The St. Clair County Courthouse completed in 1861
St. Clair County Genealogical
|The first county in Illinois, created in 1790 while still part of the Northwest Territory|
Baptisms, marriages, and deaths, 1840-1998, comprise the bulk of this 354-page publication for members of three of Belleville's Methodist church congregations: Records of German Methodist–Jackson Street Methodist Church, First Methodist Episcopal Church, and Union United Methodist Church. Available for purchase from the SCCGS.
Methodist Church Surname Index
Church histories: First Methodist German Methodist Union United Methodist
Histories and index published with permission from the book's compiler and translator, Martha Mae Schmidt.
History of the First Methodist Episcopal Church
10 East Washington Street, Belleville, Illinois
The beginning of Methodism in Belleville dates back to the beginning of Belleville, for in the year 1819 the first Society of Methodists was organized and it was in this same year that Belleville was incorporated. Rev. Jesse HALE, who traveled the Illinois Circuit embracing the western portion of the State, began the work with a class composed of eight members. The Society met one mile northwest of town at Brother STANLEY’s. Carter ANDERSON was appointed Class Leader. In the year 1825 or 1826 the class moved to town and met at the DENNIS Schoolhouse. The following composed the class: Richard RANDLE and wife, James and Annie MITCHELL, James HARRISON and wife, Susan DENNIS and Caroline E. BLACKWELL. Richard RANDLE was the leader.
The first Sunday School was organized in 1827 under the Union Plan, which included Presbyterians and Methodists. In the year 1832 there was a decided increase in membership. At a quarterly meeting Brother McALISTER from Missouri was to preach. The congregation was too large for the hall where they had planned to meet, so they adjourned to the woods. During the service a heavy rainstorm came up and the entire congregation got a thorough wetting.
The following day Sister Caroline E. BLACKWELL wrote to her brother, Daniel SPRIGG, in Hagerstown, Maryland, stating the need for a church building. In reply to her request, he raised several dollars and mailed it to her beginning a building fund. In 1832 a church was built at Washington and Third Streets. The lot was donated by Governor Ninian EDWARDS. This building was afterwards known as “The Old Brick Church”.
The year 1836 is the next date of importance. By this time the membership had grown until they were able to become a station and have a regular pastor. 31 December 1836 marked the First Quarterly Conference of the Belleville Station. It was shortly after this occasion that a Sunday School was begun under the auspices of the Methodist Church. James HARRISON was the superintendent.
In 1849 the Methodists moved to 10 East Washington. A new building was erected at a cost of about $9000.00. This new building was dedicated on Sunday, December 23rd. Dr. Erastus WENTWORTH, the President of McKendree College, delivered the dedicatory message. Rev. Wm. RUTLEDGE was pastor.
Shortly after the erection of this building a Female Academy was instituted under the auspices of the Southern Illinois Conference and held its sessions in this church. Catalogue shows a list of 125 enrolled as students. This bit of history is significant in view of the fact that at that time the doors of schools of higher education were closed to women. In this movement the Church was endeavoring to supply the opportunities which schools were denying womanhood.
The congregation continued to grow so that in 1876 it became necessary to remodel the building. The vestibule and towers were added, also the rooms in the back at an expense of $11,000.00, which made it one of the most outstanding edifices in southern Illinois. Rev. G. H. HUGHEY was pastor at this time. The membership consisted of 200 and the Sunday School had an enrollment of 250 scholars. W. C. BUCHANAN was superintendent.
In 1894 a Gratian Pipe Organ was installed, which was in constant use until 1937 when it was replaced by the Rayhill Memorial Organ. In 1916 the kitchen room was built at a cost of $242.00. In 1917 the tower was removed at a cost of $693.00 after being damaged in a storm. In 1931 the complete edifice was again extensively repaired at a cost of approximately $6,500.00 under the pastorate of Dr. Ressho ROBERTSON. In 1934 the Choir loft was rebuilt by the members of the choir at an expense of $318 and 7 June 1936 the New Hymnals were dedicated under the pastorage of W. I. TERHUNE. The following improvements were made in 1937. The parsonage was completely renovated throughout at a cost of $1,000.00, Mrs. Florence RAYHILL placed a new two Manuel Wick Organ in memory of Dr. Chas. RAYHILL, A Neon Sign was hung on the front of the building and the first floor redecorated.
Ministers who served First Methodist Episcopal Church, Belleville, Illinois
EDMINSON, Joseph 1836-1837
BRAG, D. L. 1837-1838
DENEEN, Wm. 1838-1839
CUNNINGHAM, N. P. 1839-1840
THOMPSON, S. H. 1840-1841
DENEEN, William L. 1841-1842
HOBERT, N. 1842-1843
MITCHELL, William H. 1843-1844
FINLEY, J. C. 1844-1845
RIDGWAY, R. 1845-1846
HOUTS, C. J. 1846-1847
ELLIOTT, Samuel 1847-1848
RUTLEDGE, William 1848-1850
BORLAND, John 1850-1851
VanCLEVE, John 1851-1853
MITCHELL, W. W. 1853-1855
KNAPP. J. 1855-1856
THOMBS, I. W. 1856-1858
HAWLEY, N. 1858-1859
CALDWELL, J. W. 1859-1860
SCARRITT, J. A. 1860-1861
DAVIS, J. P. 1861-1864
NESBIT, A. B. 1865-1865
ROBINSON, J. A. 1865-1867
CORRINGTON W. or M. H. 1867-1870
CORRINGTON, J. B. 1870-1872
DAVIS, J. P. 1872-1874
HUGHEY, G. W. 1874-1877
VanTREESE, F. M. 1877-1880
GILLHAM, J. D. 1880-1883
DAVIS, W. F. 1883-1886
CLARK, Dr. O. H. 1886-1889
GROVES, S. P. 1889-1890
WOODLEY, R. D. 1890-1894
SHEPHERD, G. W.. 1894-1897
FLINT, J. W. 1897-1900
SHUMARD, C. D. 1900-1903
CLARK. Dr. O. H. 1903-1904
POOLE, W. H. 1904-1906
SMITH, Lawrence 1906-1907
REID, J. Y. 1907-1909
LINDSEY, A. D. 1909-1912
RAGSDALE, Tolman R. 1913-1914
JONES, John H. 1914-1919
SHADRICK, J. D. 1919-1920
WHITLOCK, W. H. 1920-1923
RANSOM, A. R. 1923-1926
CUMMINS, J. S. 1926-1928
ROBERTSON, Ressho 1928-1932
TERHUNE, W. I. 1932-1936
LAMP, Cletus L. 1936-1940
KINISON, J. W. A. 1940-Aug 1944
BRUCE, W. C. Oct 1944-Aug 1946
SCHWARZLOSE, F. W. Jan 1947-1950
History of the German Methodist Episcopal – Jackson Street Methodist Church
213 South Jackson Street, Belleville, Illinois
This is an abbreviated history prepared for this web site. The full version appears in the book published by and available for purchase from the St. Clair County Genealogical Society. The surname index appears on this web site with permission from the compiler and translator, Martha Mae Schmidt. Records of the German Methodist Church were translated from German into English by Ms. Schmidt. To Methodist Church Surname Index
Excerpted [by the author Martha Mae Schmidt] from the history written by Walter VOELKEL for the one hundredth anniversary of the Jackson Street Church and gathered from the Old Church records containing the minutes of proceedings of the Church Meetings which were written in German. Some of the data was taken from the so-called Blue Book, written by Dr. C. MAGARET, Dr. Fred MUNZ, & Dr. G.B. ADDICKS on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the "St. Louis German Conference." Some of this history was taken from the old conference calendars or conference minute books, the Mascoutah Methodist Church records, and from old editions of the Belleville newspapers on file in the Public Library.
German Methodism started in St. Louis, Missouri in 1841 when Reverend L. S. JACOBY came from Cincinnati, Ohio as a missionary and organized the Wash Street Church, later known as Salem Church.
In 1842 Reverend John SWAHLEN came from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Missouri and founded the Pinkney Mission, and a Reverend W. SCHRECK came from Cincinnati, Ohio and opened the Herman Mission. It was at this time that through Rev. L. S. JACOBY, Rev. J. HARTMANN came to Belleville from Cincinnati and started a mission here and one in Mascoutah.
In 1844 the St. Louis District of the Missouri Conference was founded, but in 1845, because of the slavery question, the Methodist Church divided into North and South. Since the German Methodists of St. Louis did not want to go with the South, the German District of St. Louis was combined with the Illinois Conference and in the years to follow, the work progressed and spread so that by 1848 four German Districts had been formed, namely: St. Louis, Missouri, Quincy, and the Wisconsin Districts....In 1849 the Iowa District was formed, making five Districts in seven years.
From 1849 to 1860 the work spread through Kansas and Nebraska but from 1861 to 1864, because of the Civil War, work slowed up some. In May, 1864, the General Conference was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and formed the Southwest German Conference with the following districts: St. Louis, Belleville, Quincy, Burlington, St. Joseph and Kansas. The first session of the Southwest German Conference was held in St. Louis, MO, in the Wash Street Church in 1865 with Bishop JAMES presiding. St. Louis at that time was under martial law, because of the nearness of General PRICE and his Rebel Army. At this conference, Rev. A. TIMKEN was appointed District Superintendent of the Belleville District and Rev. G. H. KRIEGE as pastor.
As mentioned before, in 1842 Rev. J. HARTMANN came from Cincinnati, OH and opened a Mission in Belleville, known as "The Belleville Mission of the German Methodist Episcopal Church". This Mission was on a circuit comprised of Belleville, Mascoutah, Highland, Ridge Prairie, Red Bud, Fayetteville, and a number of other preaching places, which were served at intervals by traveling preachers from 1842 to 1848, namely, Rev. Wm. HENNIGHAUSEN [sic], Rev. John BLATTNER and Rev. JOST with Rev. Hy. KOENECKE as District Superintendent from 1845 to 1849. They held their Quarterly Conferences at the different points on the circuit.
A number of the early members of the Belleville Church were members of the Bethel Methodist Church of Mascoutah which had been organized prior to the Belleville Church. These transferred their membership to the Belleville Church when it was organized in 1845. The records for the years 1842–1848 show that a Fred KLOTZ was elected as Treasurer in 1845....His records show that there was some financial activity at that time. They gave: $5.00 to McKendree College, $1.62 1/2 to a Southern Church, $15.00 to the Ebenezer Chapel, $7.32 to a Brother KUHL for a day school, $16.60 for missions, also a gift to the Bible Association, and $300.00 salary for year to Rev. JOST as Minister.
On 5 January 1940, a Committee appointed by the board to determine the date of the organization of the Church, decided that according to the available records, the Church was organized in 1845, and 1 October 1845, was adopted as the date by the official board. The old minutes quite often refer to the School that the Church was conducting. In 1848 Reverend H. F. KOENEKE, at the time 23 years old, came to Belleville as pastor. Rev KOENEKE was the first resident pastor, and when he came to Belleville the Church had 25 members. This same year (1848) Belleville had an epidemic of Cholera, and although Rev. KOENEKE visited and helped to take care of the cholera stricken people, he himself did not contract the disease. Born in Hanover on 9 October 1825, Rev. KOENEKE came to the United States in 1837 when he was 12 years old. After 50 years of service in the ministry he retired and moved to Wichita, Kansas where he died on 30 September 1902. His parents and his brother, William, and sister, Mrs. Jacob BRENNER are all buried in Belleville.
Prior to 1848 the congregation held their meetings in what was referred to as the Baptist Hall located on the southeast corner of High and Lincoln Streets. In 1849, they started their first Sunday School with 34 scholars and 7 teachers. Class meetings [were also conducted]. It is interesting to know that human nature was no different at that time than now. One of the things discussed at a board meeting at that time was the loud talking at the entrance of the meeting place, before and during the services and the Pastor was asked to call attention to this at the next service. Reports were also made at this meeting about certain members cursing, others using liquor and others who were having family strife, some were accused of making unnecessary debts without trying to pay them. Committees were appointed to talk to these members about it. Others were visited by committees and reprimanded for shirking their duties, by neglecting to attend the class meetings and helping to support the Church, and were given another opportunity to do their duty or be dropped from the roll.
In April 1850 the German Methodist church members bought the first church building [still owned] by the First Methodist Congregation. This building was located on the northeast corner of Race and First Streets, now known as Third and Washington Streets. The [purchase price was] $1,000.00, $400.00 of which the English Church donated to them.
In 1851 they built a Parsonage. In 1852 the Board decided to rent the Church for School purposes to a teacher by the name of HEURER, from Ridge Prairie for $2.00 per month. [In] November 1857 the Board decided to hold a meeting in Shiloh on New Year¹s Day, 1858. They also arranged to start a congregation at Centerville, now known as Millstadt, Illinois. In 1860 the Preacher¹s salary was set at $450.00. He was to call for subscriptions after the services on next Sunday. At a board meeting in 1862, the need of a German School teacher was discussed and a committee appointed to look for and employ a teacher. A Mr. LAMMERT was suggested, and evidently was hired as later record will show.
In 1864 the Church building at 213 South Jackson Street was purchased which was under construction by an Evangelical Congregation headed by a Mr. HOMEIER. Because of financial difficulties it could not be completed, and had to be sold. This property is known as Lot 17 and 18 in Abend's addition and included a one-story school building. This in later years was referred to as the "Local". The German Methodists bought it for $8,000.00 and at a cost of $2,000.00 they built the steeple and expended another $657.00 for glazing the windows and other necessary work.
In 1856 Rev. Hy. KOENEKE Sr. was appointed Pastor of the Church. Rev. Hy. KOENEKE was the father of Rev. H. F. KOENEKE who served as Pastor from 1848 to 1850. In 1865 their school teacher (Mr. LAMMERT) resigned and the Board sent a Committee to St. Louis to interview another prospective teacher...they hired a Mr. HEID from St. Louis at a salary of $50.00 per month for the first two months, and $60.00 per month thereafter...
...class meetings were prayer meetings, but the membership was divided into six separate classes, and each class held its meeting at the home of one of the members...
In August 1865, the teacher reported he would quit teaching at the end of the month, so the Board decided that since the Public School was going to open, they would discontinue their private school, ask their members to send their children to the Public School and convert the schoolhouse into a residence and rent it. 8 February 1866, they bought...bell[s] from A. D. COUGHLAN of St. Louis... On May 21, 1866, they decided they didn¹t like the tone of the bells and shipped them back and exchanged them for two other bells at an additional cost of $180.00 (a total of $1,150.00)...
20 April 1871, the first Ladies' Society was organized with Mrs. HEINZ as President.... In 1873 the Church was a one-story building...In 1882 the Church entertained the Conference with Bishop SIMPSON presiding and Rev. WILKENING as host.
In 1884 Special Services were held commemorating the Centennial of the Methodist Churches in the United States. In 1885 they organized an aid society for members who might be in need, membership dues at five cents per month. A society known as "The Dorcas Society" was also organized under the leadership of Mrs. Wm. SHUETZ.
...on 24 May 1886, the old school building was town down and the new parsonage at 211 South Jackson Street was built at a cost of $2,000.00, $1,500.00 of which was covered by subscriptions. The old parsonage, often referred to as "the Local", was converted into a meeting hall at a cost of $100.00...On 24 August 1892, the last $100.00 note was burned at the Board Meeting. In 1893, the interior of the Church was decorated and the glass in the windows was painted with various colors in stenciled designs to keep out the strong light, at a cost of $308.00.
In 1903, the Church was again redecorated... Mrs. Emma KIRCHNER donated new concrete steps to the front entrance of the Church...On 20 December 1903 the Church was again opened and rededicated by Dr. Geo. B. ADDICKS of Warrenton, Missouri, during Rev. F. W. SCHLEUTER¹s pastorate. The Church at that time had a membership of 165, two fine Ladies' Sewing Societies, a Sunday School of 100, an Epworth League of 42 and a Junior League of 35. In 1911 during Rev. E. C. MAGARET's pastorage, the Church was again remodeled...On 7 August 1911 the Church was again opened and rededicated by Dr. Fred MUNZ of Cincinnati, Ohio, Editor of the Haus and Herd [House and Home].
In 1916 a heavy wind storm took down part of the large steeple and three of the small ones, dropping them through the roof and ceiling, doing damage of $1,800.00...
16 May 1918, the Board changed the Church's name from The German Methodist Episcopal Church to The Jackson Street Methodist Episcopal Church and also changed from a German speaking to an English speaking Church. In 1919 there was a shortage of ministers and the conference asked Rev. J. GISLER, then serving as District Superintendent and residing in Belleville, to serve as pastor of the Church. Rev. F. F. OTTO, then a layman, assisted Rev. GISLER and as a result entered the ministry and the following year was appointed as pastor...
...From 4 to 11 November  they celebrated their Diamond Jubilee. This should have been celebrated three years earlier, in 1920. Up to 1925 the church belonged to the St. Louis German Conference, but at a Conference held in St. Louis with Bishop E. L. WALDORF presiding, it was decided that the St. Louis German Conference merge with the English Conference, and the following Merger Commission was appointed to consummate the merger: Bishop Edwin Holt HUGHES, Prof. E. WEIFFENBACH of Warrenton, Missouri, Rev. G. H . HERZLER of Peoria, Illinois, Rev. F. W. WAHL of St. Louis, and the following laymen: Hy. LANGE of Quincy, Illinois, Albert MAUL of St. Louis, and Walter VOELKEL of Belleville Illinois.
...On 14 June 1936... a new large Bible for the pulpit... was a gift from Mr. & Mrs. Chas ISSELHART.
19 October 1937, Mrs. Anna KNAPP deeded her home on East McKinley Street to the Church... and on 9 January 1938 the Church was opened [after extensive remodeling] and rededicated by Dr. C. L. PETERSON of Lebanon, Illinois during the pastorate of Rev. Paul BROWN. In the same year the communion table was dedicated. This was a gift from Mrs. Elizabeth BUSIEK in memory of her deceased husband, Henry J., and sons, Wm. A. and Wesley F. BUSIEK.
At the Conference in the fall of 1939 the three major Methodist Churches united, namely the Methodist Episcopal Church, The Methodist Protestant Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South all of which are now called the Methodist Church, so that the name of this Church now was 'The Jackson Street Methodist Church', and in September 1940, all the Woman¹s Missionary Societies throughout Methodism merged into one large organization known as the The Woman's Society of Christian Service.
From 1845 to 1945 inclusive the Church had 26 District Superintendents, 20 of whom were appointed by the St. Louis German Conference and 6 by the Southern Illinois Conference. Eight of these were living in 1945.
From 1843 to 1848 the Church was served by three preachers, then known as Circuit Riders. From 1848 to 1945 inclusive this Church had 35 resident ministers, 30 of whom were appointed by the St. Louis Germany Conference and 5 by the Southern Illinois Conference. Looking up the records of the older ministers it was found that they were with very few exceptions Evangelical Lutherans before their conversions, a few were Catholic-pietists or Methodists and one was a Jesuit.
HEMMINGHAUSEN, Wm Circuit Rider 1842-1848
BLATTNER, J. Circuit Rider 1842-1848
JOST, Rev. Circuit Rider 1842-1848
KOENECKE, H. F. (Pietist) Oct 1848-Oct 1850
(First Resident Preacher)
SCHMIDT, Jno Oct 1850-Oct 1852
KLIPPEL, Adam Oct 1852-Oct 1853
LOWENSTEIN, Aloys (Jesuit) Oct 1853-Oct 1854
KECK, Jno. 1854-1856
KOENECKE Sr., Henry (Lutheran) Oct 1856-Oct 1858
SCHMIDT, H. D. Oct 1858- Oct 1860
HAVIGHORST, Rudolph Oct 1860- Oct 1862
KRIEGE, E. H. Oct 1862- Oct 1863
TIMKEN, Gerhard Oct 1863- Oct 1864
KRIEGE, E. H. Oct 1864- Oct 1866
SCHLAGENHAUF, John (Luth) Oct 1866-Oct 1869
HEINTZ, Friedrich R. Oct 1869-Sept 1872
KOENECKE, Wm. 9 Sept 1872-9 Sept 1873
SCHLAGENHAUF, John 9 Sept 1873-Sept 1876
HÜNE, David Sept 1876-Sept 1879
WILKENING, William (Luth) Sept 1879-Sept 1882
SCHUETZ, William Sept 1882-Sept 1885
SCHOENIG, William (Lutheran) Sept 1885-Sept 1887
RODENBERG, Chas. (Lutheran) Sept 1887-Sept 1892
ENZEROTH, Geo. (Reformed) Sept 1892-Sept 1894
JACOBY, Phil. W. (Lutheran) Sept 1894-Sept 1895
SCHLAGENHAUF, John Sept 1895-Sept 1897
RAPP, John C. Sept 1897-Sept 1899
MAHLE, Fred L. Sept 1899-Sept 1900
SCHLUETER, F. W. 1900-1909
MAGARET, E. C. (Lutheran) 1909-1917
TEMPLE, H. A. 1917-1919
GISLER, J. 1919-1920
OTTO, F. F. 1920-1925
HUMPHREY, G. A. 1926-1930
BROWN, P. B. 1930-1938
DAWDY, C. C. (Baptist) 1938-1941
WRIGHT, Silas C. 1941-1943
ATTEY, John E. 1943-1947
JONES, Alfred L. 1948-1950
Henry KOENECKE 1845 - 1849
Phil KUHL 1849 - 1852
F. KERKMANN 1852 only 6 mo (died)
Henry F. KOENECKE 1853 - 1856
Geo. BOESHERS 1856 - 1860
Wm. SCHRECK 1860 - 1864
G. TIMKEN 1864 - 1868
Phil NAUMANN 1868 - 1872
J. W. SCHLAGENHAUF 1872 - 1873
Wm. KOENECKE 1873 - 1877
Chas. RODENBERG 1877 - 1881
J. H. HILMERS 1881 - 1886
Chas HEIDEL 1885 - 1891
Edw. E. HERZLER 1891 - 1894
Wm. KONECKE 1894 - 1900
F. L. MAHLE 1900 - 1904
F. BRINKMEYER` 1904 - 1909
J. N. RAPP 1909 - 1915
J. GISLER 1915 - 1920
D. S. WAHL 1920 - 1925
D. R. GOODMAN 1925 - 1926
W. H. WHITLOCK 1926 - 1930
W. L. McVEY 1930 - 1932
W. F. BENNETT 1932 - 1936
C. L. PETERSON 1937 - 1940
Walter BROWN 1940-
History of Union United Methodist Church, 1950 - 1998
721 East Main St., Belleville Illinois, 1950 - 1998
In 1950 the congregations of the First Methodist Church and the Jackson Street Methodist Church united and formed Union Methodist Church, with Dr. W. L. HANBAUM serving as the first pastor. Members of the two congregations voted on the merger at separate meetings at 8:00 pm May 10, 1950. The unanimous vote of approval was signaled by the ringing of the bells at the respective churches, after which the members of First Methodist adjourned and joined the Jackson Street members, and hymns were sung and prayers were offered.
Members of First Methodist on the Merger Committee included L. Dean McKINLEY, Cecil RAPP, J. C. LAWBURGH, Mrs. E. C. REED, and Mrs. O. H. CROSS, while Jackson Street members included S. E. ELFIELD, Fred BERKEY, Harold WINKER, Leroy VOELKEL, and Miss Anna WAGNER. The members voted to build a new church on the East Main Street site of Jakob BROSIUS' historic "Kronthal" mansion, and in 1955 the sanctuary was completed. A fireplace from the Jakob BROSIUS castle was placed in the Agnes HAMILL room at Union. The Building Committee was comprised of L. Dean McKINLEY Chairman, E. A. ARNEY, Fred BERKEY, Mrs. O. H. CROSS, L. R. EMERY, Loran GLOCK, Geo. HAEUBER Sr., Henry RAAB, Elmer C. REED, Mrs. Leroy VOELKEL, J. H. WALWARK and Robt. E. WOODWARD.
Prior to the building of the new church, morning worship services were held in the First Methodist and the evening worship service in the Jackson Street Church. Dr. Eugene LECKRONE became the second pastor in January 1953...and retired in December 1974.
... On January 12, 1955 the last service at First Methodist was held, followed by a communion service in the new Union Methodist. There was a walk from the old church to the new. Some items from each church were brought to the Union Church. From First Methodist: the organ, the upper portion of 10 stained glass windows (depicting various religious symbols), lectern and communion table (Rayhill Hall), decorative panels and large wooden arch (Leckrone Hall), Communion Arch and Bell. From Jackson Street: Communion table 1/2 (Sanctuary) and 1/2 (Asbury Hall), and Communion Chalice.
The Saturday and Sunday evening programs, begun at First Methodist in 1941 for Scott Air Force Base personnel and church members, continued into the 1950's. Ground breaking for the four story Education Building was held 8 June 1958 and the building was completed in 1960.
In 1968 The Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church merged and Union Methodist Church became Union United Methodist Church. There was a special service on 23 November 1969 for the burning of the Mortgage on Union church.
In 1977 the Epworth Methodist Church in West Belleville closed and several members joined Union. [Epworth's records were located at the Illinois Great Rivers Conference Office–Archives and History Department, 1211 N. Park, Bloomington, Illinois in 1998.] The church library, available to all members of the church, was begun in 1977. Two engraved communion chalices dated 1871 from First Methodist were donated to Union in 1978. A list of Memorials given was compiled and entered into a Memorial Book in 1996. A Memorial Board with place for name plates was started in 1997. A computer system was installed in the Church Office that is kept up to date with the latest technology.
After Dr. Robert KrRAUSE was appointed District Supt. of the Carbondale District in 1986, Dr. William B. LEWIS became pastor until he was elected Bishop of the Dakota Conference in 1988 when Dr. Robert R. SMITH was appointed pastor.
In 1989-90 the sanctuary was redecorated... New stained glass windows, representing the life of Christ, a new twenty-six rank Buzard pipe organ and a four-story elevator were added in 1993. The organ and new choir robes were dedicated in September 1993...
In the mid 1990's the nursery and classrooms in the Education building were redecorated. Dr. Robert SMITH served until the 1996 appointment of Rev. Edward WESTON. In August 1996 the Southern Illinois and Central Conferences merged to form the Illinois Great River Conference and East St. Louis changed to to Mississippi River District.
In 1998 handicapped accessible restrooms were built adjacent to the sanctuary. Union United Methodist has been active in helping establish and support other churches including Christ in Fairview Heights, Wesley-Bethel in East St. Louis, Hope in Highland, Grace in Washington Park, and Living Waters in O'Fallon.
Twenty members of Union Church entered the ordained ministry. Students from McKendree College (Lebanon, Illinois) have served at Union over the years... Union has directly supported missionaries abroad and sent its youth on mission trips near and far, including East St. Louis, Southern Illinois, Florida, South Dakota (Indian Reservation), Kentucky, and Minnesota...
... There are several Choirs including: Childrens, Youth, and Sanctuary Choir, along with two handbell Choirs...
Organizations of the church in 1998 included: Stephen Ministry, Children's and Youth Fellowship, Adult Fellowship, United Methodist Men, United Methodist Women with seven circles including a Quilting Circle. "The Tidings" (a newsletter) is published every other Thursday and provides information about the church activities.
... under the leadership of Pastor Edward Weston...[the church] is embarking upon another ambitious building project. The adjacent property (former Schifferdecker Interiors) has been purchased and will be converted into the McKinley Christian Center. This project will include a new main entrance connecting the buildings, offices, retail space for the Women's Crisis Center, classrooms, a youth center, day care center, kitchen, and space for a gymnasium, auditorium, and banquet hall. [Note: This new structure was destroyed by fire shortly after completion, summer of 2002. Historical records and the Union church building were spared, but contemporary membership records had to be reconstructed. The replacement building was completed and dedicated in November 2004.]
Pastors who served Union Methodist Church, 721 East Main Street, Belleville, Illinois
* Senior Pastors
HANBAUM, Dr. W. L.* June 1950-Nov 1952
LECKRONE, Dr. Eugene* Jan 1953-Dec 1974
DEAN, Kenneth 1957-1958
KNOX, Roger June 1965-June 1967
CAUSER, William 1967-1972
SHEARBURN, Wally 1972-1973
RUCKER, James 1973-1974
POWERS, Daniel 1974-1975
KRAUSE, Dr. Robert* Jan 1975-June 1986
PHILLIPS, R. J. 1975-1977
LAWRENCE, Scott 1977-1980
SADLER, Edward June 1980-June 1985
KRUMEICH, Jay C. 1984-1986
LEWIS, Dr. William B.* June 1986-Aug 1988
PYATT, William G. 1986-1991
KNEALE, Bernhard 1992-1994
SMITH, Dr Robert R.* Aug 1988-Dec 1995
GEORGE, Clifford W. 1990-1992
STOVER, Earl 1992-1995
TAGLIERI, Sheryl 1992-1995
WESTON, Edward* Jan 1996-
McKELVEY, Bob Nov 1995-
KRUMEICH, Jay C. Sept 1998-
WOOD, Holly Sept 1998
Dr. Eugene LECKRONE Pastor Emeritus
Pastors in Residence: Dr. Evyn ADAMS, Dr. Clyde FUNKHOUSER Roger KNOX, Dr. Robert KRAUSE Edward SADLER, Earl STOVER Ministers [include] Every member of the Church