St. Peter’s UCC History
As early as 1859, the German Synod of the Northwest attempted to establish an Evangelical church in the city of Champaign – an attempt renewed in 1863 by the Rev. J.M. Hartmann, itinerant preacher from southern Illinois. A congregation of 21 persons was organized and the Rev. Julius C. Schumm was appointed by the Synod to be St. Peter’s first pastor on Sunday, October 29, 1865. Shortly thereafter, a double lot at 108 East Church Street was purchased for the sum of $300 and a contract was let to John Grein to construct a two-story building 40’x80′, at the total cost of $1,350. The new church building, which housed the pastor and St. Peter’s German parochial school, was dedicated on December 31, 1865 and served the congregation until 1898.
By late in the 1800’s, it became apparent that more space was needed, therefore St. Peter’s congregation purchased two lots and a parsonage at the corner of Fourth and University. While in the church home at 401 E. University Avenue, the Young People’s Society, then known as Der Jugend Verein, donated a set of three brass-cast tower bells weighing 7,000 pounds. These bells still ring today in the tower of St. Peter’s present church home at 905 S. Russell St. in Champaign, IL.
During the late 1940’s, the congregation had grown so much that a larger building was needed. The current home of St. Peter’s was completed in 1957 and was dedicated on November 17, 1957. Later, a new parsonage and the south wing of the church were added, creating St. Peter’s as it is seen today.
Our first church building was dedicated on December 31, 1865.
Our second church building was dedicated on December 31, 1896.
Our present church building was dedicated on December 31, 1957.
Our first church building was extensively damaged by fire on August 14, 1980.
Our present church building was re-dedicated on September 13, 1961.