History of Faith Ev. Lutheran Church

In the spring of 1971, several  families in the River Falls area approached Pastor Stephen Valleskey, a Wisconsin Synod pastor in Prescott, Wisconsin, and expressed an interest in becoming members of a congregation affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).  Pastor Valleskey arranged to start exploratory services in River Falls.  The first service was conducted on June 27, 1971 at the Assembly of God Church with about 100 people attending the service.  Pastor Valleskey also conducted adult information classes throughout the summer for those interested in the beliefs and practices of the WELS.

Pastor Valleskey accepted a call to serve as a missionary and left for Africa in September.  Pastor William Wiedenmeyer, the institutional minister for the Twin Cities area, consented to serve as interim pastor.  During the brief period of his service (September 5 - December 19, 1971), the congregation organized a Sunday School and confirmation class, drafted a constitution and chose the name of Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church.  The International Organization of Odd Fellows Hall, above the Gaylord Law Offices on Elm Street, was rented in September 1971 for church services and Sunday school meetings.  The Hall was used until January 1975.

Pastor David Seager, the new pastor at a sister congregation in Prescott, began serving the congregation in addition to the Prescott congregation on December 22, 1971.  In May 1972, the congregation received "mission status" in the WELS.  Early in 1973, five acres of property was purchased for a new church and parsonage on the northwest side of River Falls.

On July 8, 1973, Pastor Seager ordained and installed the first resident pastor, Rev. Carl W. Ziemer.  He also served as the campus pastor for the University of Wisconsin - River Falls.  The Lord had increased the congregation's communicant membership to 54 by this date.

Through loans made possible by the Church Extension Fund (CEF) of the Wisconsin Synod, the young congregation was able to build a parsonage in 1974 and a church with an education wing in 1975.

Faith Lutheran Church operated a Christian Day School beginning in the fall of 1979, but closed its doors for financial reasons in 1985.  Serving as teachers were Susan Roland Lueneburg, Cheryl Ziemer, Shirley Dorst, and Amanda Gross Wittig.

In the spring of 1983, Pastor Ziemer accepted a call to Christ Lutheran in Zumbrota, Minnesota.  Pastor David Voss was called to serve Faith through the WELS Assignment Committee in May 1983.  Pastor Voss was ordained and installed on July 24, 1983.  He served Faith until March 1987 when he accepted a call to Memorial Lutheran in Williamstone, Michigan.  In the early spring of 1987, Pastor Joel Lintner was called from Melstone, Montana, to replace Pastor Voss.  He was installed on March 22, 1987, and served through November 1991.  

On June 2, 1992, Pastor Paul Schmeling was installed.  He previously served at Bethany Lutheran in Granite Falls, Minnesota. He was pastor for the congregation and for WELS Campus Ministry until Sunday, May 24, 2009, when he last preached an Ascension service before himself being called to glory.  In the interim from Pastor Schmeling’s death to a permanent replacement, Pastor Jon Brohn of Salem Stillwater served as vacancy pastor.

Pastor Clayton Welch was installed on January 10, 2010, coming to River Falls from his previous call at St. Thomas in Phoenix/Goodyear, Arizona.  He served as the pastor for the congregation and WELS Campus Ministry at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.  In October of 2019, Pastor Clayton Welch accepted a call to Manassas, Virginia.  

Pastor Tim Rosenow from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Prescott served as vacancy pastor until May 2019. At that time Pastor David Spaude was assigned to the congregation from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.  On July 9, 2019, he was ordained and installed as Pastor of Faith.

In May 2022, Pastor David Spaude accepted a call to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Medford, Wisconsin. Pastor Tim Rosenow served again as vacancy pastor.

In 2002, the congregation developed the Children of Faith Preschool program to serve the  community.  The congregation called Beth Schmeling to be the Preschool Teacher during the first 10 years of the program.  Beth Schmeling retired in 2012 and that same year the congregation called Debbie Weigand to be the Preschool Teacher. Debbie Weigand remained with the Children of Faith Preschool through the 2014/15 school year upon which she retired. In 2015, Anna White was called to serve as the Preschool Director and Teacher.   


Categories: Member Information

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! ~ Luke 24:5-6