Between Bay City and Freeland, German missionary Pastor Ferdinand Sievers organized St. John Church in June 1852 to serve a colony of German migrants, some fleeing the turmoil that followed the European revolutions of 1848. Initially, the church met in a log cabin that once housed recent arrivals to the colony of Amelith. In 1870 a wood-frame Gothic style church was built. The present structure was completed in 1912. Schools run by the church began in 1853 with instruction in German surviving until World War I. Some church services continued in German until 1979. During World War II, German prisoners housed at Freeland Camp were ministered to by St. John Lutheran. An addition to the church was completed in 1997.
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