Our History

Mount Olive Lutheran Church History

  • 1941 First service on Easter Sunday, April 13, in the living room of private home on the corner of Holly Avenue and Mineral Point Road. Thirteen attend. 
  • 1942 Harold Heuberger is installed at first pastor on July 12. Congregation formally organizes. Sunday School begins. 
  • 1943 Congregation purchases land at Mineral Point Road and Westmoreland Boulevard. 
  • 1945 First confirmation class meets in Calvary Student Chapel on State Street. Seven members attend. 
  • 1946 Church begins offering two Sunday services to relieve crowding. church officemolconline.org_20150413_103255_001 2Groundbreakingceremony for new building is on July 6. A parsonage is purchased at 4125 Euclid Avenue. 
  • 1947 First worship service in new building at 4018 Mineral Point Road is held in the unfinished basement.
  • 1949 Pastor Neuberger accepts a call to Milwaukee. William Rohlwing accepts a call to be Pastor at Mount Olive.
  • 1954 Adult bible study class meets for the first time.
  • 1957 Congregation meets in Hoyt Park for an outdoor worship service.
  • 1960 New parsonage is purchased at 4014 Mineral Point Road.
  • 1962 Groundbreaking ceremony for new, larger building. Last service held in original church is November 24. First service in new church is December 2 in the basement Fellowship Hall.
  • 1963 Church building is dedicated during two worship services, March 31 and April 7.
  • 1964 Midweek Christian Education program, Chapel School, starts.
  • 1966 Bernard H. Arkebauer is installed as Director of Christian Education and Music.
  • 1968 Moller pipe organ is installed and dedicated.
  • 1970 Communion schedule is changed to be either at early or late service on alternate Sundays.
  • 1974 Building added new offices upstairs and Luther Room on lower level. Horst William Jordan is installed as Associate Pastor.
  • 1976 Mount Olive celebrates 35th anniversary.
  • 1977 Phyllis Weiderhoeft is installed as Director of Education, Youth, and Music.
  • 1978 Pastor Jordan leaves Mount Olive to accept a call to Sheboygan.
  • 1980 Larry Thies is installed as Assistant Pastor.
  • 1982 Pastor Rohlwing retires. Pastor Thies is installed as Senior Pastor.
  • 1984 Phyllis Wiederhoeft resigns as Director of Education, Youth, and Music.  Linda Krueger is hired as Church Organist and later becomes Director of Music. Bernard H.Arekebauer dies and a garden is created in his memory. James Knuth is installed as Pastor.
  • 1986 The church sponsors missionaries John and Jeannette Eggert in Papua, New Guinea.
  • 1987 Mount Olive Christian Preschool opens under the direction of Janelle Tonsager.
  • 1989 Bonnie Broderick is installed as Christian Counselor and has office hours at Mount Olive. Robert Boehler is installed as Pastor, following the resignation of Pastor Knuth.
  • 1991 Mount Olive celebrates their 50th anniversary. The Voter’s Assembly initiates an expansion project to create new classrooms and an office wing.
  • 1993 Groundbreaking ceremony for education/office addition. House at 333 Westmoreland Boulevard is moved to prepare for construction. New building adds 11,400 square feet and is dedicated December 5, 1993.
  • 1994 Mount Olive begins practice of 5th grade communion.
  • 1997 First youth servant event to Mexico. Todd Clark begins a year of internship as Director of Christian Education.
  • 1999 Dan Freiburger is hired as Coordinator of Youth Ministry.
  • 2003 A call is extended to Janelle Tonsager to be Preschool Director.
  • 2004 Dan Frieburger resigns as Youth Coordinator. Tina Thompson is hired as Coordinator of Youth Ministry.
  • 2005 Jill Emmons begins the first Parish Nurse program at Mount Olive. Wheels to Worship, a member service that provides cab rides to worship, begins. Pastor Boehler accepts a call to Concordia University, Bronxville, New York.
  • 2006 Tina Thompson resigns as Youth Coordinator.
  • 2007 Jill Emmons resigns as Parish Nurse. Pastor Thies retires. Robert Degner accepts call to Intentional Interim Minister at Mount Olive.
  • 2008 After looking at many building options, Mount Olive congregation decides to make an offer to purchase the property at 110 North Whitney Way. Offer is accepted. Karen Marshall is hired and later resigns as Parish Nurse.
  • 2009 Pastor Jason Zobel is installed on August 16. Congregation has final worship service at 4018 Mineral Point Road on September 20. The following Sunday, led by the cross, members and friends walk together to their new church home at 110 North Whitney Way. Dedication service and celebration occurs throughout the day.
  • 2011 Ben Ahlersmeyer is installed as Vicar at Mount Olive.
  • 2013 Daniel Anderson is installed as Vicar at Mount Olive.
  • 2015 Daniel Anderson is installed as SMP Pastor (to Calvary Lutheran Chapel) at Mount Olive.
  • 2016 Mount Olive celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
  • 2016 Daryl Lohmeyer is installed as Family Life Director at Mount Olive.

Chapel School and LOGOS History


In the early 1960’s, the parents of Mount Olive children decided to start a mid-week education program at Mount Olive for children in grades 1-8. The reasons for doing so included the fact that there was no Lutheran day school in Madison and the desire for more in-depth study of the bible and Lutheran doctrine to supplement what was taught on Sunday morning. This program was called “Chapel School” and met on Tuesday evenings from 4-7 pm. Mount Olive’s children came from so many different schools so they didn’t know each other as well as they would have had they attended school together. Therefore, Chapel School allowed time to build fellowship to foster Christian friendships. This is the reason that a meal was provided as part of Chapel School, so there would be time for fellowship. Over time, the children formed friendships at Mount Olive and looked forward to coming to church because that’s where their friends were. From the beginning, the parents and leaders had a commitment to nurturing their children’s faith and relationships with other Christians.

From the start, the classes were taught by certified teaching staff “to insure quality education in our Chapel School with a minimum of supervision.” Each teacher was paid a salary established by the Board of Education and evaluations of staff were conducted annually. Mr. Arkebauer, DCE at Mount Olive said “we will hire you (the teacher) so we can fire you”. Staff positions were a teacher for each grade level, the Pastor, music director/teacher, cook and kitchen help (paid), and a Superintendent. There were mandatory in-services for the staff twice a year.


Chapel School began in September and ended in May each year. Each Tuesday night, the children would arrive and spend their time studying the bible and Lutheran doctrine 1.75 hours, eating dinner and building friendships .50 hour, and singing .75 hours. Parent responsibilities included getting their children to church and providing desserts for the meal.

The curriculum was mostly from Concordia Publishing House. Instruction in the catechism and preparation for confirmation and first communion were part of the curriculum. Every other year the Reformation was a focus area with a special curriculum studied for the first 6 weeks in the fall. Memory work was assigned for each class, following a scope and sequence of memory work expectations created by the Board of Education. Twice each year, students were evaluated, grades were given in a report card and parent teacher conferences were held.


Each year a musical was presented for the congregation on a Sunday morning during the second semester. The Chapel School children sang in church one Sunday a month. Each participant in Chapel School paid a fee to cover the cost of dinner and the curriculum materials. There was a family rate offered.


Each class prepared and led worship once during the year. This service was called a “closing service” and was held during the last 20 minutes of class. These services occurred during Reformation, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Lent, and at the end of the Chapel School year.


Enrollment in Chapel School was from 40-80 children.


In the fall of 1994, a Family Education Night Committee was formed to study the possibility of expanding Mount Olive’s existing weekday Chapel School program to include Christian education for all ages. In addition to education for children in grades 1-8, this committee looked at including bible study for adults and youth/senior high students, childcare for preschoolers, a meal, and optional worship service. After studying this option it was decided to implement this Family Education night and to change the night from Tuesday to Wednesday to better align with other church and school activities in the community.

In September of 1995, Mount Olive launched a new initiative called Family Education night. The program of religious instruction for children in grades 1-8 was called LOGOS, a national program of midweek religious education. As the developers of the program state, “LOGOS is a disciplined, structured program of midweek Christian education that emphasizes relationships and commitment. The LOGOS program strives to identify the needs of today’s children and youth, and addresses those needs by bringing the family and church together in the ministry of Christian nurture.” These values are the same as those that were the impetus for starting Chapel School over 30 years ago.

LOGOS is based on Acts 2:42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers”. LOGOS then has four parts: bible study, fellowship/recreation time, a meal, and worship skills. LOGOS is a Greek word that means The Word, the words of God in the bible and Jesus as God’s word to us.  Several teachers attended a national LOGOS conference to learn more how LOGOS could work at Mount Olive. LOGOS started on Wednesday nights, beginning at 4 and ending at 6:45 pm. During this time the children received instruction in the bible and Lutheran doctrine (1.5 hour), meal time (.50 hour), recreation time (.25 hour) and music (.50 hour). The dinner time included a theme for the day with table decorations to match the theme and dinner activities led by a dinner dean. Students were assigned to tables and a “table parent” was there every week to foster relationships. Parents were needed to set tables, make table decorations, be table parents, clean tables, provide desserts, and sit with the LOGOS choir when they sang in church once per month on Sunday mornings.

The curriculum was from LOGOS Systems called “Faith for Life”. Memory work was decided and assigned by the teacher. Staff remained the same as with chapel school with a LOGOS superintendent, grade level teachers, music teacher/director, chef and kitchen help, but the teaching staff was not necessarily certified teachers. Beginning in 1996, music time included hand chimes for the 7th grade class and hand bells for the 8th grade class. A musical was presented each spring. Closing worship services led by different classes of students were held less frequently, 3-4 times per year.


In the 1970-80’s there was an individual confirmation program developed and overseen by the Director of Christian Education . The students met on the same night and time as Chapel School. There were teacher/facilitators as well as Pastoral leadership and participation. Students worked on packets on their own. Confirmation was held the first Sunday in May. The program was abandoned as students were not able to be self directed and were not completing requirements at the age deemed appropriate for Confirmation. Confirmation then became a Pastor led program. There were times that teachers helped the Pastor’s with the program.


In 1993 a Confirmation Study Committee met under the leadership of Pastor Robert Boehler. A report and recommendations were presented to the congregation in September of 1993. The Rite of Confirmation remained at the 8th grade level.


In the 1990’s, the Board of Education started the practice of giving the 3rd graders a Bible at the start of each year of Sunday School. 5th grade students received a Small Luther’s Catechism. Confirmands ( 8th graders)received Luther’s Book of Prayer.


In the 1998-1999 school year, a short common closing service began. Five minutes prior to the end of LOGOS, all the children and staff would assemble in the narthex. An opening litany was said by the closing service student leaders, a song was sung and the night concluded with praying Luther’s Evening Prayer together. This common closing service ended the practice of closing worship services held in the nave 5-6 times per year.


In 2001, the starting and ending time of LOGOS was changed to 4:30-7:00 pm to allow students and parents more time to get from school to church. A recreation director was hired to organize games and recreation time for the students and less time was spent on dinner activities.


Between 2001-today, LOGOS has retained the philosophy of teaching the children of Mount Olive about the love of Jesus, bible concepts and Lutheran doctrine. Building fellowship and relationships remain a key component. Praising God in music continues. To God Be the Glory!


© 2017 Mount Olive Lutheran Church
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