St. Peter Lutheran Church

The first worship services in the Hunter’s Bottom area were held in the home of Judge Cornelius Hoagland by a Methodist Circuit Rider, who came periodically and stayed a few days before moving on to the next church in the circuit. 

Later the Hopewell Methodist Church was built on a lot donated by Cornelius Deweese and which was about a mile from where St. Peter Lutheran Church now stands. 

The first Lutheran services were held in this Methodist Church and were conducted on Sunday afternoons by Rev. Mueller, pastor of the Lutheran and Reformed Church in Madison, Indiana. Services continued at Hopewell Church until 1895 when the Methodists relocated their congregation. At that point, the Lutheran mission began to worship in the Hopewell School (near the site of the present St. Peter Church building). 

Early in the 15-year ministry of Pastor Schmidt, which began in 1895, plans were made to formalize the congregation. The constitution for the new church, called “The Independent German Evangelical Protestant St. Peter’s Church of Hunter’s Bottom, Kentucky,” was adopted on December 1, 1895. The committee responsible for drawing up the constitution was comprised of Fred Detmer, Henry Hotfil, and Karl Walkenhorst. 

In March, 1896, a building committee consisting of Fred Thieman, Sr., Frank Thieman, and John Obertate made plans for their own building. Although a contractor was hired, members of the church worked faithfully in the construction. The church building was dedicated on June 28, 1896. The pews were a gift from the Deweese family and the Hamptons gave the stained-glass windows. 

Board members in 1896 were Henry Hotfil, Karl Walkenhorst, and Fred Detmer. 

The first infants to be baptized in the new church were Neal Obertate, son of Mr. And Mrs. John Obertate, and Henry Kruse, son of Mr. And Mrs. Casper Kruse. 

Until 1919, the German language was used exclusively in the church. It was then that it was decided that English would be used on the first Sunday of each month. In 1928 English was adopted for all services. 

The old cemetery was located on the farm owned by August Raker. In May 1909 it was completely moved to a hill overlooking the church. 

On June 8, 1928, St. Peter Church adopted a new constitution which renamed the church “Hunter’s Bottom Lutheran Church.” The document also specified that all records were to be kept in English and extended the right to vote in congregational meetings to women for the first time. The high central pulpit was lowered. An annual picnic was inaugurated. 

The 1937 flood reached the eaves of the church but the building stood firm. 

In the Forties, the congregation adopted the Common Service and Hymnal and began to use individual glasses rather than the common cup for Holy Communion. Also, the cemetery association, which had been formed in 12931, was made a separate, non-church agency. 

After 60 years as an independent church, St. Peter Church joined the Kentucky-Tennessee (ULCA) in June 1956. The synod approved the documents which had incorporated the congregation under the name “St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hunter’s Bottom” in 1955. 

The educational wing to the church building was dedicated on April 15, 1956. In 1958 the Service Book and Hymnal was adopted. 

St. Peter Church joined the Indiana-Kentucky Synod (LCA) when it was organized in 1962. With the coming of the Rev. Kenneth L. Grimes (1976-1980) as pastor, the church entered into a two-church parish arrangement with Resurrection Lutheran Church in Madison, Indiana. The church adopted the Lutheran Book of Worship in 1978. 

Pastors who have served St. Peter Church are: Mueller, Nestle, Buckleman, Fach, Ernst (1878-1895), Schmidt (1895-1910), Ahrends (1910-1925), Green (1925-1926), students (1926-1928), Clark S. Powell (1928-1936), William J. Butt (1936-1940), Howard A. Kunkle (1940-1943), Frederick D. Daubenbis (1943-1948), Louis G. Gray (1948-1951), James O. Woodward (1952-1953), Richard W. Howard (1954-1956), Fley, Student (1957), Kimm, student (1958), O. Kurg Flafter, student (1959), Theodore R. Hildebrand (1960-1964), David A. Swanson (1964-1967), Robert F. Vedell (1968-1971), Roger Imhoff, Sr. (1971-1975), Kenneth Grimes (1976-1980), and John F. Schneiter (1981- ). 

Information about the St. Peter Lutheran Church was provided from a history of the church prepared for the observance of the 90th anniversary in December, 1985.