History of ELCB

In October 1906, a group met for the first service at what was to become English Lutheran Church of Bateman. The service was led by Rev. A.P. Lea from the Scandinavian Lutheran Church in Chippewa Falls. The first worship services, Sunday school and Confirmation classes were held in member’s homes and when the group grew, they were moved to the Lafayette District No. 12 Schoolhouse.

The first recorded minutes were dated June 19, 1910, when a meeting was held to officially organize the congregation. An acre of land was acquired from the Wisconsin Central Railroad to build a church and the group proceeded to plan for the construction of a building. The cornerstone was laid in December 1913.

Through the years, pastors on a part-time basis from various Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire Lutheran Churches, supplied the religious needs of the community. When it became apparent that a more permanent arrangement was needed, English Lutheran Church of Bateman and Big Drywood Lutheran Church of Cadott formed a two-point ministry calling the Reverend John Glad as their first pastor in the fall of 1958.

In 1965, with growth in membership, it became apparent that a larger facility for worship and Sunday School was needed. A ground-breaking service was held to start construction of a new church building on Sunday, August 1, 1965. On Palm Sunday, April 3, 1966, the congregation held its first service in the new Sanctuary. Completion of the building project was celebrated with a dedication on May 22, 1966.

In 1983, English Lutheran Church of Bateman and Drywood Lutheran Church decided to separate due to each needing a full-time pastor.

With continued growth in membership throughout the years, a building addition began with a ground-breaking ceremony on September 24, 1993. This project added a Fellowship Hall, ground level restrooms, a larger narthex, new offices for the pastor and church secretary, additional storage space, and more parking spaces. It was completed with a dedication on September 25, 1994. This addition added accessibility for all, especially those with special needs.

We connected with Stillson Elementary School in 2010 and started our Pantry Pals Backpack Program which expanded in 2012 to serve the Lafayette Community and Stillson Elementary School District.   

An electronic sign was added in 2015 that is able to display upcoming events and announcements.

In 2016, English Lutheran Church of Bateman and St. James Trinity Lutheran Church of Fall Creek started sharing a pastor. As of 2020, we share a Pastor and Administrative Assistant. 

In 2018, the Men of English led the addition of an outdoor playground and pavilion.  The playground is available for any children with supervision.  The pavilion is available for community members to rent as well for a small fee. 

Through congregational effort in 2019, ELCB was able to purchase a beautiful Baby Grand Piano.  

Side Notes:

It was the custom in 1913 for the women and the men to sit on different sides of the church during the service. Mertie was heard saying one morning during a 1921 service “If my husband is going to come to church I am going to sit with him”. And then she stood up and did just that.

 In the early years it is important to remember that the Bateman area had many nationalities living here. There was a lot of Norwegians but there was also a lot of Germans. To assure that they were able to serve as many as possible they agreed to put English in the name so everyone would know that English was being spoken during the service. But the reality was that there were not a lot of congregational members that spoke English so every third service was conducted in Norwegian. This practice continued for several years until more members spoke English. 

The following pastors have served ELCB:

  • Rev. John Glad
  • Rev. LeRoy Reiners
  • Rev. Donald Knecht
  • Rev. Calvin Thoreson
  • Rev. Jeffrey Williams
  • Rev. Jack Ottoson
  • Rev. Hal Schoettler
  • Pastor Curt Rohland
  • Pastor Karen Johnson (Interim)
  • Pastor  D.J. Rasner
  • Pastor Deborah Nissan
  • Pastor Rick Biedermann