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Updates from congregations around the Church of the Lutheran Confession

In the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night before He died, our Savior resolved to go forward and suffer the hell we all deserved because of our sins. This truth is stunningly pictured for all who come to Gethsemane Lutheran Church for worship. When worshipers pass through the doors of her sanctuary and look up, there, above the altar, they are greeted by the sight of a large stained-glass window, bright with dazzling color. The window pictures our dear Savior in Gethsemane, ready and willing, after agonizing in prayer, to lay down His life for all. What a wonderful reminder of Jesus’ redeeming love for all who come to worship at Gethsemane. On any given Sunday you will find a nice mix of worshipers. Infants, toddlers, school children, teenagers, young adults, middle-agers, and senior citizens—all join together to receive the blessings of the means of grace and to sing praises and offer prayers to our Triune God.


Over the years, Gethsemane has carried out a number of outreach efforts, including setting up Bible craft tables in area parks, “invite-a-friend” Sundays, and various Bible seminars. Two annual outreach efforts include Vacation Bible School and our Day School Open House. Through each of these efforts the Lord has enabled us to share the Gospel with many in our community, some of whom have become members of our congregation. There are currently three individuals in adult instruction class.

Bible classes include Sunday morning studies for both children and adults, as well as a Wednesday night Zoom Bible study. A few of those who “attend” our Zoom class do so from two hundred miles away. We also conduct a special Bible study with a church member currently living in Tennessee.

Our Ladies’ Guild is active in many different areas, such as sponsoring foreign seminary students, doing special things for our shut-ins, theme-decorating for our potlucks, helping with funeral dinners and, currently, spearheading a remodel of our church kitchen.

Children of the Christian Day School, lower grades
Children of the Christian Day School, lower grades

Since 1982 the congregation has operated a Christian day school. During those forty-two years we have been blessed with many caring teachers, all of whom have aided parents in nurturing the faith of Jesus’ precious lambs. This past school year, Loretta Leinberger accepted the call to be our Pre-K/Kindergarten teacher. We feel very blessed to have her as part of our teaching staff. Gloria Wilke has been our lower grade teacher since 2003. With teaching, playing organ and being the pastor’s wife, she keeps very busy. The congregation appreciates everything she does. For the past three decades Daniel Barthels faithfully served as our school principal and upper grade teacher. He also served as an organist, handbell choir director, choir director, and church secretary. At the end of the past school year Dan retired from the teaching ministry. We will greatly miss our beloved “Mr. B,” as he and his wife Kathy plan to move to Stevens Point, Wisconsin, this summer. 

Gethsemane's school playground
Gethsemane’s school playground

We are very thankful that the Lord led Joshua Ohlmann to accept the call to be our new principal and upper grade teacher. Joshua will begin teaching at our school this coming fall. We look forward to adding Joshua, his wife Hannah, and their four children to our church family.

This last school year Gethsemane had two ninth-grade members attending Immanuel Lutheran High School in Eau Claire. Despite the considerable distance between Saginaw and Eau Claire, Gethsemane, throughout her history, has had many young people attend Immanuel.

Chancel of Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Chancel of Gethsemane Lutheran Church

Our fervent prayer is that, for many years to come, God will enable Gethsemane to faithfully proclaim the unchanging message of Christ crucified to a world lost in sin and that, as both members and visitors look up at the stained-glass image of Jesus in the Garden, they may all be reminded of our blessed Savior’s redeeming love, “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Michael Wilke is pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Saginaw, Michigan, and president of the Church of the Lutheran Confession.