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.

History of Pastors:

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