In 1887, Rev. Randolf Polzin of Ward, SD, began to conduct services in the homes of Lutheran families in the Holland, MN, area. Rev. Polzin continued this ministry for approximately two years.
In 1889, Rev. Reinhold Poethke served “The Evangelical Lutheran St. Jacobs Congregation of Fountain Prairie Township (and Grange) in Pipestone County, MN, from Balaton, MN, where he was the first resident pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Services we held in the school house of District #28 northwest of Holland.
In October 1891 a decision was made to begin a congregation and on November 17, 1891 a meeting was held for the purpose of organizing. In 1897 the congregation resolved to build a church building. After erection it was dedicated to the glory of God on November 15, 1897. The total cost of the first church building was $1,190.
St. James was part of a tri-point parish with St. John’s - Lake Benton and Immanuel - Verdi Township, until 1907 when the congregation made the decision to become a self-supporting congregation. In the fall of 1908 a parochial school house was purchased.
In 1919 St. James - Holland parish and St. John’s - Woodstock, MN, were united into one parish. In 1921 due to illness of the pastor, the parochial school was discontinued. Between the years 1923 – 1935, the English language was introduced into the worship services.
In the spring of 1938 the Holland congregation resolved to remodel and enlarge the church building. A basement was dug and the church building was moved onto it. A new tower and front entrance were also added. In the fall of 1938 the church building was rededicated to the Lord’s service. In the fall of 1939, Holland and Woodstock separated as a parish.
At this time the English language was used almost entirely, with the exception of an occasional German language service. In 1943 it was decided to drop the German language except for four communion services per year. Under Rev. Alfred Stoskopf (1945 – 1963), the Holland and Woostock parishes were again united as one parish. A new parsonage was built at a cost of $18,000 and dedicated June 3, 1951.
In September 1957 the congregation began construction of a new educational wing, nave overflow, along with a kitchen and restrooms in the basement. They were dedicated on May 11, 1958. During that same year the name of the church was officially changed to St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church. This is the name that the church had been called since the early 1920’s; however it still had been registered as St. Jacob’s.
In April 1972 the church was redecorated with new pews, a pulpit, cross, altar, baptismal font, and carpet. In 1978 the outside of the church building was resided with steel siding. In 1983 a major remodeling of the front entrance took place. The entrance was turned to the south and a narthex and pastor’s office were added. In 1980 the congregation granted voting rights to women. On August 31, 1997 the final service and decommissioning of the congregation of St. John’s Woodstock, MN, was held.
1887 – 1889 Rev. Rudolph Polzin
1889 – 1897 Rev. Reinhold Poethke
1897 – 1900 Rev. Julius Dammann
1900 – 1907 Rev. G.A. Kuhn
1907 – 1912 Rev. Gustav Th. Albrecht
1912 – 1916 Rev. Reinhold Poethke
1916 – 1919 Rev. H.C.W. Bohnhoff
1919 – 1923 Rev. H. Heilmann
1923 – 1935 Rev. Julius Buelow
1935 – 1939 Rev. Rudolph Steinmeyer
1935 – 1945 Rev. Williasm P. Haak
1945 – 1963 Rev. Alfred J. Stoskopf
1963 – 1966 Rev. Gordon A. Kloehn
1967 – 1971 Rev. Glenn Ray Bitter
1971 – 1975 Rev. Thomas Milke
1975 – 1980 Rev. Kent Schnegelberger
1981 – 2007 Rev. Evan G. Schiller
2007 – 2011 Rev. Adam D. Harvala
2012 – 2016 Rev. Joel L. Sutton
2016 - 2018 Rev. Doug Minton (Vacancy Pastor)
2018- 2018 Rev. Evan G. Schiller (Vacancy Pastor)
2018- Current Rev. David J. Petrich