Congregational, Evangelical, UCC

The United Church of Christ was formed in 1957 by a merger of the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. The origins of these Protestant denominations are in the Reformation, which resulted in the formation of three main Protestant groups: (1) a Lutheran and Anglican group, (2) a Reformed group, and (3) a Baptist/Anabaptist group. These groups differed by organization and baptism beliefs.

UCC churches evolved from the Reformed group, primarily from the beliefs of Calvin, Zwingli, and Knox. But, churches in the Reformed group had different names in the various European countries. In England churches of this group were called “Congregational,” in Scotland “Presbyterian,” in most of mainland Europe either “Reformed” or “Evangelical,” for example, Dutch Reformed and German Evangelical. Further name confusion has arisen because in 1817 the Germans began uniting two Protestant denominations. The Lutheran and the Evangelical churches formed a “union church,” which became known as the Evangelical Lutheran church. At that time, in Germany at least, the word “evangelical” came to mean “Protestant” generally, instead of denoting a separate denomination.

The Puritans brought the Congregational denomination to the U.S. in Massachusetts and New England in the 1600s. It arrived in St. Louis after 1814 because the Congregational Missionary Society of Connecticut sent Samuel J. Mills and Daniel Smith on a tour of exploration of the western states to expand that church. Traveling on horseback and by riverboat “they made their way to St. Louis, which was found to be a village of two thousand, three-fourths of whom were Catholics,” according to the historian A.E. Dunning. The next year the Connecticut Society sent the Reverend Salmon J. Giddings (a Presbyterian) to serve “the spiritually destitute and needy territory of Missouri.” During the twelve years of Dr. Giddings’ labors in St. Louis, he founded twelve churches in Missouri and Illinois. But at that time and until 1852, the Congregational and Presbyterian churches in the U.S. had a “Plan of Union” agreement in effect. This plan allowed the Presbyterians to claim all churches west of the Hudson River and the Congregationalists to claim those in New England. All the early churches founded in Missouri by Giddings became Presbyterian. But, by the 1850s Congregationalists in St. Louis wanted their own church. First Trinitarian Congregational Church and Society of St. Louis organized on 12 January 1852, at 6th Street near Franklin with members from St. Louis’ Third Presbyterian Church. In 1931 the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches formed as a merger of the National Council of Congregational Churches and the Christian Connection.

By the 1830s most of the thirty independent German states had adopted the idea of union churches for their state. Part of the attraction of immigration to the U.S. for some Germans then was the freedom to remain purely Evangelical or purely Lutheran rather than unite. German Evangelicals appeared first in St. Charles in 1833, then in St. Louis in 1834 with the establishment of Holy Ghost Church. Two additional Evangelical churches formed in St. Louis County in 1838, in what is now Mehlville and Des Peres. By 1841 Holy Ghost church had created two additional Evangelical churches in St. Louis City as well—St. Marcus on the south, and St. Peter on the north. In 1934 the Evangelical Synod of North America merged with the Reformed Church forming the Evangelical and Reformed Church.

The History and Genealogy Department at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters offers a special finding aid outlining the United Church of Christ resources available at the library.

 

Bibliography

Boehning, Ross William. Burial Book, St. John’s Evangelical Church Cemetery, 1293 St. Cyr., St. Louis, Mo 63137: 7 Feb 1859–17 Jan 1998. Maryland Heights, Missouri: R. Boehning, 1998.

Bohley, Wilfred W. Historical Review of the Holy Ghost United Church of Christ. St. Louis: Holy Ghost United Church of Christ, 1969.

Buecher, Bob. St. Marcus UCC St. Louis, Marriage Index, 1847–1865; Confirmation Index 1848–1870. St. Louis: privately printed, 2002.

Buecher, Bob. St. Marcus United Church of Christ, St. Louis, Missouri: Death Index, 1880–1899. St. Louis: R. Buecher, 2004.

Buecher, Bob. St. Peter’s UCC, St. Louis, Confirmation Index, 1844–1875. St. Louis: privately printed, 2003.

Centennial, St. Luke’s Evangelical United Church of Christ, St. Louis, Missouri, 1870–1970. St. Louis: St. Luke’s Church, 1970.

Confirmation Register, 1863–1989, St. John United Church of Christ, Manchester, Missouri. Manchester, Missouri: St. John’s Church, 1989.

Fiftieth Anniversary, 1893–1943, Trinity Evangelical Church (Evangelical and Reformed Church), St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis: Trinity Evangelical Church, 1943.

“The First Congregational Church of Saint Louis, 1852–1952, Centennial, March 13 to 16. St. Louis: privately printed, 1952.

“For the Records, German Churches in St. Louis, 1830–1900.” St. Louis County Library, PastPorts, vol. 7, no. 3, March 2015, p. 1–12, online at http://www.slcl.org/pastports/.

“For the Records, United Church of Christ Records.” St. Louis County Library, PastPorts, vol. 6, no. 7, July 2013, p. 1–12, online at http://www.slcl.org/pastports/.

Harmon, Dr. Shirley A., and Esther R. Laumbattus. Holy Ghost UCC of St. Louis, Baptism & Marriage Records 1833–1843. Apollo, Pennsylvania: Closson Press, 2002.

Historical Souvenir for the 75th Anniversary of St. Peters Evangelical Church, St. Louis, Missouri, July 1918. St. Louis: Eden Publishing House, 1918. [Festschrift zum 75 Jährigen Jubiläum der Evangelischen St. Petri-Geeinde in St. Louis, Missouri, Juli 1918]

Holl, Scott. The Stones Cry Out: Congregations of the Evangelical Synod of North America in the City of Saint Louis, 1834–2005. St. Louis: Eden Theological Seminary, 2005.

Northrup, Francis, and Marjorie Northrup. Bethel Evangelical and Reformed Church, Corner of Garrison and Greer Sts., St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis: privately printed, No date.

One Hundredth Anniversary, 1844–1944: St. Paul’s Evangelical and Reformed Church. Lemay, Missouri: St. Paul’s Church, 1944.

One Hundredth Anniversary: A Century of Blessings, a Challenge for the Future, 1848–1948. St. Louis: St. Louis County Library, Special Collections, 2004.

One Hundredth Anniversary of St. Peter’s Evangelical Church, St. Louis, Missouri, 1843–1943. St. Louis: St. Peter’s Church, 1943.

Schmid, Sylvia Stevens. Centennial History of the First Congregational Church, Webster Groves, Missouri, (United Church of Christ), 1866–1966. St. Louis: First Congregational Church, 1966.

St. John United Church of Christ Church Record: 15370 Olive Street Road, Chesterfield, Missouri, 63017. St. Louis: St. John’s Church, [1935].

St. John United Church of Christ, Manchester, Missouri. Manchester, Missouri: History Committee of St. John, 1994.

St. John United Church of Christ (Originally the United Evangelical Church of Manchester, Missouri), Manchester, Missouri (In Bonhomme Township St. Louis County, Missouri) Confirmation Register 1863–1989. Manchester, Missouri: St. John’s Church, No date.

St. Marcus Evangelical and Reformed Church, St. Louis, Missouri, Erich E. Leibner, Pastor: Souvenir Published to Commemorate the Celebration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Founding of the Congregation, July 16, 1843. St. Louis: St. Louis County Library, 2004.

St. Peter’s Evangelical Church, the United Church of Christ: 150 Years, 1843–1993: A Proud Heritage, a Promising Future. St. Louis: St. Peter’s Church, 1993.

Trinity Evangelical and Reformed Church, St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis: Trinity Church, 1952.

Trinity United Church of Christ: Centennial Year, 1893–1993. Galion, Ohio: United Church Directories, 1993.

Witness in the County: The German Evangelical Legacy in Saint Louis County, 1838–1957. St. Louis: Eden Theological Seminary, 2012.

Last modified: 30-Jun-2016 18:15