek and within the next several days, he had established 6 preaching stations. Pastor Lange served the congregation for two years and accepted a call to Humboldt, KS. Rev. C. Berner arrived in 1863 and made his home near Council Grove and took care of the 6 preaching stations. After 2 years, the parish was divided and Rev. R. Koehler accepted a call to serve the stations on Lyons Creek and Clarks Creek. Pastor Koehler served the congregation for 2 years and then accepted a call to Missouri. For the next 2 years, the congregation had no regular pastor. In 1869, through the urging of Rev. F.J. Buenger, the congregation built a small house and then extended a call to Rev. C.H. Lueker. Pastor Lueker accepted the call and served the congregation for the next 19 years. The congregation grew and built its first church building in 1871 and built the present stone parsonage in 1881. In 1887, a portion of the membership organized the Immanuel - Shady Brook congregation and in 1888, Rev. Otto Mencke was called to serve St. Johns. Pastor Mencke served the congregation for more than 25 years. Rev. Paul Pennekamp accepted a call to St. Johns in 1914 and served for 5 years. The next pastor called was Rev. John H. Rengstorf. Pastor Rengstorf served from 1921 to 1930. A call was then extended to Rev. George Klattenhoff in 1931. Rev Klattenhoff served the congregation for 25 years. Rev. J. Einar Bach accepted a call to St John's in 1957 and served until 1961. The following have served as Pastors at St. Johns since then:

Rev. R. D. Baerwolf................1965-1972
Rev. George Kristik.................1972-1974
Rev. Joe Jones..........................1975-1978
Rev. Dale Werling...................1980-1983
Rev. Tony Troup.....................1984-1989
Rev. Allen Woelzlein.............1990-2001
Rev. John Riebhoff.................2002-2013
Rev. Walter Gilkey................2014-Current