Church History

St. John UCC Highlights in Our History

October 8, 1855: A little group of German Lutheran Reformed and Evangelical men who, with their families, had worshiped together, met in a small building north of the village of Strasburg, Ohio, to organize a church body known as "The German Lutheran Reformed United Evangelical Church of St. John".


May 1, 1852: The group was organized under the Act of the Ohio Legislature entitled "an act to provide for the Incorporated Companies in the State of Ohio" which passed May 1st, 1852. At the time, the village of Strasburg numbered less than 200 people.


Philip Schaefer was the secretary of the founding group, and it is believed that he was the first pastor of the newly organized congregation. In the same year, for the consideration of $25.00, a lot was deeded to the congregation close to where the present church stands. At the time, the congregation was organized in the working relationship between two religious societies, Evangelical and Lutheran, worshiping jointly in one building. This helps to explain the rather complicated and long name of the founding church, since there was a desire to have all segments of the new congregation included.


1899: After sharing a sanctuary in common with the Lutheran Church of Strasburg for forty-four years, the people of St. John set out on their own and erected their first church on the present site in the year 1899. This was done under the leadership of George L. Heck.


March 14, 1915: As the years went on, the congregation grew, additional facilities were needed, and the north wing was completed and dedicated on March 14, 1915.


1919: The present parsonage was constructed. The first residents of the new parsonage were the Rev. and Mrs. R. J. Loew.

St.20John20Church20ImageFebruary 21, 1926: The dedication of a new west wing, a renovated and redecorated sanctuary, and a new organ. The organ was a gift to the congregation by the Kapitzky family. 1938: Two oil paintings which hang on either side of the altar were completed and dedicated. They were painted by Mr. John Krogmann of Chicago, Illinois.

July 1, 1943: The last worship service to be conducted in the German language was held. Up until this time there was a German Service held once a month.

June 9, 1950: St. John Evangelical and Reformed Church celebrated the ordination of the first son of the congregation to be called to the Christian ministry. He was Rev. George W. Varns.


1955: The renovated chancel area, new carpeting, and a new Christian Education building. Dedication of new Christian Education building by Rev. D.V. Klohr took place on October 12, 1955.


June 25, 1957: The formation of the United Church of Christ, a union of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches. St. John now proudly identifies itself with the United Church of Christ.


1961: St. John extended its ministry into the global church in the person of Dr. Frances Kapitzky who was elected to the 100 member Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. Ms. Kapitzky had already gained wide recognition and acclaim for her impressive list of accomplishments in denominational and ecumenical activities.


Early 1990's: The Rev. Steve Pedersen began the Seasoned Seniors program as a part of the requirements toward his doctoral degree earned while serving at St. John. Operating under its own independent board and made up of members and the pastor, the program serves our more "seasoned" members as well as members of the broader community by providing a setting of fellowship, entertainment and serious programming. The monthly meal and program provides a cordial meeting place that brings seniors together in a healthy and spiritually alive setting.


The nineties brought physical improvements and additions to the church. Thanks to a Memorial gift placed by the family of Fred and Dorothy Yenny, the sanctuary and chapel were air conditioned. An elevator lift provides wheelchair access to all levels of the building, an enhanced sound system allows excellent recordings of worship and our choir, and a library gift that included the purchase of the "Living Heritage" series on the history of the United Church of Christ. Two beautiful oil paintings have been added to the chapel adjacent to the sanctuary.


2002: In 2002 all the stained glass windows were removed and re-soldered, the frames were removed and repaired as needed, at a cost of $50,000. All was made possible with Memorial Funds, estates and generous gifts of members. New roofs were installed on the Sanctuary Building and on the Christian Education Building.


2003: The main parking lot was regraded and resurfaced. The upper portion of the Bell Tower was remodeled to accommodate the new steeple.


Personality Profile

I Am The UCC. . .

My roots go back 2,000 years, but I am very much now and today. I am not strict with tradition or dripping in rituals. Instead, I embrace modern intelligent thinking:


Acceptance Inclusive Justice

I can be lighthearted. My open-armed approach is appealing to people of all races and lifestyles. Which might explain why my congregations are diverse and unique.


Another funny thing happens when you're less judgmental. You allow people to search, discover and flourish. My friends come to me to seek their own answers, look inside themselves and explore their spiritual lives.


In the end, my personality is reflective of Christ's.

Open Embracing Nurturing



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