125th Anniversary

Vicars and Pastors serving St. Peter beginning in 1988-89:

1988-1989 Vicar Paul Winningham (Uniontown/Longtown, MO)

1989-1990 Vicar Steve Felton (not in ministry)

1990-1991 Vicar Roger Abernathy (Farrar, MO)

1991-1992 Vicar James R. Johnson, Sr. (not in ministry)

1992-1993 Vicar Michael Paholke (Suring, WI)

1993-1994 Vicar Craig Palach (Fergus Falls, MN)

1994-1995 Vicar Mitchell Otto (Coralville, IA)

1995-1996 Vicar Don Meyer (Marcus/Quimby, IA)

1996-1997 Vicar Christopher Tabbert (Eureka, MT)

1997 Pastor Matthew Versemann (from Riceville)

1997-2002 Pastor Maurice Lind

2002-2010 Pastor Michael Parris

2010-present Pastor Ryan McDermott

Rev. Robert Pfeil of Riceville and Rev. Chris Gugel of Osage served as advisors to our vicars.




From Pres. Harrison:

From Pastor Paul Winningham:

We are thrilled that St. Peter, Elma will be celebrating their 125th Anniversary!

We were privileged to be in you midst as Vicar Paul (Winningham) and family from the middle of 1988 to May 1989. If you recall we came with a family of small children and had the blessing of having our 4th child, Peter, born that December. Many of you prayed for him and Diane after his birth. (That emergency c-section changed our lives for the better!) We brought Peter home from Mayo Clinic after much prayer from you dear Saints of St. Peter. You poured out your love to our family and for that we are eternally grateful to you. You witnessed the baptism of Peter Joel on Christmas morning. (We have e-mailed photo of that special day at St. Peter). We also had the honor of celebrating the 100th Anniversary of St. Peter congregation. We remember the outdoor service and that the church got a facelift with new carpet and interior painting. Our family has wonderful memories of our days with you in Elma. We did not know where Elma, Iowa, was when we first found out where our vicarage assignment was, but we soon found it on the map and it has remained dear to our hearts. One of the fun memories (outside of church life) was going ice fishing on frozen pond. All the children were safe and no need to fear falling into the water because it was frozen solid.

Our family keeps growing bigger for which we are grateful and have emailed a few photos for you to enjoy!


Daniel (wife Carolyn with 2 grandchildren Cara 6, Dominic 2) is a journalist and writes for the Macoupan County Newspaper in central Illinois. Daniel attended kindergarten at the elementary school in Elma.



Tim (wife Katy) lives in St. Louis, MO and works for Edward Jones of Canada also umpires college and minor league Baseball. They are expecting their first child this October.




Hannah (husband Dustin Welker and Evelyn 2) graduated with a graphic arts degree and keeps busy at home with Evelyn and is expecting baby #2 in a couple weeks.




Peter (wife Grace) lives in Kansas City and is doing his residency in Radiology.





Sarah (only hears about Elma, she was not with us on Vicarage) just finished her second year at Concordia University, Nebraska studying exercise science and hoping to do something in the medical field.



Pastor Paul has been shepherding the 2 congregations in Southeast Missouri for 24 years. Grace Lutheran in Uniontown, and Zion Lutheran in Longtown. (A dual Parish partnership 5 miles apart.)

Diane works at an assisted living with seniors and enjoys time with the grandchildren.


From Irma Jensen:

One warm summer Sunday, prior to the church having air-conditioning, Pastor Thomas Manteufel paused during his sermon. He said, “Just a minute,” left the pulpit, and headed down the center church aisle. The church doors had been left open, and Pastor’s kitty, “Snagglepuss,” upon hearing his master’s voice, decided to come to the church service too. Pastor gently put him back outside.

During the sermon also one Sunday (I don’t remember if it was wintertime), a mouse attended the service and was racing in the front of the church near the pulpit. I don’t know where the mouse disappeared to – perhaps a cold air duct – but he created a little excitement. Not everyone saw him.

During Pastor Maurice Lind’s service, Lavern Brockney was lined up near the front pew, awaiting attending the Lord’s Supper. The poor man sneezed, and his dentures flew out (about four or six feet from him). He said, “Oh, no!”, ran and picked them up and put them back in his mouth. Lavern was our janitor at the time. Pastor Lind told me that he handled it until Lavern said “Oh, no!” – then he had to lecture himself: “Lind, keep it together!” (He wasn’t allowed to laugh during Distribution.)

One Sunday during the service, smoke started coming from the sacristy. Someone, near the church front, ran into the room, grabbed the fire extinguisher, and put out the fire. After lighting the candles, on of the lighter wicks was too close to some paper and ignited it. Was the Holy Spirit present with fire?



Physical Changes to Church Property:


The past 25 years saw some major changes in the physical look of St. Peter Lutheran Church and property.


In July of 200, the parsonage garage, located to the northeast of the church, burned and all contents were destroyed. This included Pastor Lind’s car. The cause of the fire, as ruled by the State Fire Marshal, was wiring. A double garage and cement approach were constructed east of the parsonage.


In the year 2005, it was decided to have the parsonage removed, and in June 2006 a Mennonite family offered to take the house. It was moved to its new site just east of T68 on 180th Street west of Elma.


The schoolhouse on the north side of the church was also removed in 2006. It had been erected in 1912, and a Christian day school began. When no longer in use as a day school, it was used for Saturday Catechism instruction and VBS classes. Following the remodeling and modernization of the church basement in 1955, there was room within the church for these sessions, and the schoolhouse was no longer used. However, in 1997, the Breakfast Club was formed by Kevin Schmidt as a youth Bible study group on Sunday morning, and once again the old schoolhouse came to life.


In September 2006, when it was in need of much repair and unused again, it was moved near the old railroad site in downtown Elma and has now been refurbished as a school house museum.


In 2009, the front entrance of the church received much needed repair and maintenance. A new roof was installed and the large amber “wall” windows were replaced with five smaller energy-efficient windows and steel siding.


Changes also occurred within the musical area.


In 2000, a carillon bell system was installed. Every day, traditional and seasonal hymns can be heard by the residents of Elma.

In 2013, when circumstances left the congregation without an organist, the Virtual Organist system was purchased, which allows the organ to be played via an iPad plugged into an input on the organ console.