About Our Church

St. Paul's Church was founded in 1885 by Reverend A. Moussa who was the first pastor. We are a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod or WELS for short. Our historic church is situated on 313 4th Street in beautiful Manistee, Michigan and is a great and beautiful place to worship. It is the only WELS church in Manistee and Benzie Counties. Our building has stood for over 100 years and has been well maintained with many improvements made over the years. Our community of parishioners are friendly and welcoming. We would love to have you join our church.


What We Believe

Christ’s love, which he demonstrated by his perfect life and by his suffering and death on the cross, is the foundation for our relationship with God, the focus of our faith, and the motivation for all we do as Christians. In that same love for sinners Christ not only lived and died to set us free from sin and guilt, but he also rose again in victory on the first Easter Sunday, assuring us that his victory is our victory and that his resurrection is our resurrection. Saved by his grace alone, we look forward to his glorious return as we proclaim the good news of what his love has accomplished. If you'd like to learn more, you can go to wels.net or whataboutjesus.com. Click the buttons below to go there now.


Who We Are

Pastor Schmeling and his wife Martha

Pastor Schmeling and his wife Martha

Rev. James Schmeling - Pastor

Pastor Schmeling is a WELS Lutheran Pastor that has been serving St. Paul's Lutheran Church for two and a half years. His father is also a WELS Lutheran Pastor. He grew up until 8th grade straight across Lake Michigan at Two Rivers, Wisconsin after which he moved to Louisiana, Nebraska, Arkansas and California when his father accepted calls to start or serve churches there. He graduated from the Northwestern Preparatory High School in Wisconsin, moved on to getting a degree from the Northwestern College in Wisconsin and later graduated from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. 

Before coming to St. Paul's in Manistee, Pastor Schmeling has been pastor for 12 years at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Stratford, Wisconsin, 12 years at Grace Lutheran Church in Mosinee, Wisconsin, and 15 years at Faith Lutheran Church in Monroe, Michigan. He is married to Martha, the granddaughter of Manistee's Alice Ramsdell and they have 6 children and 5 grandchildren.

What makes Pastor Schmeling different from every other pastor in the area, is his theological training in the original Biblical languages. In college and Seminary he studied 8 years of Greek, the language of the New Testament, and 6 years of Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament. He continues studying monthly with a group of other WELS pastors in our "circuit" and with summer classes at the Seminary. Pastor Schmeling is able to study what God said in the original languages, so he is able to preach and teach with the sure confidence: "This is what God says."