top of page

History of the Moravian Church in Door County & Sister Bay


In 1847, H.P. Jacobs and several others from the Moravian Diaspora in Denmark arrived at Milwaukee, where they found some 20 or more adults and children from Norway.  As there was no Scandinavian church in the city at that time, these men banded together and conducted services of their own. 

     A young student at the mission school in Norway, A.M. Iverson was contacted and agreed to come to Milwaukee and serve as their pastor. Brother Iverson was authorized to organize this congregation as the first Scandinavian Moravian Church in America in 1849.  


In the fall of 1850, the church membership arrived at their new home, Fort Howard (now the west side of Green Bay), Wisconsin, where a tract of land had been acquired. Before long, a portion of the congregation journeyed to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and the remaining, larger group established themselves on Eagle Island under the leadership of Rev. Iverson.  This was May 1853, and before autumn of the same year, sufficient log cabins had been completed to permit the group of 27 communicant members to move to the mainland.  The new settlement took the name of Ephraim. 

      In 1895, it was determined that there were sufficient numbers to form a congregation in Sister Bay, north of Ephraim. The Rev. John Greenfield, then minister at Ephraim and preaching at other locations in Northern Door County, wrote, "The audiences at our services in Sister Bay were large, the English service especially well attended.  A log church owned by a congregation of free Baptists, being offered for sale, a number of members and friends united to purchase the building, as we had no regular place for holding our services in Sister Bay." The response to the financial needs of the congregation was such that the pastor could report at the first annual Church Council in 1897 that "we had not only bought a meeting house but also thoroughly repaired it." About $200 was received, not including free labor.


     In 1996, celebrating their 100th anniversary, the congregation voted to add a new Fellowship Hall, handicapped bathrooms, a new kitchen and pastor's study.  In 2000 came the second phase, renovating the sanctuary and narthex.

    In 2016, the 120th anniversary of the church, current pastor Rev. Kerry Krauss led the celebration of a "mortgage burning."   

PHOTO: Villano

bottom of page