HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF CHRIST UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Christ Evangelical Church of Dupo was organized on April 18, 1920, by Rev. William Schlinkman of Columbia, IL. The first meeting was held at the town hall in Dupo, and the following fifteen charter members were present: Messrs. George C. Lindemann, Joseph Pittman, George Hauser, Richard Heller, Fred Meyer, Arthur Schroeder, August Kruse, Emil Frederick, Charles Koch, William Nolte, Jacob Otten, William Lindemann, George McConkey, August and Ferd Nieman.
Services were first conducted in the Dupo Theatre under the leadership of Mr. George Hildebrand, a student from Eden Seminary. After he was ordained, he was appointed as the regular pastor of the congregation. His installation and the future worship services were then held in the Dupo Grade School Building.
On June 15, 1920, the Ladies’ Aid was organized by Mr. and Mrs. George Lindemann, with eight charter members. To this energetic organization most of the credit should be given for the rapid advancement of the congregation.
Plans were now begun to purchase a suitable site for the church building. After careful inspection of several available sites, the Trustees and members purchased the present site from Miss Emma Lindemann of Columbia, IL. for the sum of $1100.00. The building of the basement at a cost of $5,000.00 was begun at once. On October 10, 1920, the corner-stone of the building was laid. Rev. O. W. Heggemeier of Alton, IL. at that time Vice-President of the Southern Illinois District, preached the sermon and laid the stone according to the form in our Evangelical Book of Worship.
The membership of the young congregation grew rapidly and by November 23, 1920, the Brotherhood was organized with 20 charter members, by Brother A.W. Baltz of East St. Louis, then President of the Southern Illinois Federation of Brotherhoods.
Application for membership in the Evangelical Synod of North America was made on February 20, 1921, and it was accepted at the District Conference at Staunton, Il., in April, 1921.
In August, 1922, Rev. Hildebrand was offered a wider opportunity in a large church in Chicago, and his resignation was accepted in October with great loss and regret by the congregation.
From the last Sunday in October, 1922, services were conducted by Mr. John Kehoe, then a student at Eden Seminary. On June 17, 1923, he was ordained and on July 8 was installed by Rev. Phillip Bassler of Centralia, IL., as the regular pastor.
Housing conditions being very acute in Dupo at that time, on September 17, 1923, it was unanimously decided to build a parsonage, which was completed at a cost of $4,216.00. it was dedicated on December 39 with Rev. E. R. Jaeger of East St. Louis officiating.
As all work fostered by God prospers, so prospered the work of Christ Evangelical Church. By April, 1925, the membership had grown to two hundred and all indebtedness on the buildings having been paid, a campaign was begun for the erection of the present edifice. With the splendid support of the members, the Trustees and Pastor were able to have the plans and specifications, prepared by Architects Riester and Rubach of East St. Louis, ready for adoption by the congregation in June. These were unanimously accepted and the building committee was instructed to call for bids for the erection of same.
Owning, and having paid for, in five years, about eleven thousand dollars worth of property, two hundred loyal and faithful members, they felt safe and secure in moving forward with this their greatest project, and called for bids as instructed by the Congregation.
At a special congregational meeting held July 5, 1925, bidders were award bona fide contracts by the members in meeting assembled, by a vote of forty-four “for” and two “against.” A building fund drive was organized for a vigorous campaign for funds. The sum of $4,468.75 was pledged and collected by the membership . A first mortgage of $15,000.00 at 5% was satisfactorily arranged with the First National Bank of East. St. Louis, IL. plus a $3,000.00 loan from the Dupo State Savings Bank.
The entire building was completed on schedule and the dedication service was held on January 31, 1926, with Rev. F. J. Langhorst of O’Fallon, IL., President of the South Illinois District, officiating. An overflowing crowd attended. Monday night, February 1, 1926, was celebrated as Brotherhood night with the address by W. A. Baltz of E. St. Louis. Tuesday night was Ladies’ Aid night with Rev. E. R. Jaeger, E. St. Louis, delivering the sermon. Thursday night was the climax of the celebration with Community Night, Rev. G. Brink of Waterloo and Rev. W. T. Boyd of the Congregational Church of Dupo delivering the sermons. A large memorial window depicting “The Good Samaritan” was the gift of Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Lindemann, in memory of their parents. The Sunday School contributed the stone baptismal font, and the Brotherhood provided a new large pulpit Bible. All members of the congregation were happy with their new church. They worshipped faithfully, always mindful of the fact that it was with God’s help that they accomplished their goal. But their spirits were lowered when the resignation of Rev. Kehoe was tendered on September 24, 1926, effective at once, to accept a pastoral position near his home town, Baltimore, Maryland.