History | St. Peter's Lutheran Church
408 W. Bellevue St. | Big Rapids | MI | 49307 Sundays: 8:30 & 11 a.m. | Wednesdays: 6 p.m.


St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Big Rapids was established on January 3, 1870 in the home of William Remus, who met with three other men to start the new congregation: August Ahrens, Frederick Ahrens and Ferdinand Newman. They met with the church’s first official shepherd, Rev. John Karrer. The Rev. C.L Wuggazer became the first resident pastor on July 30, 1871. He was succeeded, in order, by Rev. E.J. Franck, Rev. John Kluasing, Rev. B.G. Succopp, Rev. R.W. Wiese, Rev. Aurthur Meyer, Rev. Paul Dorn, Rev. John Mackowiak, Rev. Lee Zabrocki and Rev. John A. Bookshaw, who is the current pastor since June 2004. Assistant/Associate pastors have included Rev. Oscar Dorn, Rev. Robert Mann, Rev. John Schleicher, Rev. Daniel Lochner, and currently Rev. Jonathan V. Williams.

The Lutheran day school started in the home of Rev. Wuggazer immediately upon his arrival. A year later, the congregation passed a resolution to take over the school. The church was used as a school room. Pastors also taught in the school for many years. Several teachers served in the early years including Martin Pieper from 1922 to 1931. He was succeeded by several teachers including Ernest Roemke who was also principal from 1951 to 1961. Richard Zielske served as principal from 1961 to 1980 and was succeeded by Mr. David Truog who served from August 1980 to July 2013. Following Mr. Truog’s retirement, Zonna Heck served as interim Principal. Mr. Brad Massey is our school’s current principal. Mr. Massey was called by the congregation in February of 2014 and was installed in August of 2014.

The present facility is located at 408 West Bellevue St. The first building went up in 1872 near the present site and was expanded in 1898. Much of the current school structure, including the gymnasium, was dedicated in 1951. Church services were conducted in the gym for around seven years. The current structure was dedicated October 19, 1958. There were major renovations and additions made to the current structure in 1983 and 2004.