Friedens Peace United Church of Christ was started by a group of residents
who broke off from the St. Paul ’s Lutheran Church. In 1858, there were two
Lutheran Churches in New Melle – St. Peter’s and St. Paul ’s. St. Paul ’s
congregation joined the Missouri Synod. That same year the St. Peter’s
Congregation built a new church of native stone (the building that is now
St. Paul ’s). The two churches were originally united, but had split over
doctrinal issues. In 1868, they reunited and became St. Paul ’s Missouri
Synod Lutheran Church.
Some members continued to be unhappy and according to St. Paul ’s records,
the dissent was over doctrine. The first records of Friedens begin in 1904.
Some family names appear in both the St. Paul and Friedens Peace records.
Included in both records were the families of Henry Schewede,
John Nienheuser, Jacob Boehm, Ernst Brakensiek, and John Doermann. Fourteen voting members had a dream of starting a new church by accepting the doctrinal statement of the German Evangelical Church Society of the West. This new church would eventually become the
Friedens Peace United Church of Christ we know today.
The first minister was Rev. Stroetker, resident Pastor of St. John’s Church in Cappeln. This was the beginning of a long history of sharing a minister with St. John’s . The first service was held in German on August 28, 1904 , in the Peniel Methodist Church on Schutzen Street (now a private residence).
Over the years, the church has undergone several changes in its name. It was founded under the name Deutsche Evangelische Friedens Kirche. As the mission of the church changed and the German language began to disappear from the area, it became Friedens Evangelical Church. The Evangelical denomination merged and the church became Friedens Evangelical & Reformed. With the next merger, the church became Friedens United Church of Christ.
Over time, the area continued to change. The German language almost completely disappeared and the question was frequently asked, “What does Friedens mean?” To help people understand the name, the church became Friedens (Peace) United Church of Christ, and remains so today. This transition took place when the congregation moved into the new sanctuary in 1980.
Historical information for this article provided by Ida Gerdiman
Source: “Early History of Friedens (Peace)” by Bill Schiermeier and Ida Gerdiman, 2002
Thanks to Dianne Sudbrock with Boone Country Connection for providing this write-up.