Beginning in 1975, a small group of friends gathered to talk about God, faith and church. This small group recognized the need for a progressive Lutheran congregation in the area and began the process of forming a mission start church. With the help of the pastors and people of Faith Lutheran in Valders, WI, this small group turned from meeting and talking to having worship & bible study.
The group gradually moved from meeting in homes, to the Kiel Community Center, to City Hall. In just 4 years, 25 families had joined this worshipping group. By 1979, the "Kiel Area Lutheran Mission" had become large enough to be organized as an official congregation of the American Lutheran Church. The members chose the name "Gloria Dei" from the Latin expression meaning "Glory to God."
The ecumencial ties of the congregation began early on. In 1979 Gloria Dei was invited to share worship space with First Presbyterian Church in Kiel. For 15 years, this unique relationship continued, calling both congregations to be witnesses of God's grace & abundance!
Rev. Tim Thorstenson accepted the call to be the first full-time pastor of Gloria Dei. He served until 1984 and was succeeded, in turn, by Rev. Jeff Hawkins (1985-9187), and Rev. John Horner-Ibler (1988-1997).
In September of 1994, the congregation purchased land along Highway 57, and the current church building was dedicated on January 22, 1995. Until this time, the congregation had received financial assistance from area churches to help this mission church flourish!
In 1998 the American Lutheran Church joined together with the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches to form what is today called the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). Surrounded by communities with multiple churches of other denominations, Gloria Dei, uniquely, is the only ELCA church within 20 miles.
In September, 1997 Rev. Steve Dietzler (1997-2000) served as the successor to Pastor John, followed by Rev. Victoria Simon (2002-2010), Rev. Jennifer Kuhnert (2011-2013),and Pastor Traci Maass (2014-2017).
Throughout this short history, Gloria Dei has been "Called to Make Christ Known" through all that they do. Our worship is vibrant and praise-filled and our hearts are set to serve!