Our History

Lakeshore United Methodist Church

In 2010, St. Paul United Methodist Church and Wesley United Methodist Church in Manitowoc merged to form Lakeshore United Methodist Church. In 2015, Emanuel United Methodist Church of Two Rivers was invited to join in the merger to make Lakeshore the church it is today. All three of the merged churches had a rich history in our communities and was would like to share their stories with you here.

​​St. Paul United Methodist Church

​St. Paul United Methodist Church was established in 1849 by the Rev. David Lewis. Rev. Lewis built the church's first parsonage with his own hands when not engaged in his pastoral duties. In 1853, Benjamin Jones donated a parcel of land on North 7th Street in Manitowoc as a site for the first church, a small wood fram buillding that cost just over $1,350. In 1910, this original structure was moved to the back of the church lot and a new impressive church was constructed on the site. The original building was attached to the new church to serve as the Sunday School.

By 1958 church membership had outgrown these buildings and it was decided a new structure was needed to meet their needs. Four acres of land was purchased on Reed Avenue and construction began. The first service was held on February 15, 1959. Seven years later, ground was broken for a new educational wing which was completed in 1967. The church underwent one additional alteration when, in 1999 the sanctuary, office, narthex, music and conference room received extensive remodeling.

Over the 161 years St. Paul United Methodist Church was in existence, no less than 61 dedicated and faithful ministers served the church.

Wesley United Methodist Church

Wesley United Methodist Church had its beginnings as the mission church Zion Methodist Church in Newton, Wisconsin. In 1854, Zion Church purchased land in the Village of Manitowoc. The following year, at a cost of $545, they erected a 26 x 40-foot struction to serve as the church.

The Rev. Frank Kluckhohn served as the first pastor to the mission church. The German language was used for all services and records. For many years, Wesley Church was financially supported by Zion, but as membership at Wesley continued to grow, they were able to support themselves. In 1881, the original church building was moved offr the South 9th Street location and the new all brick church was constructed at a cost of $3,450. At around the same time, membership at Zion Church in Newton had decreased to the point that Zion was closed and the two churches joined as one.

Merger diagram

In 1954, an addition to the brick structure was completed to serve as the Fellowship Hall and Sunday School classrooms. In the late 1950s, services were held in the Fellowship Hall as the brick sanctuary was dismantled and a new Sanctuary, office area, and choir room was built in its place, with construction being completed in 1960.

In 1984, the church was remodeled and a new wing was added. In 1990, changes were completed to the building to make it accessible to all by adding a ramp and an elevator, so people could access all levels of the church.

Wesley continued to hold services in German until the 1920s. In its 156 years all but 5 of its 39 ministers were born in Germany or Switzerland.


Emanuel United Methodist Church

Emanuel Church came into being in May 1857 when Wisconsin conference of the Evangelical Church assigned the Right Rev. Peter Held to a Two Rivers mission. Two years later, in July 1857, they dedicated their first church building, a wood frame structure on 19th Street.

In the fall of 1883, a new church was erected at the corner of 13th and Madison Streets at a cost of $3,422. As with other German churches in the area, all services were held in German. That changed in 1927 and the services were then held in English. The 1883 church was used by the congregation until 1930 when the building became structurally unsound. A new brick church was built and dedicated in 1932 at a cost of $65,000. The following year, Emanuel hosted the annual session of the Wisconsin Conference of the Evangelical Church.

In 1946, the Evangelical Church and the United Brethren Church merged. Emanuel took the name of Emanuel Evangelical United Brethren Church. Twenty-two years later, the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged with the Methodist Church and Emanuel then became Emanuel United Methodist Church. Emanuel would continue as it own entity until 2015 when it merged with Lakeshore United Methodist Church.