The membership of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church gathered Sunday to celebrate the church’s 125th anniversary in Redwood Falls. (Photo courtesy Naomi Green.)

St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Redwood Falls celebrated two separate-but-connected events this past weekend: the church’s 125 years in Redwood Falls, and the school’s 40th year.

For the town’s first 25 or so years, traveling missionaries representing the Wisconsin Synod preached in private homes in town. Finally, on Jan. 2, 1889, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded on the corner of what are now Washington and E. Flynn Streets. The current church facility was built in 1954, with a congregation of 700. The education wing was added in 1967.

By 1983, interest in the church’s educational mission had developed to the point an elementary school was started with two full-time teachers and a part-timer. By 1995, the school had six full time teachers. Seven years later, the enrollment had grown to 100 K-8 students, leading to the newest school to be constructed in 2009.

This past Sunday, the church was filled with current St. John Lutheran Church members for a group photo. Another celebration focusing on the school is set for August 12-13.