Our Savior Lutheran Church in Brownsdale will soon be celebrating its 75th anniversary. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Archived Story

Church celebrates major milestone

Published 11:26am Friday, October 19, 2012

Last Our Savior charter member returns for 75th year

In the late 1930s, a church north of Hayfield was purchased, lifted off the ground and moved 20-miles south to Brownsdale. Jeanette Clayton’s father, Chris Rettig, was there alongside it the whole time, careful to make sure the building stayed secure as it inched along.

“My dad walked beside it all the way,” Clayton said.

She and Rettig were two of the founding members of what would become Our Savior Lutheran Church in Brownsdale. The congregation will celebrate its 75-year milestone with a special service at 2 p.m. Sunday at the church.

A lot has changed in 75 years. The building itself was replaced by a newer structure on the west side of town. Clayton, then a teenager, is now 93 years old. As the church’s only surviving charter member, she has more than a few memories of the place.

The original church building, which now serves as a mortuary, was a big part of Clayton’s life. She first came to know it as a teenager, and graduated from high school not long after it was founded. She still remembers how she spent part of her 18th birthday scrubbing the floor of the old church.

Before marrying her husband in 1946, Clayton saw him weekly at the church. She would later go on to be the Sunday school teacher for all the children that attended.

Clayton credits the Rev. E. J. Marxhausen, who became the church’s first pastor, as being instrumental in getting it started. From early on, the church was well received. Locals showed up at the church, happy to have one located in Brownsdale.

“They attracted quite a few more people,” Clayton said.

Daphne Wagner, a congregation member on the church’s Anniversary Planning Committee, said the church has been planning the service over the course of the last couple of months.

To mark the occasion Sunday, two of the former sons of the congregation who are now pastors will return to Brownsdale and each give a short sermon, said Pastor Jeff Sage. After, there will be a fellowship time.

Each family that attends will get a bag with a picture of the church and fact sheets on it, Wagner said. There will also be old pictures laid out of previous congregation members, old pastors and confirmation classes for those interested in seeing images from the church over the last 75 years.

The usual 9 a.m. service will still take place earlier on, she added.

These days, Clayton has had to stop attending Our Savior on a regular basis due to limited mobility. Before she moved to an apartment at St. Mark’s Lutheran Home in Austin, she had lived her whole life in Brownsdale.

But she looks forward to returning to the church Sunday, with the help of her daughter who will visit from Minneapolis, for its 75th anniversary service.

“I’m planning on it,” she said. “Seventy-five years is a significant number,” she said.

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