T

he United Evangelical Church of Manchester, Missouri (now St. John United Church of Christ Manchester) was founded on January 3, 1860, when 28 men covenanted to organize and meet for the express purpose of being the Church of Jesus Christ. Prior to the actual founding date, three men purchased a lot south of Manchester Road (where the old cemetery now stands) to construct a building for worship.

The congregation was a small, farming community…

R03099-Old-St-John-Evang-Manch-300x200For the first 50 years, the worship services were conducted entirely in the German language of its ancestors. Hence, the name was changed to Saint Johannes Evangelical Church. Since the earliest days, worship services have followed the format of our Reformed tradition.

In the 1950s, St. John moved up to the top of Sulphur Spring Road with the construction of a new church building (now the current location). Also, when the Evangelical & Reformed Church merged with the Congregational Christian tradition in 1957, St. John joined the mainline Protestant denomination the United Church of Christ (UCC).

St. John grew numerically from the 1950s to the 1970s. Many young families migrated to West St. Louis County helping the congregation to expand its programs and ministries. By the 1980s, the congregation had over 1000 members and an estimated worship attendance of 400 people. This was supported by the two strong pastorates of Rev. Paul Wobus (1922-1969) and Rev. Dr. Richard Brandon (1970-2005).

From the very beginning, St. John has been engaged in mission and service to the community. It started out with denominational benevolences, such as, Emmaus Homes and Evangelical Children’s Home (now Every Child’s Hope), and currently encompasses agencies like, Circle of Concern and Sunshine Mission. Probably the most noteworthy partnership has been with Shannondale Community Center, Salem, Missouri (an agency of the Missouri Mid-South Conference) founded by Rev. Wobus and St. John UCC Manchester.

In 2010, St. John UCC Manchester celebrated their Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary.

This sparked a renewed commitment to the faith and practice of our Christian vocation. The church’s friendly character seeks to embrace the identity of being a welcoming and accepting community of all God’s children. More than ever, St. John is open to the Spirit of Christ in worship and fellowship, education and service, as the ever-changing church moves forward in the 21st century.