In 1887 the first attempt to gather together the German Evangelicals who had migrated to Springfield, Missouri as a part of a massive immigration from Germany was made by Rev. Baltzer and Rev. Walzer, ministers at the Evangelical Church in Billings, Missouri.
On September 17th, 1887 the Springfield Daily Herald reported that the German Evangelistic Church met at 4:00 p.m. in St. Paul's United Methodist Church on the corner of Walnut and South Streets. The text was "The Periscope of the Church." The Scripture reading was Ephesians 3:13-21. Holy Baptism was conferred on "five beloved children of different ages." The group sang three suitable songs of Mozart and the "Chapel Schutzgerst Sandag Song". On occasions when the building was not available, the meetings were held in Cumberland Presbyterian Church on the corner of Jefferson and Olive Streets. Services were also held at Stone Chapel on the campus of Drury College. These arrangements continued for about three years.
Not having a full-time minister can sometimes cause a congregation to falter, but the German Evangelicals were determined to continue meeting, remaining steadfast in their faith that they would soon have a permanent minister. Mr. Charles Gorges, a member of the group, happened to be in St. Louis when he met Rev. R. Agricola, who at the time had no idea what was in store for him. Mr. Gorges told of the Church's plight and Rev. Agricola came to Springfield to investigate the possibilities. After careful consideration, Rev. Agricola said he'd be willing to serve as minister to the congregation. Rev. Baltzer, however, was reluctant to hand him the reins because Rev. Agricola was not a member of the Synod. Rev. Agricola convinced him that he would become a member of the Synod, and so in 1887 he became St. John's first minister. Eager to get started, he invited a number of German families to an informal conference concerning the organization of the Church. The group met in the German Free School Society Hall in The Kirby Arcade on the southwest corner of the downtown Springfield Square. After a few weeks, on October 17th, 1887, the Congregation met, the Constitution of the Church was read, and the Council was elected. All of this took place in Cumberland Presbyterian Church on the corner of Jefferson and Olive Streets.
The first Church home was a private residence on the south side of Nichols Street, east of Main Street. They met here while the Church Hall was being built. This residence was used as a Sanctuary for about one and a half years. The Church Hall served the congregation in one way or another until it was razed in 1948 to make way for the Parish Hall. In 1906 the new Church building was built on the corner of Scott Street and Main Avenue at a cost of $2,600. In 1918 an eight room parsonage was built. In 1924 a new addition to the Church was built at a cost of $7,000. The Geneva pipe organ was dedicated on June 6th, 1937. From 1889 to 1920, German was the only language used in Church Services, Sunday School, Confirmation and German School. The Rev. F. Klemme noticed that enrollment had decreased due to the fact the German was no longer taught in the home and so he introduced the English language to the Church.
In 1960 a study was conducted to see if a new UCC Congregation should be started in Springfield. See below: Additional Information - St. John's Chapel UCC.
St. John's Church has since seen many pastors over the years. Most recently our congregation was blessed with Pastor Sol Codillo, Pastor Doug Burwick, and Pastor Michael Olmsted. Currently St. John's is very pleased to have Pastor Dr. John L. White.
St. John's Church's long standing music director and organist is Kay Ann Sherrill, whose distinguished talent and joy of music bring to life the church's stately Geneva pipe organ, adding richness and celebration to every service.
Pastor John L. White
Music Director Kay Ann Sherrill
Previous pastors: Michael Olmsted, Sol Codillo, and Doug Burwick ... April, 2014
St. John's 125 Year Anniversary Celebration ... October, 2012
- St. John's Geneva Pipe Organ
- Missouri Mid-South Conference
- United Church of Christ
- St. John's Chapel UCC In 1960 a study was conducted to see if a new UCC Congregation should be started in Springfield. In September of that same year property was purchased on South Fremont. The Chapel of St. John's UCC was dedicated on September 19th, 1971, at 4344 S. Fremont. The new Chapel soon outgrew its building and plans were laid for the construction of a new Sanctuary. That building was dedicated on October 14th, 1984. The Chapel, now a separate Congregation, continues to prosper and grow.