St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hamel, IL was established in 1856 and since the day of its inception, the church has valued the mission of educating its young people in the Holy Scriptures and the joys of a life of faith in Jesus and His Word. For over 160 years, we have maintained a strong tradition of offering Christian education as a free gift to all members of the parish.
A Christian day school was conducted by the first pastors and classes were initially held in the parsonage. In 1863, the school had grown enough that the congregation decided to call a teacher to help the pastors, at which time a separate school building was built. The congregation experienced much growth during the next 10 years, and due to the increase in the number of school children, it was resolved to open an additional school in Hamel, which operated from 1871 until 1907.
Because the parishioners were German, the German language was a prominent part of education at St. Paul’s; religion was instructed in German until 1932. Albert Brandt, a former student of St. Paul’s Lutheran School, wrote a story of his memories of the school and parish life from the early 20th century. He wrote:
“School opened daily with a greeting, ‘Good morning, dear teacher’ in German - ‘Guten morgan, Herr Laerer (sic).’ Luther’s Small Catechism and the Bible were basically taught in the German language. All Bible study was in German… only and none in English. …We did receive a good Christian education and I am thankful for that. … At the end of the school day at St. Paul’s we would sing, ‘God be with you til we meet again,’
And I would like to leave you with one last thought. …Did you ever ask yourself the question, ‘Who am I? What am I doing here? What is the purpose of my life or existence? You are you and I am I. God’s purpose for putting you and I in this world is to win souls for Christ. May God be with you til we all meet again.’”