Pioneer Norwegian-Americans settled much of southeastern Minnesota in the 1850s. East and West St. Olaf were two of the earliest Lutheran congregations in this area. In early 1876 some West St. Olaf members living in Kasson were given permission to begin their own congregation, and this "Kasson Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation" was formally organized on April 3, 1876. On Nov. 17, 1880 our first constitution was adopted and the name was changed to "St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Congregation."
St. John's shared pastors in various arrangements - initially with West St. Olaf, soon with Hayfield, Evanger, & Rochester. A pastor would visit monthly, sometimes more often. Members purchased the Danish Baptist Church building in 1903; at that time there were 23 families making up St. John's.
A new church building was constructed in 1917. In 1921 St. John's Called Pr. Mikkel Lono, our first full time pastor. In 1928 Pr. Thorvold Moen began a Call that would continue until 1956. Women were given the right to vote and hold office in 1938.
Pr. Curtis Johnson was Called in 1961 and would serve St. John's and the entire Kasson-Mantorville community through 1996. In 1963 we helped begin Christ Lutheran in Byron while getting ready for our own move a few blocks west. In 1964 we moved from the 1917 church to our present site, then on the edge of town. The Hendrickson Track Organ was installed in 1982. St. John's was included in the merger that formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American in 1988. During 1992-1993 all areas of the church were extensively remodeled or enlarged except for the sanctuary. Pr. Adolf Quast was our Senior Pastor from Dec. 1998 to Dec. 2002. Pastor Ronald D. Jensen served as our Lead Pastor from January 2004 to March 2009. Membership had grown to over 3,000.
Pr. Marie AK Anderson began serving as Pastor of Discipleship and Family Life in August 2004. Missy Tjosaas has been Director of Education Ministries since 2002 and Phil Francis as Director of Youth and Family Ministries in 2004. In 2006 we committed ourselves to a major programming shift known as The Oasis, a Wednesday 3:00 - 9:00 p.m. series of after school activities, Wednesday School, family meal, family worship, confirmation and Peer Ministry.
In January 2011 Pastor Randy Fett joined our congregation as our Lead Pastor. We continue to look for new opportunities to serve God in our community and around the Globe as disciples of Christ.
St. John's is people - more than 3,000 sinner/saints who know that God loves and lives in this good but fallen world. With God touching and blessing our lives, we know that we are meant to bless others.
We meet together in a beautiful and unique building on 8th Avenue in Kasson, Minnesota, although we come from Mantorville, Dodge Center, Byron, Hayfield, and Rochester as well. We teach and remind everyone that this is God's building for ministry and mission that we have been given to care for and to use in God's name. It is a place of worship, of learning, of fellowship and fun!
We call a Lead Pastor and a Pastor of Discipleship and Family Ministry to help shape our ministries and lead us in mission. We call a Director of Youth & Family Ministries and a Director of Education to guide our commissions in providing activities and ministries in those areas. We hire musicians - worship bands, organists, pianists, bell choir and choir directors - to lead worship and to teach others.
We meet together in a dozen Commissions to plan and implement the peoples' ministries. We believe in and encourage "1B4F" - that the people who are St. John's should always meet and greet one new (to them) person before sitting down to chat with their friends.
We come together midweek to refresh ourselves at God's Oasis - a 6-hour series of individual and family opportunities each Wednesday from 3:00 - 9:00 that include activities, Wednesday School, choirs, a family meal, worship, confirmation, Peer ministry and youth activities. More information is on the "Oasis" page of this website.
We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, one of 11,000 varied congregations of God's people who do ministry throughout this country and the globe. We are a sister congregation of Shelui Lutheran in Shelui, Tanzania and we partially support missionaries Marvin & Jean in Tanzania. Each week we hold a special offering, known as our Grace Offering, which we offer to support ministries outside of the congregation.
We are a people who have dedicated ourselves to grow in discipleship. We have found ourselves caught up in Christ's love, and now we live to share.