On Sunday, April 9, 2017 Veedum Moravian Church, in rural Pittsville, Wis. celebrated a century as a congregation.
The Veedum congregation began when Rev. C. Arthur Melicke, pastor of the First Moravian Church of nearby Grand Rapids, was engaged to preach in Veedum once each month, with services in both German and English. According to church records, 36 charter members formed Veedum Moravian Church on April 9, 1917. Some of the current members are direct descendants of those charter members. The first church home for this rural congregation was a wood framed building, purchased from a former Lutheran congregation, which served until the current building was completed in 2001. A Sunday School was formed right from the beginning and in its first summer, the church was served by a seminarian, Henry A. Kuehl. At a special service led by Rev. Melicke on July 29, 1917, nine adults were received by confirmation, three children were baptized, and Holy Communion was celebrated. Afterward, a dinner was served to 165 members and guests.
At the Centennial Celebration this year, current pastor, the Rev. Wanda L. Veldman, led the welcome and anniversary liturgy, then the Rev. Bruce Nelson, president of the Western District Executive Board, gave the 100th anniversary sermon of thanksgiving for the faith and history of Veedum. He challenged everyone to recall the person who was most influential in bringing them to faith and a life in the church. Everyone joined in the traditional Palm Sunday liturgy and received a folded palm cross as a remembrance of this singular event. Special music was provided by The Remnants, a gospel bluegrass quartet from the area and included a “sing-a-long” at the close of the service.
More than 90 members, former members and friends of the church attended. The Western District Board was also represented by Sister Nancy Chandler from Indiana. The local Historical Society served a catered meal at the church and the day was rounded out in true Moravian fashion with fellowship, laughter and sharing of stories.
The Rev. Wanda Veldman is pastor of Veedum Moravian Church in Wisconsin; Barb Schmidt, vice chair of Veedum’s Executive Board, co-wrote this article. In photo: Nancy Chandler, Wanda and the Rev. Bruce Nelson at Veedum’s celebration.