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Our History



St. John United Church of Christ in the village of Maeystown had its beginning as early as 1858. It was in this year that Rev. Birkmann, a Lutheran minister of Wartburg, Illinois, gathered a few families of German immigrants at the home of Wilhelm Feldmeier, near Maeystown.

In 1859 the congregation of Maeystown, which consisted of a few members, erected the first church, a small log building, now known as the school house. This building is still used for various purposes by the congregation.

The congregation extended an invitation to the Rev. Louis Haeberle on the Kaskaskia Trail at St. Joe which he gladly accepted. On the first Sunday in Advent, 1860, the first Evangelical sermon was delivered in Maeystown by the Rev. Haeberle; the congregation was now officially organized as St. Johannes Evangelische Kirche (St. John Evangelical Church).

The present church was built during the years 1865-1867. The stone for the church was quarried from the hills surrounding the village. The property on which the church was erected was obtained from Jacob Maeys, founder of Maeystown. The log house which had served as the place of worship was vacated, and with joy and thanksgiving to God the congregation entered its new house of worship on October 23, 1867.

Through the efforts of the Women’s Fellowship, the church hall was constructed in 1921. Today, it is used for many activities of the congregation and the wider community. Our present parsonage, formerly the property of Dr. August Wilhelmj, was purchased in 1947.

In 1934 the Evangelical churches joined with the Reformed churches to form the Evangelical and Reformed denomination. And in 1957 the Congregational Christian Churches joined with the Evangelical and Reformed Church to form the United Church of Christ. This merger created one of the largest denominations among American Protestant churches.

In 2010 our congregation joyfully celebrated its 150th anniversary, and numerous activities marked this important occasion.

While our congregation is rich in its history, we continue to look to the future as our services and programs continue to evolve to meet the needs of our membership—now 380 strong and growing!