St Peters UCC Grant Park, IL
 

 

 

 

A SUMMARY OF THE HISTORY OF
 
ST. PETERS UNITED CHURCH OF C
HRIST



 
Summarized from the 1870 – 1970 Centennial Celebration Booklet

· April, 1870 - Organized our church as the German United Evangelical
    St. Peter’s  Congregation in Sumner, Kankakee County, IL

· Sep 26 1870 – Heusing family gave 2 acres of land for a cemetery.

o Dedicated as Heusing Cemetery on Oct 20, 1870

· Jan, 1872 – Plans for building the first church made

o In the next few years there was a split in the congregation

· May 19, 1878 – Reorganized as the German Evangelical St. Peter’s Society

o Built first church on land donated by CC Campbell located on the corner 
of Stanley and Curtis

o Construction was completed Mar 2, 1879 at a cost of $1,076

· 1881 – the first parsonage built in fall

· July 12, 1887, 8 women became charter members

· 1890 - Schoolhouse built next to church (18 x 24 x12 high)

o Church bell purchased for $155

o Bell rung every Sat evening for over 80 years

· 1891 – first body brought inside the church for a funeral

· 1895 church celebrated its 25th anniversary

· 1899 church debt paid

· Sunday, Apr 21, 1912 a tornado struck GP

o Destroyed the church and school.

o Left altar and Bible untouched. Bible open to Romans 10:8-15

§ Theme read, "One great prize of God’s love is our pilgrimage of our faith."

· Congregation decided to rebuild a new church at the current location (vote of 42 to 2)

o Original vote was to build the church of all brick

§ Some controversy over the vote

§ 5 weeks later, 2nd vote taken. (frame building w/ brick veneer)

§ Cost - $8,914.76 without furnishings

· March 2, 1913 - New church dedicated

o 2 services held in German at 10:00 am & 2:00 pm. 1 evening service in English

o Parsonage built beside the church for $4,327.76

o Old parsonage sold to Mr. & Mrs. Edwin Heldt

· Rev. Arno Zimmerman became pastor on Apr 19, 1914

o First minister with a car so a garage was built

· 1914 –

o German language still used for most services

o Fees for funeral services preached in English were higher than in German

o Men’s Brotherhood (Churchman’s League) and the "Evangelical League (Youth)."

· 1915 – Tabitha Sewing Circle formed

· Sep 19, 1920 – 50th anniversary celebrated

o Services were held during the morning, afternoon, and evening

· 1920s – 1930s saw many changes

o Use of the English language became the more dominant. Tension surrounded this change

§ 1921 – part of the confirmation class confirmed in English, part in German

§ 1923 – first class instructed & confirmed in English.

o Hitching posts were removed from the church cemetery

o City water was installed on the church properties

o Church constitution written in both German and English (1930

§ 1930 – church records written only in English

· 1931 – envelope system adopted for the collection of monies


· 1934- Evangelical Synod of North America merged with the Reformed Church

o St. Peter’s renamed, "St. Peter’s Evangelical & Reformed Church.

· 1936 – Occasional German worship services were held. Gradually discontinued

· 1938 – Cemetery Assn of the St. Peter’s Evan & Reformed Church of GP formed

· 1940s –

o Installation of some stained glass windows and the renovation of the church basement

· Apr 15 - 22, 1945 – Week long Diamond Jubilee Celebration and the rededication of St. Peter’s.

· 1950s –

o Additional stained glass windows added

o Another acre was purchased for Heusing Cemetery

o 1956 – new fence put around the entire cemetery

o Lighted bulletin board installed

o Plans started to remodel the kitchen and church

· 1957 – United Church of Christ created with merger of Congregational Christian Church and the Evangelical and Reformed Church

o All E&R churches became UCC

o Congregational Christian churches voted on the issue

· 1959 – Pew communion was introduced to the congregation

· 1960s –

o New entryways to the church

o Land south of the parsonage was leveled and made into a lighted, asphalt parking lot

o 1964 - Hanging of the Greens ; first church newsletter "The Keys"

o 1966 - Christmas Eve candlelight service,

o 1967 - 2 Easter services introduced

o 2 parcels of land were purchases south of the parking lot

o Choir loft erected in the NE corner of the sanctuary

o Mrs. Ruth Schneider hired as our first church secretary

o Pictorial directory was made

· 1970 – celebrated 100th anniversary with 4 Sundays of centennial events

· 1974 – Christian Education addition was finished

· 1980s – New Allen electric organ and chair lift purchased with Memorial funds

· 1985 – 1986 – Sanctuary renovation done. Dedicated Jun 28, 1986

· 1992 – Fellowship Hall and kitchen renovations completed

· 1999 – new roof put on the church

· 2001 – renovations done in the parsonage

· 2004 – new hymnals purchased

· 2007 – restoration and recovering of the stained glass windows completed

· 2010 – restoration of the bell tower

During the first 100 years (1870 – 1970) we had: 1,193 baptisms 845 confirmations 327 marriages 555 burials Church membership was 388 in 1970