St. John church to kick off 125th

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Gina Duwe
Thursday, February 13, 2014

JANESVILLE--Bud Schwartzlow didn't think his family video would end up being featured with his church family Sunday.

The former Janesville restaurant owner had filmed for his family the deconstruction of the old St. John Lutheran Church in downtown and the construction of the new church in 1964 and 1965.

Schwartzlow, 95, edited the video to add narration to the silent film, and the video will kick off the church's yearlong 125th celebration Sunday.

The church building at 302 N. Parker Drive is the third building at that location, the Rev. Bond Haldeman said. The church started in a house that was renovated into a worship space.

When the congregation considered how to accommodate its growth more than 50 years ago, it had the opportunity to move to the edge of town, now the area around the Janesville Mall. Members decided to stay downtown.

“I think that has served (us) well,” Haldeman said. “It's been good for the community to be here.”

The first building was torn down in 1913 and replaced, and razing of the second building started in 1964. Worship services were held in the Myers Theater down the street while the current building was under construction. It opened in 1965.

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