Church History

2135History of Our Church

Zion United Church of Christ, founded in 1912, has a rich history.



Our founding era was a time of change and new beginnings in this German-immigrant community. People were moving into Union from the surrounding farms to work in the factories. In 1912, a group of women gathered and committed themselves to establishing an Evangelical witness. A short time later, Zions Evangelisches Kirche (Zion Evangelical Church) was formed. The women then committed themselves to keeping things going. They cooked apple butter in the alley behind the original building to raise money for the church, sponsored church picnics at Barlage Springs, and gathered at one another’s homes for all-day quilting events. Zion conducted its services in German until around 1927, though an English-speaking service had been added years earlier. The year we decided to have all English-speaking services, the women petitioned the all-male church council to be allowed to continue holding their meetings in German – and were denied!


churchhands1950 to 1980

During the years from 1950 to 1980, the car plants in St. Louis provided jobs, the Arch went up, and our community grew. Union added onto its high school, built the city lake, and became the site for a new community college. In 1957 the Evangelical & Reformed Church joined with the Congregational Christian churches to become the United Church of Christ, and we changed our name to Zion UCC.

We entered this period with a brand-new education wing that folks say made them feel cared for as children. When Rev. John Stevesand arrived as pastor in 1958, we were ready to expand again. We tore down the old church and met for two years in the Central Elementary School building while our current sanctuary was being built. People remember this as the Stevesand era, a time when “Rev. John was in charge and Adult Fellowship was in full swing” with George Washington Birthday Dinners, picnics in the park, choirs and youth fellowship activities of all kinds.


Our Story Today2DigitalChanges

We have many assets in our local community – the college, schools, churches. The best assets we have, though, are the people who give countless hours to serve in community leadership positions. We are proud that so many of these call Zion their church home.  We continue to honor the heritage of the past hundred years while preparing to meet the needs of the next hundred. In 1997 under the leadership of Rev. David Brune, we completed a beautiful addition to our building. In 2006 we launched Faith Quest, our workshop-rotation Sunday school for kindergarten through fifth-grade. At that time we also changed from a committee structure to ministry teams, providing a more flexible, permission-giving approach to service. New teams that have recently formed include a library team, a prayer-shawl ministry, a cycling group called Folks on Spokes, and a team that serves community dinner at First Presbyterian once month. What ministry would you like to start?

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