About EUCC

    The heritage of Evangelical United Church Of Christ began in 1836 when the Reverend Joseph Rieger came to Alton from the Basel Missionary Society in Switzerland to meet with German Protestants who had come to America to start a new life and to encourage them to become a church.  On February 1, 1850, the German Evangelical Church was organized with the Reverend C. E. Zobel as its first pastor.  In 1851 it was agreed that a sanctuary should be erected and immediate plans were made for the corner of Eighth and Henry Streets in Alton.  The building was completed in 1852.  Following the erection of the 1852 sanctuary, a school building was built on Eighth Street.  The parochial school continued until 1901 or 1902.

    In 1903 it was decided that a new and larger building was needed and on January 3, 1904, plans were approved for a new sanctuary at the same location.  The second home of the German Evangelical Church was dedicated in the year 1905.  Rapid growth took place during the 37-year pastorate of the Reverend Otto W. Heggemeier, D. D., (1916-1953) so that by the time of the centennial observances the membership of the congregation had reached 893 communicant members with 318 enrolled in the church school.  In 1934, The Evangelical Synod Of North America and The Reformed Church In The United States entered into a merger to become the Evangelical and Reformed Church. 

    Following its centennial observances, the congregation began to consider the construction of a third and larger sanctuary.  Because of the deep affection for the Eighth and Henry Street location, to which the congregation traces its beginnings, considerable thought was given to the question of remodeling the 1904 building or removing it and building a third sanctuary in its place. 

   The Reverend Leonard F. Todd (1953-1961) was pastor during the time these important considerations were underway.  It was also during this period that the merger between the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches was finally accomplished (1957).  Shortly after the arrival of the Reverend Charles L. Stevens (1961-1968) as pastor, a planning committee was appointed and it struggled to find a way to build a new and larger sanctuary on the property Evangelical Church had called “home” for over one hundred years.  Finally the recommendation was made to relocate and by January of the following year (1964) the present 20-acre site was purchased and plans were begun for fundraising and architectural design.

     Groundbreaking ceremonies took place on July 17, 1966.  The cornerstone for the present building was laid on July 25, 1967.  The congregation entered its new sanctuary on Palm Sunday - April 7, 1968 - for the opening services.  The dedicatory services followed soon thereafter on May 26, 1968. With the process of relocating and rebuilding completed, the congregation turned its eyes to the community in response to the challenge of our Statement of Faith: “He calls us to be his servants in the service of others.”  In 1972, the part-time position of Director of  Social Services was established.  For the first 10 years the position was held by Elizabeth Venardos in a volunteer capacity.  It became a paid position at Elizabeth’s retirement in 1980.  She was succeeded by Marjorie Baker, Helen Austin, Rosalee Johnson and Charlotte Williamson, in that order.  Since 1972, hundreds of thousands of meals have gone out to the community through our Meals-On-Wheels program, to say nothing of the other social services rendered throughout the congregation and community.

    In the fall of 1970, Evangelical School For The Young Years, our pre-school, opened under the direction of Marydel Frohne.  She was succeeded by Patricia Flippo, who in turn was succeeded by Kay Mawhorter who served for two years after which Mrs. Flippo resumed the directorate.  Mrs. Flippo was then succeeded by Judy Kulp.  Today, under the direction of Barbara Jutting, our pre-school is recognized throughout the community for its excellence and its ability to assess special needs in the lives of its children.  In the fall of 1981, Evangelical Elementary School was opened with a kindergarten and a first grade class with Patricia Flippo as Principal.  Mrs. Flippo  was succeeded by Judy Kulp, who just recently after nine years as Principal.  Today, classes through the eighth grade are conducted with an enrollment of over 250 students under the direction of Barbara Jutting.  This school, too, is noted for its excellence and the fine preparedness of its graduates.

    With the opening of the Elementary School, together with an expanding Sunday School, space requirements led to the construction of the west wing with its classrooms, library and chapel, fulfilling the original drawings of the church building from the 1960’s of an east and a west wing.  That building was dedicated on May 23, 1983.

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