About Our Savior
A Brief History of Our Savior Lutheran Church
In the year 1938, the Rev. Elmer Zimbrick of Gardena began to conduct services in Bottineau, first in the Memorial Building and then in the home of Carl Schwanbeck.
In June of 1940, the Rev. Edmond A. Zapf succeeded the Rev. Zimbrick as pastor at Gardena and continued to hold services in Bottineau. Beginning in October 1940, services were held every Sunday in the home of Henry Mortenson. On Easter Sunday 1941, the first service in the Church of God building was held.
On September 27, 1941, the congregation was organized in the home of Fred Wohlfeil. The proposed constitution was signed by Henry Mortenson, Fred Wohlfeil, Ben Boltz, Henry Schultz, Paul Trebas, Gerhardt Trebas, Bernard Biberdorf, Ben Wittmayer, and William Beckman. The Rev. Edmond Zapf was called as Pastor for the 63 souls, and 47 communicants. By the end of July 1946, there were 99 communicant members and 20 voting members.
Previous Pastors of
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Rev. Edmond Zapf, 1941 – 1946
Rev. Norman Brauer, 1946 – 1950
Rev. Edmond Nieting, 1951 – 1956
Rev. L.K. Meyer, 1956 – 1961
Rev. Elmer Steenbock, 1962 – 1971
Rev. Dale Lehfeldt, 1971 – 1977
Rev. Richard Schmidtke, 1978 – 1987
Rev. Dean F. Rothchild, 1988 – 2002
Rev. David Hintz, 2003 – 2004
Rev. James N. Judson, 2005 – 2011
Rev. Joshua D. Reimche, 2012 – 2021
On August 6, 1946, the Rev. Zapf was granted a peaceful release to serve in Edgeley, ND. The Rev. George Gesell of Russell, ND served as vacancy pastor until a resident pastor would arrive. The Rev. Norman Brauer accepted the call and was installed in Bottineau on October 6, 1946.
Prior to Rev. Brauer’s arrival, a house to be used as a parsonage was purchased near the church lot for $5,000. A lot had been purchased for $1,000 directly south of the County Courthouse, and a church building was also purchased in Newburg, ND for $2,000. This building was moved to Bottineau in the spring of 1947. In March 1947, the congregation sold the house bought for the parsonage for $5,000 and the Martin Helgeson house was purchased as the new parsonage for $9,000 at 707 Ohmer St.
In October 1948, the congregation became self-sustaining. The completely remodeled church was formally dedicated on December 18, 1949. In November 1950, Rev. Brauer was granted a peaceful release to serve Zion Lutheran Church in Bismarck, ND. On January 28, 1951, the Rev. Edmond Nieting of Sawyer, ND was installed. On September 30, 1951 the congregation celebrated its 10th Anniversary with special services.
In 1956, Rev. Nieting was granted a peaceful release to accept a call to Island Park, IL. Rev. Brockapp of Willow City served as vacancy pastor from April 8 to May 6, 1956. A call was extended to Rev. L.K. Meyer of Lidgerwood, ND; he accepted the call and was installed on May 13, 1956.
Rev. Meyer was elected District President in September 1957. Vicars were appointed to assist Rev. Meyer, namely: Dale Evenson, 1958-1959; Harry Solper, 1959-1960; Jack Thieson, 1960 – 1961; (Field Worker) Bert Henricks, summer 1961; Lowell Boettcher, August – October 1961. Bert Henricks held Sunday services at Pilgrim Park, Lake Metigoshe, during his stay.
In 1957, the building of a new church was considered. A fund drive was held and plans were drawn up, but on June 15, 1958, the congregation voted not to build at that time.
On November 27, 1959, Our Savior’s in Bottineau and Immanuel in Willow Creek were combined to form one parish. In October 1961, Rev. Meyer was granted a peaceful release to accept a call to Holy Ghost Lutheran Church in Bergholta, NY. Rev. E. Buettner from Kramer, ND, served as vacancy pastor. Services were held at 7:45 am. The congregation called a graduate from Springfield, IL, and Rev. Elmer Steenbock was ordained and installed June 24, 1962. During his ministry, Rev. Steenbock was very faithful in serving the mentally handicapped at San Haven, ND.
In July 1964, a design for a new church building was submitted by Schoenrock and Son of Hazen, ND, and was accepted. A gift of land on the east side of Bottineau from Carl Kersten of Newburg, ND was gratefully accepted. Construction began in June of 1965. The new church was dedicated on May 13, 1966, when the 25th Anniversary of the congregation was also celebrated.
Rev. Elmer Steenbock was granted a peaceful release in April 1971, to Hillsboro, ND. Rev. Dale Lehfeldt of Valley City, ND accepted the call and was installed June 20, 1971.
During the summer months on 1972 Vicar Ron Hatch assisted Rev. Lehfeldt with ministry to the mentally handicapped at San Haven and Saturday evening services at Lake Metigoshe State Park.
During Rev. Lehfeldt’s ministry, the parsonage was remodeled and received a new garage. A new organ was purchased and installed.
Rev. Lehfeldt was granted a peaceful release to serve Lidgerwood, ND in December 1977. During 1978, Rev. Buettner of Kramer, ND again served as vacancy pastor.
Rev. Richard Schmidtke of Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada, was called; he was installed January 1, 1979. It was decided to sell the parsonage and add a housing allowance to the pastor’s salary. In April 1979, a new organ was installed. On May 20, 1979, the burning of the church mortgage was celebrated. A new constitution was adopted in 1983, and the congregation was reorganized. Pastor Schmidtke resigned August 23, 1987. Pastor Larry LaDassor from Minot served as vacancy pastor.
In March 1988, the congregation purchased Mrs. Sletto’s house at 715 7th St. East in Bottineau for $52,000 to serve as a parsonage. Rev. Dean Rothchild of Rushmore, MN accepted the call and was installed at Our Savior’s on May 1, 1988. Pastor Rothchild faithfully served Our Savior until he accepted a call in August of 2002, from Iowa District East, of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod to serve as Assistant to the District President. Rev. Joel Brandvold from Gardena, ND served the vacancy.
In August of 2003, Rev. David Hintz accepted the call to serve as pastor of Our Savior until December of 2004, when he resigned. Pastor Carlyle Roth from St. Mark’s in Minot served the vacancy.
Candidate James Judson was assigned to serve as pastor of Our Savior upon completion of his studies at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN. Rev. Judson was installed in October of 2005, and served until September of 2011, when he resigned. Pastor Carlyle Roth of St. Mark’s Lutheran in Minot again served the vacancy.
In July of 2013, Our Savior was granted the honor of installing the Rev. Dr. Matthew R. Richard as Colloquy Vicar. Dr. Richard served as our vicar until November 2013, when he accepted the Divine Call to shepherd Zion Lutheran Church in Gwinner, ND.
In July of 2012, the divine call was extended to Rev. Joshua D. Reimche, who was serving as Senior Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Wilton, IA. Upon accepting the call, Rev. Reimche was installed as the 11th called pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church on August 26, 2012. Pastor Reimche retired from the ministry in August of 2021.