HISTORY OF ST. PAUL'S EVANGELICAL COUNTRY CHURCH
1868 - 2020
It was during the 1860's that a group of German settlers migrated from Moniteau County, Missouri up the Missouri River by steamboat. They settled at a point south of Council Bluffs (Kanesville) Iowa to build their homes.
They sought to establish a church as religion had an important place in their lives. Difficulties arose as some wanted to join the Lutheran Church and others the Evangelical Synod of the West. The Lutheran sentiment prevailed so others withdrew and met on January 13, 1868 at the home of a pastor of the Evangelical Synod of the West which had been established in 1866. Those who met together that day formed the
German Evangelical St. Paul's Congregation.
At their second meeting on January 20, 1868 it was decided to erect a
church building 18 x 30 feet in size (across from present-day church).
Oak and poplar trees were offered for lumber, providing that the
members would fell and saw the trees. At the close of the
meeting $62.50 was collected for the first treasury. Within two months ,
the building was completed and on April 5, 1868 members dedicated
it as a “house of worship.”
A grasshopper plague affected the area and left many in the
congregation impoverished and at the end of the first year there was already
a deficit of $300. The determined pastor, having received the prayers and blessings of the congregation, left for Missouri on a “collection tour.” He visited many congregations with which he had had early contacts. When he returned again on October 28th, he brought with him the sum of $469.70 in cash plus other pledges which when paid later boosted the amount to $512.00. It was a visible expression of the generosity of Missouri Christians. What a debt of gratitude St. Paul's owes to those generous souls who had the vision and faith to invest in the building of God's Kingdom on the western frontier! There would be other trials throughout the years ahead, but the congregation kept persevering and moving forward. In the Fall of 1870 a small 2 room parsonage was built, and plans made for a Parochial School. The “German School” was open from 1870 until 1928. Sunday School was also established in the year 1870.
In 1884 the twenty-eight families then forming the congregation
had outgrown the little church building. Plans were approved for
a building measuring 28 x 46, with a steeple and vestibule. The new
church was dedicated on April 5, 1885 and still serves the
congregation today as its “house of worship.” The old church building
continued to be used as a school house until 1928.
A special offering for the 25th Anniversary, in 1893, was taken and
the church bell was purchased. The brass bell was forged in St. Louis
and weighs approximately 1800 pounds. In 1910 a new bigger
parsonage was built which still serves the church today.
The church building was raised in 1929 to put a full basement under it and install a furnace. The old wood stove was then removed from the center of the sanctuary. The basement was used for Sunday School classes and social gatherings. Between the years 1935-1950 restrooms and the choir room were added to the church. A new garage was built, and the basement was finished under the parsonage in 1946.
The Christian Educational Building/Fellowship Hall was built in 1958.