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Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church Cambridge, Wisconsin

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
(Hebrews 11:1)

The village of Cambridge, Wisconsin is located about thirty-five miles east of Madison and ten miles from the cities of Lake Mills, Jefferson, and Fort Atkinson. It has a population of about 1,500 people, and approximately ten churches.
It was in this small village that a strong group of believers and their pastor, Rev. Adelbert Geiger, stepped out in faith and broke from their church, St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, due to the church and synod’s failure to follow sound doctrine and practice concerning church fellowship and the divine call.
Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church was created by the Spirit of God on the night of November 22, 1960. Seven days later they became an organized congregation and began holding services in the basement of a member’s home. Faith was legally incorporated on January 22, 1961. The congregation applied for membership in the Church of the Lutheran Confession on July 7, 1961 and were received into membership on September 3, 1961.
By God’s grace, in September of 1961, the congregation was able to purchase a parsonage for their pastor on Main Street in Cambridge. Five years later, they were again blessed and were able to purchase a four-acre property located on U.S. Highway 12. The Highway 12 property, which is Faith’s current location, also contained a building which was a former restaurant and residence. Immediately after purchasing the property, the members and pastor began to remodel the interior of the building into a chapel where the true Word of God was to be proclaimed.
God continued to bless this
congregation of believers.
In 1970, Pastor Geiger accepted the Lord’s call to serve Lemmon and Firesteel, South Dakota. That same year, the congregation dedicated its chapel at their tenth anniversary service. The next month, a special call meeting was held with the CLC Mission Board to call a pastor to serve both Faith and the Madison mission, which would later become Peace Thru Christ Lutheran Church in Middleton. Pastor John Johannes accepted the call in 1971, and a dual parish was created.
The Lord continued to bless Faith. After Pastor Johannes accepted the Lord’s call to Luther Memorial in Fond du Lac in 1978, seminary graduate John Ude was ordained and installed at Faith and Peace Thru Christ.
In 1980, Faith celebrated its twentieth anniversary and, by God’s grace, burned its mortgage. A few years later, a decision was made to move Pastor Ude and his family from the parsonage in Cambridge to Middleton. Eventually the parsonage in Cambridge was sold, but the dual parish continued.
After Pastor Ude accepted the Lord’s call to Messiah of Hales Corners in 1990, Pastor David Koenig became the pastor of Faith and Peace Thru Christ. In 1998, when Pastor Koenig became the CLC missionary to Nigeria and India, Pastor Robert McDonald accepted the Lord’s call and served both congregations until 1999. Pastor Kevin McKenney, who was a former WELS pastor and completed a colloquy in the CLC, accepted the Lord’s call to serve Faith and Peace Thru Christ in 1999.
In 2002, the dual parish with
Peace Thru Christ was dissolved.
The members of Faith were led by God to call Pastor McKenney to continue to serve as their pastor, and he accepted the Lord’s call. Because the congregation was small, Pastor McKenney also worked at a secular job while serving Faith full time. Even though the dual parish was dissolved, God continued and still continues to bless both congregations. To God be the Glory!
Although Faith was small by worldly standards, the congregation was blessed throughout the years with spiritual and congregational growth. God’s Word continued to be proclaimed. God blessed the congregation with baptisms, confirmations, Bible classes, catechism instructions, Sunday School and victory services. They were also able to remodel the outside of their building.
The congregation of believers and friends enjoyed many fellowship opportunities, including their annual Reformation service and potluck, Christmas decorating/lunch, Easter brunch, and the annual Easter egg hunt.
Outreach opportunities became available through newspaper ads, word of mouth, a church website, and most recently through hospital visits and Faith’s Facebook page. By God’s grace, the congregation was blessed to have visitors attend its worship services and inquire about the congregation and church body.
Even though God continued to bless the congregation, it also experienced struggles throughout the years. Pastor McKenney lost his secular job. Cambridge and the surrounding areas were affected by factories and businesses closing due to the recession. Because some members of the congregation moved out of the area for new job opportunities, the congregation began to decrease in size. Other members lost their jobs. The majority of the members no longer lived in Cambridge, which made it increasingly difficult to maintain the property. During this time, the congregation looked at options to relocate the congregation to a different area. It took several years for the congregation to make a decision. Before a final decision was made, some members left to join other denominations. This made the congregation even smaller.
But throughout all these struggles, God was still with the few remaining members of Faith and continued to bless them. This small group of Christians continued to worship in the church building when possible, and later on in the home of Pastor McKenney.
Early in the summer of 2018, after seeking the Lord’s direction and guidance through prayer, the members and Pastor McKenney began to move forward with plans to sell the current property and relocate. However, these plans were put on hold when Pastor McKenney became ill and was unexpectedly taken to his eternal home in January of 2019.
Please keep Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in your prayers as the members prayerfully take time to determine God’s will for their congregation. Pray for God’s guidance as they move forward by faith to proclaim the true Word of God! To God Be the Glory!
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Kevin McKenney was pastor of Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambridge, Wisconsin, from 2002 until his death in January of this year. This article was adapted from a congregational history he wrote. Family members also contributed to the article.