Maple Valley Community Church
Written by Marjorie Brock 1899
and Russel Brock 2012
About 1880, a group of Scandinavians came from the Fatherlands. They were used to hardships and toil. They did not have a church to attend so they held services in their homes.
One man who stands apart from so many others was one who was possessed with a consecrated loyalty that made his service for Christ outstanding. He came to America in 1883 and became known among the Norwegian seamen as a living Christian on land as well as on sea. The man was Hans Ferdinand Josephson. He surrendered his will to Christ and it became his life’s ambition to preach the gospel in places where it was not commonly heard. He traveled to Northern Wisconsin, stopping at Maple Valley, Ogdensburg, Clintonville, and Wittenberg. These trips were made before he had enrolled as a student at Chicago Theological Seminary. He became known as Wisconsin’s Apostle, thus was the beginning of the Maple Valley Church. The Chicago Seminary had a vacation. The students of the Norwegian Institute were eager for opportunities of service so they went out to look for them.
Two of them traveling together, like the apostles of old, heard of this settlement through Hans Josephson. They came and used a little schoolhouse for services and began telling the people about God. There were conversations and soon a small company of believers gathered. Severt Martin Andrewson remained at Maple Valley and his brother returned to the Seminary to complete his study. Andrew John Andrewson later returned to Maple Valley and served for eight years. Severt Martin Andrewson organized the Scandinavian Congregational Free Church of Maple Valley, Wisconsin on May 12, 1894. Work on the church building was started immediately. He served the church one and one half years staying with August and Sena Arveson, two of the Charter members of his church.
Severt Andrewson then returned to Chicago for his final year of study. Severin Johnson, Ellen Johnson, Soren Peterson and Maren Peterson were also known charter members. In the Spring of 1896, Andrew John Andrewson and his wife returned to the pastorate. They lived in the loft of a blacksmith’s shop until the Parsonage was built. He was ordained to the gospel in the Maple Valley Church on October 17, 1896.
Andrew John Andrewson also supplied three outstations consisting of Claywood, Pulcifer, and Linwood. Following the completion of his work in Maple Valley, he moved to Racine, Wisconsin. At his ordination, the charge to the church was delivered by Rev. A. Larsen. The charge to the candidate was issued by Rev. Hans A. Brooks. The right of fellowship was extended by the “Wisconsin Apostle” Rev. Josephson.
Rev. Hans A. Brooks was ordained at Leeman, Maple Valley and was Uncle to Raymond Brock. He also served the Maple Valley Church and Leeman from 1895-1896.
The Annual Meeting of the Western Association of the Congregational Free Church was held in 1895 in Clintonville. The Annual Conference was held in 1903 in the Maple Valley Church. The organ that is still in the church was purchased new at the time of the building of the church.
After Andrew Andrewson, Lars Nilson Hougland came to serve as pastor until 1910. Rev. Jens H. Pedersen came and served until 1914. He married Mr. & Mrs. Peter Brock in 1911.
The Parsonage was built about 1902 and the Andrew John Andrewson family was the first family to live in it. Arthur Larsen came in 1914 and was the pastor until 1919. He married Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Peterson in 1916. Rev. Mons Carlsen Holmes came in 1920 and served until 1927. He also had churches in Unity Center and Townsend.
Rev. Jens C. Jorgensen was here from 1927 until 1931.
Rev Lars G. Moland, then serving the Bethany Church in Clintonville, also served the Maple Valley Church from 1931 until 1937. It was during this time period that the large painting of the woman at the well, which hangs in the front of our church sanctuary, was obtained from a church in Hinnsdale, Illinois. Rev. Moland married Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Schall in 1934.
In 1938 Rev. Ervin Westhouse, also serving Clintonville, came to the Maple Valley Church and held services on Sunday afternoons until 1945. They did not have Sunday School at this time. The piano came from the Broetzman girls. It was left at Emil Kersheks to be sold and the church purchased it for $25.00. Shirley Forbes was the pianist at that time. The date of purchase was about 1940. Rev. Lester Theil was asked to serve our church April 4, 1945. He did so faithfully until June 1951, along with three other churches: Morgan, Gillett and Hayes.
On January 21, 1946, the church board and the membership met and dissolved the Scandinavian Evangelical Church. We also wrote to the conference and asked the amount of the loan we owed them. A mortgage burning ceremony was held at the church with both District Superintendents present. The fiftieth anniversary of the church was celebrated on October 22, 1944, with a dinner served to former members and pastors and present church members.
In 1949, the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Rev. E.S. Antrim served as pastor from 1951 to 1954. On April 12, 1954, the congregation voted to withdraw from that conference.
On May 21, 1954, we officially incorporated as the Maple Valley Community Church, which it remains yet today. Rev. Arthur Ward substituted on occasion for Rev. Theil and Rev. Antrim when they were on vacation. Rev. J.B. Wendell came from Oconto to preach on Sundays from 1954 until January 1956.
The furnace was installed the fall of 1955. This ended the need for each family to bring a load of wood to the church each year. Pastor Warren Losli supplied us until April, 1956 when Rev. James Franklin from Oconto served until September 1, 1963. Rev. Floyd Sheppard from Pound filled the pulpit until his sickness in the spring of 1964. Rev. Charles Linville from Village Missions filled the pulpit from August 1, 1964, until May, 1965, and lived in the parsonage.
At the time Warren Losli was again asked to serve the church temporarily and did so until May 20, 1976. John Rutherford came as a candidate from the Christian and Missionary Alliance and remained until August 1, 1978. We had affiliated with the C&MA in May, 1976. Rev. Charles Finley of the Hickory Church of Christ supplied our church after John Rutherford left. During Pastor Rutherford’s tenure, our basement and new entrance were built and the formal dedication was July 23, 1978. In May, 1979, we were pleased to have Rev. Lew Mills (one of our members and a retired pastor) fill our pulpit with his great messages and pleasant smile. He continued until Pastor Roy Williams came in September 1980. Pastor Williams was installed on November 9, 1980, with Rev. Worden, Rev. Gowdy, and Rev. Kringle as guest Pastors.
Rev. T. Wayne Larson and his wife, Ruth, came in December, 1983. We shared them with the Riverview Alliance Church of Oconto Falls. They resided at Murphy’s Trailer Park in Oconto Falls. The church attendance had been on the increase and we are truly grateful for God’s faithfulness. During that time we replaced our church windows with new thermal pane windows. The individuals called out of the Maple Valley Community Church for full time service are Laurine Koldecup with Wycliff Bible Translators in Mexico and Charles Saletri, a pastor with the Conservative Baptist Convention.
In the fall of 1993 Rev. Kevin Kuhn came to minister to Maple Valley Community Church and Riverview Alliance in Oconto Falls. With the help of David Gerndt and Donald Trevor, they moved from Montana to the Brock house, that Raymond Brock was born in. This would be their home until the summer of 1994, when Pastor Kuhn and family bought a home in Suring and presently are residing there. Pastor Kuhn’s first marriage ceremony on December 7, 1993 was Regenia Christensen and Kevin Saeger. In August of 1994, he united Johna Klinkhammer and Ryan Brock in marriage. Ryan being a fourth-generation member of our church.
Pastor Kuhn would be with us for 17 years. During this time, our attendance would vary from 40-70 people. Rev. Kuhn presided over the funerals of many Saints. Some of which were, Carol Arveson, Irene Christensen, Donald Trevor, Raymond Brock, Daniel Christensen, Walter Ostrenga, Steve Centinario, Robert Hunt, and Marjorie Brock.
Some projects completed during this time were shingling the roof of the church and steeple, windows replaced, vinyl siding put on, construction of the sign in front of church, air conditioning installed, and basement ceiling redone, As the years passed Riverview Alliance continued to grow and it became apparent that a change would be needed.
June 2010, after many months of prayer, the Maple Valley Board voted to step out in faith and look for a full-time pastor. The last Sunday of August 2010 would end many years of sharing a pastor with our brothers and sisters of Riverview Alliance Church.
February 2011 would begin a new chapter in the history of Maple Valley Community Church. Pastor Rick Cooney, with his wife Katherine, would arrive to lead the flock at Maple Valley Community Church. We are looking to the Lord to give us his direction and do great work here at Maple Valley. For those of you who will be reading this 40 to 50 years from now, I will give you a sample of our church schedule for a year. Sunday 9:30 A.M. Sunday School, 10:30 A.M. Worship Service, Monday Night 6:30 prayer meeting, Mondays once a month, 10 A.M. Ladies Bible Study and prayer, 5 P.M. choir practice. Wednesday evening, youth groups meet 5 P.M. to 8 P.M. Thursday evening 6:30 P.M. small group meeting at homes, Communion Sunday one Sunday every 2 months. Fellowship dinner on Sunday noon every 2 months. The Sunday School puts on a Christmas program, usually during service hour, Sunday before Christmas. Annual Meeting 2nd Sunday in February. Annual cleanup and fix up with a fellowship dinner at noon, 1st part of May. Annual Missionary Conference one week in the Fall and of course there are always weddings and funerals.