Beginning in 1848, the St. Paul Evangelical Church began its service to the Columbia community. Its original membership consisted of protestant German immigrants, therefore all services and educational opportunities were held in the German language. The church officially joined the Evangelical Synod of North America in 1879 and in 1919, the church began to conduct Sunday School and Church Services in the English language.
In 1934, the Evangelical Synod of North America and the Reformed Church in the United States formed the Evangelical and Reformed Church. This union maintained that "each denomination exists not for itself but as an agency for the advancement of the kingdom of God" and that in the proposed union, "the essential principles of the Christian faith and life, common to all, would not only be conserved but would also be more effectively applied" toward that end. This was also an era of growth for St. Paul, now Evangelical and Reformed Church in Columbia. The Rev. Gerhard A. Friz was installed as pastor in 1939 and served our congregation for over 28 years. In August of 1958, the Rev. Norman H. Rahmoeller was installed as co-pastor with Rev. Friz. With the merger agreement of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and many of the congregations of the Congregational Christian Churches in 1957, and the adoption of the constitution of the United Church of Christ in July of 1961, St. Paul officially became St. Paul United Church of Christ at its annual meeting in January of 1962.
The congregation continued its growth throughout the next 25 years. In 1968, the church dedicated its new Lily Bolm Memorial Education Building which continues to serve us today. In January of 1977, the congregation organized a new ministry to meet a growing need in the Columbia area: Little Friends Preschool. It began operation on a one-semester trial basis and has faithfully served the Columbia community ever since.
The St. Paul congregation here in Columbia continues to have a great influence in our community and beyond. We give our time and talent to many organizations on a local, national and world-wide scope. You can read more about those organizations here. With all of the ministry we do for others, as the command of Jesus. the continuing center of ministry that feeds us all is worship, study, prayer and fellowship. We are blessed with diverse groups which help in the leadership of all of these areas. God's work can be seen all around us.
St. Paul United Church of Christ in Columbia, Illinois, having come out of this rich tradition of Protestant Christianity which proclaims that the things that unite us are far more important than the things which divide us, is ready to enter this new era. From our roots in Germany where churches of both Lutheran and Reformed traditions combined through a series of smaller mergers over the years, to the formation of the United Church of Christ in 1957, we have continued our understanding that what we have in common is far more important than what divides us.
We ask for God to continue to bless the ministry we share as St. Paul United Church of Christ: 175 years and counting.
St. Paul United Church of Christ 127 St. Paul Street Columbia, IL 62236 Phone: (618)281-5102 www.stpaulcolumbia.org