A Historical Sketch – 1970-1994

1970: The Congregation voted to buy the Rader property on the corner of Clay and Goethe Streets
for $15,750.00
1970: April 1 st brought Rev. David W. Groenemann of St. Charles, Missouri to St. John Church as an
Associate Pastor. He, his wife Joy, and daughters Anne, Lynn, and Lisa were welcomed at a tea on
April 5 th and followed by the installation of Rev. Groenemann on May 3 rd .
1970: In May, 200 graduates from Collinsville High School were honored at a baccalaureate service,
using the theme, “Bridge over Troubled Waters”.
1971: Ordination of son of the church Robert Blumberg into the Christian ministry on June 13 th . June
20 th marked Bill Hart’s 20 th year as organist. Rev. Sabbert presented Choir service pins to Earl Best,
Tillie Rebeck, Beulah Stephens, Marceline Booth, Irene Kunnemann, Bernice and Floyd Sperino.
1972: On June 24 th , a special service of recognition observed Rev. Kuhlmann’s 50 th Anniversary of his
ordination into the Christian ministry. In July, Mr. L.P. Whitlock received special recognition as
custodian upon his retirement.
1973: The duplex parsonage was sold for $61,500. This money, added to the building fund receipts
of $99, 298 allowed St. John Church to reach its goal of “debt free in 73!”
1974: The burning of the mortgage on the Church sanctuary was celebrated on April 21 st leaving a
debt-free status. In May, the congregation voted to proceed with building plans for the education
building at a cost of $500,000. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the educational building were held
on December 15 th . The Women’s Guild celebrated its 80 th Anniversary.
1975: Cornerstone laying ceremonies for the new Education Building were held between services on
June 15 th at the southwest corner of the new building. Pastor Emeritus C. H. Kuhlmann passed away.
He was buried in the family plot in St. Marcus Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. The Education
Building, which cost $485,000 was dedicated on November 23 rd . Hearing aid devices were installed
in the sanctuary. The Healing Community Board was founded.
1976: Learning Tree Preschool opened its doors to its first 43 students. Shirley Highlander was the
first Director. This same year saw the first Maundy Thursday portrayals of the Last Supper by the
men of the congregation.
1978: Participation of laity persons in church service. St. John Church helps organize “Meals on
Wheels” on January 2 nd . Announcement of the Otto J. Trautwein gift to the church of about
$359,000. Otto was confirmed in 1898 – just four years after the church was organized. St. John
church members joined other churches in participating in Meals-On -Wheels, a service offered to
persons unable to provide meals for themselves. Rev. David Groenemann submitted his resignation
as Associate Pastor to serve as Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Austin, Minnesota. After
8 ½ years, Rev. Groenemann preached his final sermon and was celebrated with a potluck dinner
and an evening of humor, appreciation, and tributes to Dave and his family.


1979: Rev. Sabbert earned a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary in June. In
recognition of this achievement and with appreciation for his spiritual leadership, he was honored
with a reception on July 8 th . Rev. Sabbert was presented with a 1978 Chevrolet Station Wagon.
1979: Rev. David Stabenfeldt was called to St. John church as Associate Pastor in September. The
congregation welcomed him, his wife Pam, and son Joshua, when he gave his first sermon here on
December 9 th . The young people of the church enjoyed many mission trips with Dave and the Youth
sponsors. Pam became a valuable employee of Home and Community Care and member of the bells.
Joshua, Sarah, and Rachel grew up in this church.
1980: In March, the congregation voted to purchase the Welle property adjacent to the church
costing $48,000 and the Harrison property on Seminary street for $30,000. Organization of
Clowning for Christ group. In September, the church celebrated the 200 th birthday of the Sunday
School with a performance by the Clowning for Christ group, a picnic, and evening entertainment.
1981: St. John Church assumed co-sponsorship of a Cambodian refugee family with the First
Presbyterian Church, Collinsville, and the UCC, St. Jacob, Illinois. A Cherub Choir (36 young voices)
was formed with Mary Ferguson serving as Director. Bill Hart was honored for his 30 years of
service as organist. The local Food Pantry was established by the Ministerial Alliance of Collinsville
during November.
1982: The establishment of a $20,000 Endowment from the Trautwein Estate for a scholarship at
Eden Seminary. January 31 st , church services were cancelled due to the worst snowstorm in 70 years.
1983: The church celebrated the 20 th Anniversary of the Dedication of the sanctuary on May 1 st . Rev.
Russell Miller, pastor at the time of the dedication in 1963, was the guest speaker. On September
27 th , a surprise event overwhelmed Rev. Sabbert and his wife Anne while honoring his 20 th year of
ordination, and his 15 years as Pastor of St. John Church, the 20 th anniversary of his graduation from
Eden Seminary, and their marriage! A meal was served and choirs presented a music program.
1984: The 90 th Anniversary of the Church was celebrated. Dedication of west wing, which gave
elevator service to Fellowship Hall, and added a choir room and street level rest rooms.
1985: Homebound Care (now known as St. John’s Community Care) was established. Karen Odle
was the first Executive Director. Chris and Al Jones retired and Rick Skelton was hired in July as
Head Custodian.
1989: St. John’s Historical Committee held its first official meeting. Microfilming of the church
records was completed.
1990: On October 28 th , Joyce Skelton retired as church secretary. She was recognized during a
church service for her 26 years of efficient and loving work in all areas of the church. Joyce and
husband Rich have many memories as her position of secretary served through five ministers. Sue
Blumberg became the new secretary. Pastors Sabbert and Stabenfeldt received a note of thanks from
Anderson Hospital for participating in the Chaplaincy Program. The Caring Team, a newly formed
group of church folk, supplement the pastors’ visits to the shut ins.
1994: 100 th Anniversary of St. John Church was celebrated throughout the year: special programs,
Celebration dinner and entertainment at SIUE Meridian Ballroom for 600 people – St. Louis
Cardinal catcher Darrell Porter was the Keynote Speaker. A special hardcover anniversary book was

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