top of page

Our Heritage

Church of Our Saviour has been a presence in the Fond du Lac community since 1923. The church was first envisioned by a group of area Lutherans who saw the need for an English-speaking congregation at a time when many area Lutherans were recent immigrants who still worshipped in their native German language. 

Organized as a mission congregation of the United Lutheran Church by the Rev. B. J. Stecker and chartered in January 1925, the parish soon acquired the property at the corner of 9th and Main. A basement was built in which to hold worship services, but plans for a church building were delayed by the Great Depression. The church building that still stands today was finally completed and dedicated in 1937. The educational wing was added in 1961.

"The Vision" - Rev. Bernard J. (B.J.) Stecker, 1924-1966

Pastor Stecker, or "Barney" as he was called by his friends, came to Fond du Lac in 1924 to be the Field Missionary of Northern Wisconsin, after having served as pastor of Zion Lutheran in Horicon. He stayed on to lead the parish for his entire career, retiring as pastor in 1966. A legend in his own time, he was a visionary, a scholar, a strong leader, and very much a shepherd of the flock that he was called to serve as a young man.

"The Awakening" - Rev. Paul P. Kuenning, 1966-1970

A native of Nebraska, Paul Kuenning came to his ministry in Fond du Lac after having served a multi-racial, multi-ethnic parish in Chicago IL. During the tumultuous 1960's in conservative Fond du Lac, he was a sometimes misunderstood and often controversial figure. Still, many were drawn to and challenged by his deeply-sincere Christian witness, and his brief ministry led the parish to a new level of social consciousness and community service.

"The Colors of Healing" - Rev. Richard H. Englund, 1971-1976

Richard Englund came from a family of pastors and engineers, and in adulthood he sampled both disciplines. After earning a B S and M S in chemical engineering at the PolyTechnic Institute in his hometown of Worcester Massachusetts, he entered Augustana Seminary in Rock Island IL. After his ordination in 1959 he served parishes in Colorado and Nebraska before accepting a call to Our Saviour's in 1971. In his own words: "I came .. with the full realization that this was a church going through a time of intense inner turmoil as they struggled with how to do ministry during those traumatic years." Pastor Englund's friendly personality and people skills served the congregation well during his brief tenure, and by the time of his departure the parish had entered a period of positive change and growth.

"Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord" - Rev. Gerald V. Goodrich, 1976-1990

Gerald Goodrich, the fourth senior pastor to serve at Our Saviour's, was Wisconsin-born and bred, having grown up in Beaver Dam and earning his B.S. at UW-Oshkosh. A graduate of Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston IL, he served parishes in Kenosha, Monona and Waterloo WI before what would be his final congregational assignment in Fond du Lac. (After leaving our parish, Pastor Goodrich completed his pastoral career as Chaplain at a Lutheran nursing home and retirement complex in Oconomowoc WI.) Among his many skills as a leader, Pastor Goodrich had a special fondness and talent for music ministry, both within and beyond the local congregation. During his tenure the parish installed a German-built tracker pipe organ to replace the aging and inadequate electronic organ that had been in use since the 1950's.

"Empowering Christ's Family" - Rev. Duane C. (Dewey) Wisner, 1990-2006

The fifth senior pastor of Our Saviour's, Duane "Dewey" Wisner, came to Fond du Lac after having served for 12 years as pastor of a congregation in St. Charles MO. His vision for ministry at Our Saviour's included a strong emphasis on ministry as a partnership between clergy and parishioners. During his tenure, the congregation experienced many challenges and changes, including greatly increased lay participation - from worship leadership to visitation to bereavement ministry and more. A native of northwestern Wisconsin, Pastor Dewey was a licensed pharmacist before entering the seminary, and upon his resignation from his pastorate in this parish, returned to the profession of pharmacy while continuing to live in the area.

Rev. William P. Gruenstern, 2009-2010

Rev. William P. Gruenstern assumed duties as the sixth called pastor of Church of Our Saviour on May 1, 2009. Previously he served congregations in Pennsylvania, followed by Milwaukee and Jackson, Wisconsin, where he served for 12 years. A native of Fond du Lac, Pastor Bill graduated from Marian College of Fond du Lac and Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque IA. He also studied and taught at the Goethe Institut, Schwaebisch-Hall, Germany.During his short stay at Church of Our Saviour, Pastor Bill was appreciated for his exemplary preaching and teaching skills, and dynamic worship leadership. He was active with the Fond du Lac Area Ministerial Association, and was involved in organizing CareINC, an ecumenical collaboration focused on ministering to those in need in our community.

Rev. Robert Rosenberg, 2007-2009; 2010-2012

Pastor Bob Rosenberg served as our full-time supply pastor from August, 2007 through April, 2009, and returned in October, 2010 as full-time pastor under a "term call" until the congregation was ready to again undertake the call process. Pastor Bob was born in Shawano, Wisconsin, and grew up in Appleton WI. He completed his undergraduate work at Wartburg College in Waverly IA and graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque in 1965. After serving parishes in Waubun, MN and Carolyn, WI, he was called to Calvary in Oshkosh where he served for over 30 years before retiring from full-time ministry in 2005. In his most-recent "retirement," he remains in supply ministry with the East Central Synod of Wisconsin, and also continues his long-time service as a Chaplain with the Oshkosh Police Department.

Rev. Matthew Agee, 2012-2019

Pastor Matthew Agee was called to serve of Church of Our Saviour in July 2012. Pr. Agee and his wife Jennifer are both natives of Washington State. They both graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. They now reside in Iowa with their daughter Jane.

Rev. Crystal Lee, 2021-Present
Crystal Lee 2021 photo.jpg

Originally from Missouri, Pastor Crystal grew up attending an ELCA congregation. After graduating from Augustana University with her bachelor's degree, she worked at her home congregation as the Director for Youth and Family Ministry for three years. Pastor Crystal graduated from United Lutheran Seminary (Gettysburg, PA) in 2021. She has enjoyed being with the people at Church of Our Saviour since November 2021. When Pastor Crystal is not busy with church-related things, she enjoys snuggling with her cat, reading a good book, watching TV, and working out. Pastor Crystal is also experiencing the joys that come as a new homeowner. She also enjoys getting to know individuals in the community through conversation or meals.

bottom of page