History of St. Peter’s

The founding members of what was to become St. Peter’s United Church of Christ were largely German immigrants. On Aug. 22, 1865 four provisional trustees were chosen to arrange the construction of a church and school building in Champaign. On Oct. 29, 1865 Rev. Julius Schumm was chosen as pastor of the congregation of 87 members. Construction began on Nov. 6th at 108 E. Church St. in the heart of what was then the German neighborhood. The church was dedicated on Dec. 31, 1865. A new church building was built in 1896 on the southeast corner of the intersection of University and Fourth Street.  In 1922 a new constitution of St. Peter’s Evangelical Church was written – in both English and German, however by 1920, records show that services and rites were all performed in English with the German language used only for special celebrations or as a special request for funerals.  Rev. H.F. Mueller, minister from 1906-1940, led the congregation through this transition to English.

The cornerstone for the current church building was laid on Dec. 31, 1955 and worship was held in the new building, for the first time, on March 31, 1957. The bells from the previous building were moved to the Russell St. location. The music program has been an important part of the church service and church life at each of its facilities.  Members served as soloists, sang in choir groups from young children to adults and performed with hand chimes and the hand bells.  Their loyalty to the music program has long been a tradition. 

            The history of fellowship and good work at St. Peter’s dates back to the 1890s.  The women’s and the men’s groups as well as the Young People’s Society raised funds annually to support the mission of the church through activities such as organizing holiday bazaars, presenting plays, quilting and raffling quilts, and hosting the ever-popular Sausage Supper and Chicken Noodle Dinner.