The first decade of Memorial Baptist Church saw a lot of changes. The first meeting place was at the Labor Temple in Fond du Lac from May 8, 1955 to December 4, 1955. The first home for the church was built on the corner of Western and Peters Avenues and was used from December 11, 1955, to March 30, 1958. Groundbreaking for the new church building on the corner of Forest and Peters Avenue took place on October 6, 1957. The new building was dedicated on October 5, 1958 and a new era began for the pioneers of Memorial Baptist Church.
It wasn’t just the location that changed. Various pastors also came and went throughout the initial decade. The first pastor, Reverend C.C. Cunningham, served from September 1955 to December 30, 1956. He left saying that the church was now ready for full-time ministry. Reverend C. Ivor Johnson served as interim pastor from January-March 1957, until Reverend John H. Ashley was hired. Pastor Ashley served from May 5, 1957 to February 26, 1961. Several interim pastors served until Reverend Carl Kingsley began on September 17, 1961. He stayed until February 21, 1965 and then a number of guest pastors filled in until Reverend Owen Stuart was hired on May 1, 1966. He stayed until July 1, 1973.
Members also came and went, due to moving out of town and other life changes, but through it all a fellowship of believers grew together and went about the business of doing church in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Let’s take a peek at an event in the life of the church printed in the local newspaper in September of 1961.
“First Rehearsal Held by Choir”
Mrs. Edwin O. Radtke, president of the chancel choir of Memorial Baptist Church, welcomed new members to the first fall rehearsal held in the church Thursday.
Special guests of the choir were the Rev. and Mrs. John R. Estes. The Rev. Mr. Estes has been the interim pastor at the church for the last three months and will leave to go to his home in Florida next week.
Mrs. Lucille Altman led the group in singing. Several members related summer experiences. After the rehearsal, they were entertained in a social hour sponsored by the church service committee.
Refreshments were served by the hostesses, the Mmes. Russell Wagner, Earl Flood, Lawrence Curtis, and Michael Sterr and Miss JoAnne Wagner.
The table was decorated with paper choristers and cut flowers, which blended in with the color scheme of the choral robes. Mrs. Kendall Klintworth and Mrs. Edwin O. Radtke were in charge of the decorations.
Tom and Kathy Bonde
60th Anniversary Celebration Team Members