Who We Are

St. Mark's Ev. Lutheran Church is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA), bound by a belief, faith and trust in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a Bible-inspired community of caring people, baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity.

Our Sunday school serves nursery age through ninth grade, and we also have an adult forum from September through May. Both meet before the Sunday service. We hold a church picnic in June and present an advent pageant, Hanging of the Greens, in December. These have become community events.

We have gained some reknown in the community because of our musical talent. We are very proud of our Cathedral Choir, Brass Ensemble, and our Handbell Choir.

Throughout the years, St. Mark's has reached out to others. Besides the missions of the ELCA, we participate in Cudahy-St. Francis Interfaith Older Adult Programs, Project Concern of Cudahy-St. Francis, Unity Soup Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International Project, Crop Walk, Hope House, Crossways Camp, Luther Manor, Lutheran Social Services, and Lutheran World Relief.

There are a number of other opportunities for fellowship for all members, including a quarterly game night for families.


In 1928, Rev. Gottfried Kempf organized a mission church for the Wartburg Synod of the United Lutheran Church of America. The patrons of Fischer's Barber Shop (his first stop) at 4755 South Packard Avenue in Cudahy welcomed the prospect of a new Lutheran church in the city.

The first service was held on January 22, 1928, at Kleineider Hall, 4670 South Packard Avenue. This is currently a bank parking lot. After a few Sundays, the Albert Stresing family invited the congregation to worship at their home at 3806 East Van Norman Avenue. "The pleasant environment helped the growth of the congregation," Pastor Kempf reported. There was a Sunday School, too, positioned all over the house, even on the stairway. In October, the Women's Missionary Society started and, in 1932, the Women's Christian Circle began. The women's groups have since merged as Women of the ELCA.

A bungalow church at our present site, 3515 East Van Norman Avenue, was dedicated May 12, 1929. Pastor Kempf left the next year to organize Unity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bay View. On June 2, 1932, twelve families from Dr. Martin Luther Church, A Slovak congregation at the southwest corner of Barnard and Packard Avenues, joined our fellowship. Families from Christus Evangelical Church also joined in the 1930s.

Cornerstone laying ceremonies for our present church building were held on Sunday, October 21, 1956. Around 1970, for the first time, children were permitted to receive first communion with their parents. In 1982, the lower level of the church was remodeled, creating seven classrooms with movable panels and carpeting. A Moeller pipe organ was installed in 1986 and outside lighting was added to beautify the church. The sanctuary was remodeled, offices were relocated, and a church library was created in 1991. A new sound system was installed in 1997 and air conditioning was added for the summer of 2003.

With many thanks, St. Mark's remembers those pastors who have laid the stepping stones for generations to come.

Gottfried Kempf, 1928-1930
M.H. Harder, 1930-1931
LeRoy Weihe, 1931-1937
George Overdier, 1937-1942
Paul Valentiner, 1942-1948
Walter E. Koepf, 1948-1966
Harvey Hanson, 1966-1968
Dale Franson, 1968-1969

Thomas Koening, 1969-1987
Paul Sorensen, 1987-2001
Dean Willich (Interim Pastor), 2001-2003
Bruce Cheever, 2003-2010
Mark Thompson (Interim Pastor), 2010 - 2011
Clifford Hanus, 2011-2015
Steven Zittergruen (Interim Pastor), 2016
Ronald Ballew (Interim Pastor), current