History of the Evan UMC

The early settlers who comprised the congregation came from the East, mainly from Ohio and Pennsylvania. During the year 1851-1852, Reverend Jacob Schaefele, an early circuit rider, began to preach in Washington, Illinois with the first meetings being held in members homes. For a while they were permitted to hold their services in the Presbyterian Church.

In 1853 the congregation was organized and became known as the Zion Evangelical Church. The growing membership purchased the present property from David Kern for $80 (worth well over $3,000 today) and erected a log church which was dedicated on Christmas Day.

During the pastorate of Reverend William Schmus, the second church building was constructed at a cost of $5,000. The large frame church was dedicated in October, 1882 until the second structure would no longer answer the needs of the congregation, so a new building was constructed.

The new edifice incorporated the old church which had been moved to the north of the lot, all veneered with the vitrified brick of which the new structure was built. Dedication ceremonies took place on December 31, 1911, during the pastorate of Reverend G. A. Manshardt.

In 1921, The Farmdale Church merged with the Washington congregation. This was followed in 1922 by a merger of the Holland’s Grove congregation with the Washington church. In 1946 a merger took place between two denominations; namely, The Evangelical and the United Brethren in Christ. At that time, this congregation changed its name to Zion Evangelical United Brethren.

A major renovation was completed with reopening services on March 30, 1952. The $35,364 improvement came during the pastorate of Reverend H.O. Zimmerman. A week of special services in honor of our centennial anniversary climaxed on Sunday, October 11, 1953. Bishop E.W. Praetorius spoke at the two services. On Palm Sunday, April 10, 1960, a very beautiful and inspirational chapel and three attractive classrooms were dedicated. Under the leadership of Reverend Wilbur Payne, this was accomplished by remodeling a portion of the existing building.

In 1968 there was a merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. As a result of this merger, this congregation now goes by the official name of the Evangelical United Methodist Church.

From 1964 through 1969, the congregation accumulated seven pieces of property, including a new parsonage, in anticipation of future expansion. Although the total value of the property purchased was $97,602.00, final payment on the debt was made in 1971. The congregation moved ahead with planning for future building. An architect was employed and a study group appointed. 1972 began with a very successful financial drive for a building fund under the direction of Dr. Wesley McKelvey from the Department of Finance and Field Service. On March 1, 1972 the congregation ventured into a building program. The elected building committee formed plans for an educational unit and fellowship hall which were approved on September 17 as well as the financing program.

On April 28, 1974 we celebrated the completion of our new educational unit. The final cost of the building and furnishings was $363,631.67.

On March 13, 1978, the Trustees recommended to proceed with a building committee to study regarding a new sanctuary.

On May 4, 1980, ground breaking for the sanctuary was held. The sanctuary was occupied Palm Sunday, April 12, 1981.



Ministers Who Served the Washington Congregation

  • 1853-1854 – Rev. Snow and Rev. Schaefele
  • 1854-1856 – Rev. Christian Hummel
  • 1856-1859 – Rev. Jacob Himmel
  • 1859-1861 – Rev. Jacob Schaefele
  • 1861-1862 – Rev. Christian Kopp
  • 1862-1863 – Rev. J.P. Kramer
  • 1863-1864 – Rev. C.J. Speilman
  • 1864-1866 – Rev. John Miller
  • 1866-1868 – Rev. W.F. Walker
  • 1868-1870 – Rev. Heinrich Hintze
  • 1870-1872 – Rev. F.G. Zinser
  • 1872-1873 – Rev. John Kurtz
  • 1873-1874 – Rev. E. Von Freeden
  • 1874-1877 – Rev. G.H. Schumacker
  • 1877-1879 – Rev. V.A. Tobias
  • 1879-1882 – Rev. W. Neitz
  • 1882-1885 – Rev. William Schmus
  • 1885-1887 – Rev. C. Augenstein
  • 1887-1890 – Rev. J.B. Elfrink
  • 1890-1893 – Rev. E.J. Troyer
  • 1893-1896 – Rev. E. Von Freedon
  • 1896-1897 – Rev. J.K. Bauerie
  • 1897-1901 – Rev. J.H. Blaser
  • 1901-1903 – Rev. S. Nauman
  • 1903-1904 – Rev. H.F. Ebert
  • 1904-1906 – Rev. F.F. Jordan
  • 1906-1910 – Rev. C.J. Schaefer
  • 1910-1915 – Rev. G.A. Manshardt
  • 1915-1916 – Rev. Leo Schmidt
  • 1916-1920 – Rev. J.C. Schaefer
  • 1920-1924 – Rev. E. Burgi
  • 1924-1929 – Rev. William Beuscher
  • 1929-1934 – Rev. H.B. Schaefer
  • 1934-1941 – Rev. G.H. Wykle
  • 1941-1943 – Rev. William Beuscher
  • 1943-1944 – Rev. Wm. Beuscher and Rev. J.C. Schaefer
  • 1944-1951 – Rev. E.M. Diener
  • 1951-1957 – Rev. H.O. Zimmerman
  • 1957-1960 – Rev. Wilbur Payne
  • 1960-1967 – Rev. Milford Best
  • 1967-1977 – Rev. Robert Hartman
  • 1977-1984 – Rev. Claude Mosher
  • 1984-1994 – Rev. William Leppin
  • 1994-2000 – Rev. Robert Wood
  • 2000-2007 – Rev. Richard Sullins
  • 2007-2015 – Rev. John Hauck
  • 2015-Present – Rev. Dr. Camilla Hempstead

This building is the fourth one erected in the same general area. The congregation was organized in 1853 and now includes three former Evangelical Churches:  Washington, Farmdale, and Holland’s Grove.

Since 1964 a number of properties occupying the present site were acquired and removed making way for our present Educational Building, Fellowship Hall, Sanctuary and Parking areas.

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Date posted: February 18, 2018Last modified: October 29, 2021