Google Maps tells me that it’s a little over 100 miles from The Grove, Texas to Serbin, Texas. The drive time today is about one hour and forty-five minutes.
When Carl and William Winkler relocated The Grove around 1870, they didn’t have the benefit of paved roads or automobiles, so it was probably around a five or six day round trip (The Rev. Gotthilf Birkman writes of travelling from Fedor to Copperas Cove– a comparable distance– around the same time, and it took him three days to reach his destination).
That didn’t stop them from making the trip home to Serbin to attend Divine Services when they were able to do so. Still, they certainly longed for a Lutheran congregation a wee bit closer to home.
Starting in 1878 with the Rev. Birkmann, Lutheran pastors began to serve the residents of the area from time to time. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of The Grove was organized in 1886, but it wasn’t until 1896 that the congregation received its first resident pastor.
The present building (pictured) was completed a little over one hundred years ago in 1917.