All across Wisconsin there are small, carefully preserved churches, which were built by the first immigrants to the state and maintained by dedicated individuals, families, historical societies, and cemetery associations who have a long history with the building. Many of these churches were the first of their respective denomination and in a number of cases the last remnant of that faith tradition. While some of these locations have national historic status, and some are recognized by their counties’ historical societies, many are without any formal recognition and have little or no web presence. Each church offers insight into the faith traditions of generations past, as well the role of the church in the Wisconsin immigrant experience.
Author Michael J. Cooney is a lively and entertaining speaker who loves the subject and brings energy and insight from his years of researching pioneer churches through the state. Adapted and localized for each audience, his presentation includes colorful, informative, and inspiring stories that offer insight into the role of the pioneer church in the settlement of Wisconsin. Far from boring, while there may be some references to "praying, singing and preaching" there will also be "fighting, heresy, and struggles of all kinds,” as well as stories of selfless service and deep faith.