Our Heritage

St. Jacob United Church of Christ is Over 150 Years Old

Our church is over 150 yrs old. Our congregation was born in faith, inspired by a small band of Christians, and a building was their dream come true. Many changes have affected the building, but our Christian heritage has stood strong. Our church has been a Christian worship center, a community and world outreach, a meeting place for song devotionals, a children's learning center, a fellowship hall, and the gathering place of baptisms, weddings and funerals for all of those 150 yrs. The age of our church should be calculated based upon all the people it has brought into a closer relationship with God. The history of a church might be best measured in the spiritual services it renders, the social progress it encourages and supports, the community of faith and fellowship it sustains, and the heritage it passes to subsequent generations.

The church was originally formed as an interdenominational church and later became an "independent" Evangelical church, indicating its leaning toward that irenic, uniting group of churches. 1915 was the last confirmation class done in German. German services were discontinued in 1928. Over 100 yrs ago the Rev. Augustus Lepiq then in his second pastorate (1856-1860) at the Allegemeine Christliche Kirche (a church for Christians of all denominations) in Highland, IL met with a number of men in St. Jacob, IL, for the purpose of organizing a congregation. Arrangements were also made at this meeting for his services in conducting Divine Worship every two weeks and for all other pastoral work which would require his services. The congregation was organized and adopted the name: "Die Allgemeine Christliche Kirche in St. Jacob". The first minutes, written by Pastor Lepique, were dated June 1, 1856. There is no available record of the Charter Members of the congregation.

For many years this little flock was served by pastors from our neighboring congregation in Highland. The congregation finally became strong enough in membership and was financially able to employ a resident pastor, Pastor Jargstorff (1882-88), who rented the Tobler place, in the east end of town. The three men on the Contributor's list were apparently the founders of St. Jacob. The congregation in its infancy was taking root and preparing for the future, for the minutes indicate that in June, 1867, a plot of ground, 60'x180', on which red brick church was later built, was purchased from Paul Zuckweiler and Catherine, his wife. No written records have been found from 1869-1882. In Jan. 1895, a narrow strip of ground was purchased from Frederick Spies and Anna Spies, his wife. This property adjoined on the east the property purchased from Paul Zuckweiler on which the red brick church was built in 1869. Sometime soon after the merger of the Evangelical Synod of North America with the Reformed Churchin the US in 1934 the name of our congregation was again changed. It was not until 1954, however, that all the property of the congregation was placed under the same legal title Evangelical and Reformed Church St. Jacob, IL. The minutes of the 1964 congregational meeting stated the new name of the Church to be St. Jacob UCC. It was 1970 before the name was legally changed. The first baptism was recorded on April 8, 1860. The first marriage was December 23, 1871. The first burial was April 8, 1860.

In 1979 a yoke was formed with the Summerfield UCC. The church was destroyed by a tornado in 1906 and was rebuilt in1907.