Lutheran Church of Madison at Lee's Academy 1950-1955
History of Lutheran Church of Madison at Lee’s Academy (1950-1955)
By Alex Gerrish
Madison Historical Society Intern, Summer 2022
From 1950-1955, Lee’s Academy was the home of the Lutheran Church of Madison (LCM) until their new church was built on Britton Road. There is a lot of information, photos, and news clippings to back this up. All of this was provided in July 2022 by Marcia Rebman and Dorcas Comstock, LCM church historians. The following account is based solely on the copies of documents included in this folder and Marcia’s recounts. Originals in LCM archives.
In 1950, services were held at 10:30am. This is proven by a 1950 photo of the Hausman family. They were Madison summer residents from New Britain. The parents became full time Madison residents and LCM members after retirement. That summer, Andrew Finger served as the pastor. Additionally, Vacation Bible School was held at Lee that year. It was a success- well-attended and enjoyed by all. Finger taught the older children while Clara Schweitzer taught the Primary Department. In the attached news clipping, names of fourteen of the children who attended are listed. Finally, Lee’s Academy was a rain location for LCM’s “Chapel Under The Stars” event. It is unclear whether or not it took place there.
LCM services at Lee continued throughout 1951. In April, they held a Sunday supper and played the movie, “The Life of St. Paul.” For Easter, a Sunrise Service was offered at 7am on Easter Sunday at Lee. Additionally, there was a reunion of 1950’s popular VBS program. The news clipping of the VBS announcement is known by Marcia to be from 1951 because student pastor Alvin Stiner (who was the VBS director that year) was at LCM from summer 1951 to early 1952. A September news clipping contains a baptism announcement. The 1951 holidays were busy at LCM in Lee. LCM held a special Thanksgiving service, Christmas party, and a children’s Christmas program complete with guitar solos and accordion renditions.
1952 brought a January carry-in dinner, a February Senior Bible Class, and a June Confirmation. Finally, a photo is included of the 1952 Sunday school class. As of 2022, three pictured are still members of LCM; two of them are Marcia and Dorcas.
In January 1953, former student pastor Alvin Steiner is referenced to have made a return to Madison. By then, he was regularly teaching in Ohio. Also, there was a Lenten service at Lee advertised in March. In May, there was a Congregation Stewardship School held at Lee’s Academy. August brought the first meeting of the congregation to discuss plans for building a new church, signaling an eventual end of LCM services at Lee. Finally, the annual Christmas Bazaar was held at Lee.
The final documents are undated, but we can guess that they are from 1954-1955. First, there is a copy of two pages of a brochure for the LCM. Page 2 shows a map of where Lee is located. This was definitely 1954 or before. Additionally, there is a news clipping that mentions the church building committee. By this point, plans to build the new church were in motion. Finally, a news clipping recounts the dedication of the new church. The service began at 8 am in Lee’s Academy. Then, worshippers marched across the Green to the church’s new location on Britton Lane. This was, no doubt, the final LCM service held at Lee.
“A Brief History of The Lutheran Church of Madison” 1974 pamphlet was given to MHS in July 2022 by Marcia. For more information, consult attached news clippings and images or LCM.