Church History Origins                               

In the late 1950s, Trinity Lutheran Church on Illinois Street in downtown Battle Creek was a busy congregation full of dedicated people who loved their church.  The Rev. H. Allen Maxwell was Pastor.  Imagine their surprise (and challenge) when the Lutheran Church of America Synod, to which Trinity belonged, asked for a “mission” church to be established on the south side of Battle Creek.  In addition to a growing neighborhood there, a major east-west interstate highway (later named I-94) was in the planning stages and would pass right through the south side of Lakeview, a then “suburb” of Battle Creek.  A new LCA church would be right in the middle of Battle Creek’s southern expansion.  It was to be named St. Peter Lutheran.


In 1961, a small “white” house situated on five acres was found at 1079 Riverside Drive.  Another house, a short distance from the church at 77 Brookfield Court, was purchased for the parsonage.  The total cost for all the property was $22,750.00.  A small core of families, later to become St. Peter members, along with other members of Trinity, remodeled the living room of the house on Riverside Drive into a chapel and converted the garage into Sunday school rooms. On April 22, 1962, Easter Sunday, at 11:00 a.m., (with borrowed folding chairs) over 100 people were present to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and St. Peter’s first Sunday service.  Eventually, 68 original charter members would be proud to call St. Peter Lutheran their new church home. 

The Rev. Chris A. Laursen was called as St. Peter’s first Pastor and served this new church for its first eight years.  Pastor Laursen’s wife, Margaret, was one of the first Sunday School teachers along with Mary Lee Lamson, Ginny Watson, Jean Battan, Betty Ronkin, and Charles and Jackie Seawater.  Adeline Okerman was the first church secretary, pianist, and children’s choir director.  Adeline remembers the manual typewriter (and card table) upon which she typed the first Sunday bulletin and the first St. Peter Page. 


Barbara Kirkwood began playing the piano for church services in May, 1962 and later became the first organist.  In October, 1962, a special luncheon was held for twenty visiting ministers.  The menu included baked pork chops, baked potatoes, green bean casserole, Waldorf salad, rolls and butter, chocolate cake, and coffee.  The luncheon was planned and served by Jean Battan, Jean Miller, Margaret Laursen, Mary Coss, and Adele Minges – beginning the tradition of good food at St. Peter! The first Christmas Eve family candlelight service was held on December 24, with 136 in attendance.  Shortly into the new year (1963), the Lutheran Church Women’s group (LCW) was formed.      


Membership and attendance soon outgrew capacity in this little “white” house, so a committee was formed to explore the possibilities of “brick and mortar” expansion.  Groundbreaking ceremonies for a new building were held in September, 1964 and a cornerstone was laid in December.  St. Peter Lutheran Church continued to grow which afforded a dream for another addition including a larger worship space.  The current Sanctuary was completed in 1982 and a second cornerstone was laid.    


The St. Peter congregation has been led by several pastors over one-half of a century.  All have contributed to our spiritual growth and continued endeavor to live a Christ-centered life.  Our most recent pastor, the Rev. Jon Haug, has encouraged and inspired us to follow St. Peter’s mission statement, leading a fellowship of believers in God’s Word and Sacraments.  Our church is strong and our faith is stronger.  We are “the little church that can!”


St. Peter Dedication Sunday





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Children's Choir 













January 16, 2021


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