Celebrating 175 Years in Mission and Ministry

In June 1848, seven years before Freeport was incorporated as a city, a small group of German immigrants met at a house on the 300 block of West Pleasant Street to welcome an auspicious movement of God’s ever-creating and still-speaking Spirit.

With family names like Kochsmier, Tewes, Mengedohd, Boedeker, Hunkemeier, Reisenberger, Lesemann, Altenberg, Bodmann, Burkhard, and Beine, the Evangelische St. Johannes Gemeinde zu Freeport began its life and ministry.

Now, some one hundred seventy five (or einhundertfünfundsiebzig ) years later, we celebrate the beginning of our demisemiseptcentennial year, living out our mission to be the church that God continues to call us to be in Freeport and beyond.

Throughout this year, we will mark the milestones of our congregation’s mission and ministry, and look forward to the places that God is calling us to live out the Gospel that is known thorough our inclusive, progressive love. Watch the Tidings and our Facebook page for more on our anniversary celebrations.

St. John UCC at 175:
Inspired to always be the church we are called to be
in Freeport and beyond.

Anniversary Events

Check here for the latest "St. John UCC at 175" Anniversary Events

  • Pentecost Potluck Picnic - 6/4/2023

    Start the summer off with a gathering of friends!  Add your names to the Sign-Up Sheet located on the Bulletin Board or call the church office.

    Stay after for the Period Pack Packing Party!

    Save the date, and plan your favorite summer dish to pass!

  • Jesus Christ Superstar 50th Anniversary Viewing Party

    September 9, 7:00 pm

    On Saturday, September 9, St. John UCC will host a special screening of Jesus Christ Superstar (the original 1973 film) hosted by, and with a live introduction and discussion from, actor Ted Neeley, who shares his powerful voice and presence in the character of Jesus.

    Based on the long-running Broadway performancewritten by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, this film tells the story of the final six days in the life of Jesus Christ through the troubled eyes of Judas Iscariot.

    This is a ticketed event, and General Admission tickets are available now through Eventbrite (CLICK THIS LINK).

    Additionally, special VIP gathering tickets with Ted Neely can be purchased through his website (CLICK THIS LINK).

     Our viewing party is a special event for our 175th Anniversary Celebration. Proceeds will help support our anniversary events and special projects for the Worship & Arts Fund. Contact the church office for more information, or for help to get your tickets.

St. John at 175: Moments of our History

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  • The United Church of Christ General Synod has designated the creation of Period Packs as a service project for this summer’s General Synod 2023. Also known as Menstrual Hygiene Kits, these packs are offered through Church World Services and provide a month’s supply of products to get a person who menstruates through their period.

    This synod project is an offshoot of the UCC’s Thursdays in Black campaign to end gender-based violence. Rev. Monica Dawkins-Smith, executive associate for UCC Wider Church Ministries and coordinator of the project for General Synod said:

    “[W]e want to provide free access to essential period products to help vulnerable people facing period poverty so they can avoid using unsanitary alternatives or making unsafe choices to earn income to purchase these products.”

    As of Sunday, 6/4/2023 we have collected supplies and funds to complete this mission in time for Synod!  The Period Packs were prepared at the Pentecost Picnic, and will be delivered to General Synod in Indianapolis by Rev. Rachel and Rev. Hank, who will attend as Delegates from the Illinois Conference UCC.

  • In June 1848, a small group of German immigrants met to welcome an auspicious movement of God’s ever-creating and still-speaking Spirit. One odd bit of our congregation’s history is the date of that meeting was not recorded officially. Yes, we have books of baptismal, marriage, and funeral records dating back 175 years. We have meeting minutes and committee correspondence for over a century. Even with the fire that felled the church house on Galena Street, much of our history has meticulously kept.

    Except the day of that meeting.

    In 2002, our congregation formally changed its name to St. John United Church of Christ (officially known by several modifications of that name since our incorporation in 1850). At that time, a more complete reading of our records took place, and it was discovered that the date of Pentecost (or June 11, 1848) had been used since the 100th anniversary as the founding day! While this may be more apocryphal than factual, Pentecost is a good choice to celebrate the founding of a Christian faith community!