On April 12, 1894, ten men met in a small home in Collinsville, IL to begin a church. These men, possessing a strong Christian belief, an undeniable sense of vision, faith and hope for the future, drafted a temporary congregational order. This document would later become the birth certificate of St. John Evangelical United Church of Christ.
By June 1895, St. John had its first church building and a new pastor. Much like today, the congregation in 1895 felt
a strong obligation to the future of the church and voted to build a school so their youth would receive a Christian upbringing. The Evangelical St. John School was consecrated on September 1, 1895 by the new pastor.
Within thirteen years, the congregation, having grown significantly, voted once again to build a new house of God. A brick Gothic-style building was constructed at a cost of $12,000 and dedicated on December 13, 1908. The grand church would faithfully serve the needs of our family until May 5, 1963, when the last, farewell service was held, and worshipers moved to the current sanctuary.
In 1984 an addition was made to the sanctuary on the west side, which provides elevator service to Fellowship Hall and an additional room for choir use and wedding preparations. Street-level, handicapped-accessible restrooms were also built at this time.
The 100th year of the church was celebrated in 1994 with much effort and dedication to planning for the future. The Long-Range Planning Committee began the process of identifying, evaluating and recommending plans for the future growth of the congregation.
A second addition, The Centennial Addition was completed in 2000. This addition enclosed the open outdoor space between the sanctuary and the Education Building. A new elevator provided physical accessibility to everyone for any function being held in the facility. Open space in an atrium setting was created providing for fellowship, hospitality, and generally a welcoming entrance into the adjoining narthex and office area. The office and reception area were renovated to provide a more open and efficient work space.
In 2001 the St. John Home & Community Care building was completed to provide office and program space. The success of the program since its inception in 1985 had outgrown its space in the Education Building. This ministry to the community provides non-medical services to the ill and elderly in their homes. This building was dedicated on November 4, 2001, reflecting significant financial savings due to the volunteer labor efforts of the congregation and the community.
In 2003 a capital campaign resulted in construction of Faith Hall, a multipurpose building located behind the existing church building. Faith Hall was completed in 2005, which resulted in a multitude of new opportunities for church fellowship and community outreach. This large, flexible space hosts athletic, theatrical and social events in its spacious main area – complete with basketball backboards, volleyball sockets, a stage with sound and lighting, dressing rooms, and a generous catering kitchen.
Through the years, the members of St. John Evangelical United Church of Christ have continued with the unshakable spirit that inspired our early church founders. We have been sustained by a never wavering faith in God.