Montgomery County Illinois History

Fillmore St. Matthew Lutheran Church
St. Matthew Lutheran Church
Fillmore, Illinois

On April 5, 1891, the Reverend J. M. LINGLE, pastor of the Irving Lutheran Church, preached the first Lutheran sermon in Fillmore. The following Monday, several interested individuals met at the home of Tim L. LANE to consider organizing a Lutheran church; a Preamble for the Constitution was adopted and thirteen charter members began to make plans for the construction of a Lutheran House of Worship. The building, still in use today, cost approximately 2000 dollars and was dedicated December 6, 1891. A Lutheran Parsonage was built in approximately 1893-94.

After a secret ballot in 1923-24, an extensive remodeling program was undertaken at a cost of 2037 dollars. New pews replaced the original chairs, memorial stained glass windows replaced the original colored glass and a new altar, pulpit and lectern were built by the Reverend A.C. MARTIN. Each family bought a new pew at a cost of 45 dollars; likewise, memorial windows were given.

During the first 35 years of the church, it was part of a joint parish with Bost hill Lutheran, rural Fillmore. In 1925, St. Matthew published a quarterly church newspaper called The Lutheran Messenger.

The church basement was excavated in 1926; cement blocks for the project cost 18 cents each. Grading of the ground around the church was completed with six teams of mules and scraper blades. Dedication was October 16, 1927, and programs indicate participation by neighboring churches and their choirs.

Miss Evra MOODY, a foreign missionary from St. Matthew returned from China, August 21, 1930. The first furnace was installed in the church in 1931 by the N.B. Allen Company. New light fixtures for the interior were given by the Christian Endeavor Society in 1931.

Due to an apparent outburst of vandalism at the church in 1943, the church council found it necessary to meet with the Mayor of Fillmore and offer a 5 dollar reward for information concerning who was responsible; the vandalism ceased shortly thereafter.

A joint parish was formed with Irving Lutheran Church in 1935. The Lutheran parsonage was sold in 1944 with interest being charged at the rate of 4 percent. In January of 1948, the church sponsored a congregational supper as a New Years Eve party.

Fillmore's Favorite Recipes was published in 1950 by the Ladies Aid Society and dedicated to Mrs. Jessie HERREN, a charter member. On July 1, 1951, the church dedicated a new organ in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Mark T. MASON; a recital and reception were held.

The church chancel was completely refurbished in 1957-58 in memory of a number of members by their families and friends. A modernized restroom was installed in 1960.

The Memorial Carillon was dedicated in December 1966 in loving memory of members and friends. A joint parish was formed in 1967 with St. Mark Lutheran, Nokomis.

On the evening of December 28, 1976, fire damaged the narthex and basement; thanks to the Fillmore Fire Department and volunteers the structure was saved and full restoration completed by June, 1976.

The original bell was placed in an exterior bulletin board and dedicated in June, 1981.

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