History of Christian Faith Moravian Church
The DeForest Moravian Church was founded as a home-mission congregation on April 13, 1885 in the small, agricultural prairie township of Windsor, Wisconsin. Beginning in early 1876, worship services were held in the homes of Ernest and Fred Karow under the guidance of Brother W. Stengel, who was then pastor of the Mamre Moravian Church, about thirty-five miles away. When other families in the immediate area took interest and began attending these services, it was decided to hold the Sunday meetings in a small rural schoolhouse. Inspiration grew.
in June 1883 Reverend J.G. Kaltenbrunn, a retired pastor, arrived and served them earnestly for almost nine years. The “little group on the prairie” increased in numbers and at the annual church council
meeting in January 1885, it was decided, after many prayers, to build their first church building. After considerable discussion, the site for the new structure was chosen – a one-acre lot located two and one-half miles east of the village of DeForest. The small white church was completed using the resources of its members and friends at a mere cost of twelve hundred dollars.
In 1923, it became apparent that the logical location for the building should be in the village where it would be more accessible to its members, rather than out in the country. Choosing not to rebuild, it was decided to move the church building into DeForest. Modern moving equipment was not available thus, the solid 24’ x 26’ structure was moved slowly through the fields and farmlands on wooden rollers pulled by workhorses. Their ingenuity, faith, and use of a windlass (a horizontal barrel turned by a winch) was hampered by deep snow and frigid temperatures which encumbered their progress. However, their perseverance and hard work brought success. The building was soon placed on its foundation at its new location! During the next thirty-three years, the staunch Moravians in DeForest and the surrounding area worshipped God and were spiritually rewarded at the new site to which the church had been moved. For fourteen of those years, Brother Joseph Weinlick served his calling in ministry with the congregation. His was the longest term served by any minister to date. After his death, his son John served as an interim pastor.
As time passed, it became evident that the church facilities were not adequate for the growing needs of the church body. Its members felt a larger building would be the solution to their need for more space.
In December 1954, it was voted on to hire an architect to draw up plans for a new church building. The family of the late August Karow generously donated two acres of land to be used as the building site. The groundbreaking ceremony took place April 15, 1956, digging began on April 21, and the cornerstone for the new “DeForest Moravian Church” was officially laid on July 22, 1956.
Brothers Milo Loppnow, John Fleigel, Edward Ullrich, Fred Harberg, Robert Gohdes, and Robert Smith all helped to maintain and expand the vitality of the changing congregation, serving the DeForest parish from 1953 to 1984 respectively. By 1984, the church had reached 266 members under the leadership of Pastor W. Thomas Stapleton.
In 1991, the church council decided to change the name of the congregation to Christian Faith Moravian Church as a means to make the name of the church better understood to people not familiar with the Moravian Church. Pastor W. Thomas Stapleton was followed by Pastors Rich Thierolf, Chris and Darryl Johnson, and Pastor Kurt Liebenow.
Recognizing the barriers our building had to allow all people access to ministries the congregation took on the sizable task to add an elevator with other amenities to make our building accessible. Construction began on October 7, 2012 and was completed on July 6, 2013
In 2016 Pastor Jason Andersen accepted the call to serve as Pastor of Christian Faith Moravian Church and was installed on June 19, 2016.
Tradition abounds and is present in both worship services and congregational fellowship. The DeForest Moravians are proud of their musical heritage and are blessed with many richly talented musicians. The hearty voices in the choir, along with the combined efforts of the pianist inspire the enthusiasm of voices in the congregation.
We honor the steadfast faith and sacrifices of previous generations and are thankful for the heritage they have left to us.