|Rockdale has the dubious history of being born out of conflict. At the
end of the 19th century, a dispute arose throughout the Lutheran Church
regarding the issue of predestination. This was not a new dispute.
It had been carried on between Lutherans and Reformed since the 1500's.
The dispute essentially was to determine which is more controlling, God's love,
or God's power. This controversy hit the Lutheran Church in the United
States in full force and the Church in Koshkonong was not exempt.
result of the dispute raging through the congregation and between the pastors
themselves, the church split, not in two, but in four. Some of the
families stayed put, some families opened a church across the street from the
then Koshkonong building, others thought that the town of Rockdale was the place
a church should be, and others moved to Cambridge to begin a church. The
original church building in Rockdale was a wood frame structure in the Norwegian
tradition of the 19th century by the cemetery in Rockdale.
After the turn of the century, however, a fire raged through the
building. Responding quickly, the parishioners saved what they could of
their precious worship space. They recovered several treasured items,
including: the bell, the stained glass window, the altar and altar
painting, altar rail, and baptismal font.
The corner stone was also carried to the new site where the
present church building was constructed of block in 1916.
Although the strong Norwegian tradition remains, Rockdale's
family atmosphere and open door has attracted those of many different traditions
and all ages to membership in the congregation. The Church at Rockdale has
overcome its inauspicious beginning through its open door and welcoming
congregation. The motto of the congregation really says it all, "Welcome