The History of Rhinelander
GRACE FROM THE BEGINNING
It was God’s grace, pure and simple, on that balmy June night of 1932, that led two young women evangelists, Rev. Miss Betty Bradigan and her helper, Miss Katherine Hendrickson to the downtown streets of Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
The country was in the throes of the Great Depression. The National Church of the Foursquare Gospel itself was a fledgling organization. In the greater Los Angeles area, where it was headquartered, they had begun to draw great attention and respect, as hundreds came day after day to the soup kitchens of Angelus Temple to receive nourishment. However, up here in northern Wisconsin, that kind of news, even if it was heard, went unnoticed. Betty Bradigan had been influenced by the ministry of Foursquare’s founder, Aimee Semple McPherson, and being full of the Holy Spirit and determination, had set out to preach the gospel and plant full gospel churches wherever God’s grace led her. That night, like many before in other towns, it was grace that held Betty and Katherine to that street corner amid jeers and protests, and of course, much curiosity. Accompanied by an old accordion, they shared in melodious strains the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the love of God.
“There wasn’t any special reason for my coming to Rhinelander. I had started a church in Beaver Dam, one in Clintonville, and one in Ashland; then saw that Rhinelander had no full Gospel Church and headed for it. Katherine Hendrickson was one of our Ashland converts and she accompanied me. Those were the days of faith! I don’t believe we had $15.00 between us. We rented a room right near the railroad station. We had enough money to get a few posters made. We found Howe’s Hall. The Howe’s were very kind and we later rented a cabin from them. Katherine and I, with a paint bucket and a couple of paintbrushes, walked for miles and painted every big rock in sight. We invited everyone to come to Howe’s Hall. We held street meetings…just the two of us (and the Lord)…and we always managed to get a crowd.”
- Rev. Betty Bradigan (from a letter she wrote for 25th Anniversary)
To read more about our local church check out our 75th anniversary historical document that was compiled.
SENIOR PASTORAL LEADERSHIP
Rev. Betty Bradigan & Miss Katherine Hendrickson : Founders (June 1932)
Rev. William Stoval
Rev. and Mrs. George Grant
Rev. Ed and Maxine Sorenson
Rev. and Mrs. Guiliams : November 1933 Chartered Church
Rev. O.R. Streepy (1934-1936) : purchased church lot for $600
Rev. and Mrs. M.R. Evans (1936-Jan 1950) : Davenport church built 1941
Rev. Lynn and Mrs. Charter
Rev and Mrs. Vernon Robinson
Rev. and Mrs. Leland Brown
Rev. and Mrs. Franklin Brown (1953-1958)
Rev. and Mrs. Herman Rosenberger (1958—1962)
Rev. and Mrs. Allan Anderson (1962-1965)
Rev. Robert and Betty Anderson (1965-1995) Current church built 1977
Rev. Bob and LuAnn Messerli (1995-2013) Family Life Center built 1998
Rev. Joseph and Rev. Christy Fehlen (2013-Present)