The History of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
In the beginning…
From 1902 to 1927 the Camrose area was served by a number of itinerant pastors. The area was sparsely populated and many of the pastors were students from seminary who preached in the outlying areas during the summer months. Among the earlier pastors were Rev. V. Gruber, Rev. George Meyer, Rev. H. Tietjen, Rev. H. Boettger and Rev. H. Kuring.
Services were held in the Kubbernuss home in Camrose as early as 1902 under Pastor Victor Gruber of Ponoka. Pastor George J. Meyer followed him in 1905. He also resided at Ponoka. Mrs. Kubbernuss’ daughter, Esther, married Rev. Henry J. Boettcher, circuit pastor from 1918 to 1921. The parish included Bittern Lake, Ferintosh, Bawlf, Holden, Daysland, Resenroll and Camrose.
This organ was purchased while at Camrose and took it with him in his “buggy” to the different places he was serving. This picture was taken in 1970 when he was eighty-two years old.
I must confess, I am amazed at the dedication and spirit of the early pastors of the church. Imagine travelling for weeks, perhaps months, driving across the prairies in an open wagon, in the hot sun, the wind, the rain, and the snow, every kind of weather imaginable… all the while looking at the south end of a north-bound ox. And here am I, thinking what a hardship it is, to get out of bed on a Sunday morning.
Excerpts from a letter…
The recollections of Rev. Henry J. Boetger
I notice you addressed the letter to Rev. Henry Tietjen. Yes. He was my immediate predecessor. For two years, I think. The folks used to talk about his playing the ukulele, and singing. They also talked about his fast horses. I remember him also from Seminary days in St. Louis.
…These were the days when the CPR was anxious to bring in more immigrants. Mostly German Lutheran.
…The Spanish Flu was very bad that first fall. I volunteered to serve as male nurse. In the coal mines up north, numerous people suffered and died. One in child-birth. It was terrible. A Norwegian Lutheran pastor ran such a fever that he went out of his mind. George, later my brother-in-law, and I tried to stay with him and hold him down. But, he died.
…The William Rutz family sent me a letter of sympathy when my wife Esther was taken to her heavenly home. I am enclosing two pictures of my mother in law, Minnie Kubbernuss. She and her family were important individuals in the early history of Grace. She was born, baptized and confirmed in Buffalo, N.Y. Her father attended meetings of Dr. Walther with Rev. Grabau. Grabau was much less democratic in his church Government. He organized the Buffalo Synod. Minnie married John Kubbernuss, a recent arrival from Berlin Germany.
This couple migrated to a homestead at Detroit Lakes Minnesota. Partly because of his large family of boys, they moved to within a mile north of Camrose. John the husband was good to his wife, worked hard building up a dairy delivery system. He got into a bad habit which is best left unmentioned. He treated his customers at the bar. Thus he imbibed too freely, often. I never saw him really drunk. He was very helpful to the young pastors who served Camrose. He built a cottage for the pastor to sleep and where he instructed confirmation class.
Henry J. Boettcher
This is the earliest confirmation class picture from Grace Lutheran Church in Camrose. It actually pre-dates the purchase of the church building by 3 years. The Fetzner and Kaser families were instrumental in the founding of Grace Lutheran Church
Pastor Henry Kuring
Pastor Boettcher was followed by the Rev. Henry Kuring, who also acquired a small residence in Camrose, south of Stony Creek along the correction line, and served the Camrose parish, including Holden and Bruce.
From October 1924 to the end of August 1927 there was a long vacancy with only occasional services. Student Jacob Hennig spent a few months in the field. The Rev. Theo. Waack, who was unable to serve his stations in the Peace River country one winter because of the deep snow and weather conditions, conducted a number of worship services in the Camrose field.
In the spring of 1927 the District Mission Board decided to divide the field and applied for two candidates, one to serve the Camrose area and the other the Holden and Bruce area.
The call to the Camrose area was assigned to Candidate Gilbert H. Raedeke, who graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in June of that year.
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,