A nod to the past
Beloved Community celebrates 170-year history
By Kris Leonhardt
STEVENS POINT – On Dec. 6, the Beloved Community of Intercession Episcopal and Redeemer Lutheran churches celebrated its rich history in the area, which also served as a nod back to the beginning of the Stevens Point community.
The community and the Episcopal Church’s history is so intertwined, that is difficult to tell one without the other.
“In December of 1852, in the Episcopal Church, in the diocese the bishop was Jackson Kemper, and he was the bishop of the Northwest Territory of Wisconsin. And so, A.G. Ellis who had been meeting with some folks doing morning prayer in his house, arranged for Bishop Jackson Kemper to come on Dec. 6, 1852,” explained Rev. Jane Johnson, pastor of the Beloved Community of Intercession Episcopal and Redeemer Lutheran churches.
“He came to what I don’t think it was his house, but it was a building that he owned where people gathered to have communion, and the bishop came and they signed the Constitution.
“And then the following is like the next meeting was Dec. 22, 1852. So basically, the Episcopal Church of the Intercession was founded on Dec. 6, 1852.”
According to The Episcopal Church, Jackson Kemper was consecrated as a missionary bishop in Indiana and Missouri in September of 1835; his area later grew to include Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, and Nebraska.
Albert Gallatin (A.G.) Ellis was granted lay reader and missionary teacher status by the church, and in May 1832, he accompanied the Oneida tribe to a reservation near Green Bay. There, he worked with the tribe as well as the officers at Fort Howard.
With a partner, he began publishing “The Green Bay Intelligencer” – which is now considered the first newspaper in the state of Wisconsin.
He represented the Oneidas in several treaty negotiations with the federal government and was appointed Surveyor-General of the Wisconsin Territory.
In 1848, he came to what was then the village of Stevens Point to assist in the newly-opened U.S. land office. Here, he started “The Wisconsin Pinery” publication.
He also began gathering those of similar faith at his home for religious meetings.
When the number of worshippers began to outweigh the space to accommodate them, services were moved to a schoolhouse.
In December of 1852, Rev. Jackson Kemper came to officially organize the Episcopal Church in the area, with Ellis serving as senior warden.
Continued in an upcoming print edition