SIDNEY — St. Paul’s United Church of Christ is preparing to celebrate 150 years in existence. The church has not always been located at 707 N. Ohio. It started at the corner of Lane and Miami Streets.
“We have two special events. Nov. 4 is our Anniversary Sunday. We’re having a special service with a catered lunch by the Spot, downstairs. We’ll also have a slide presentation of the history of the church. We just celebrated the 63rd year of this building in April,” said Pastor Jim Oates, “We have some other events happening in November, but on the last Sunday of the month, we will be hosting the Ohio Valley British Brass Band.”
They will play the entire service, playing 1868marches and fanfares. The band will play a variety of music, including hymns and other songs.
The early years
At its founding, St. Paul’s held services at the corner of Lane and Miami streets in Sidney. The church existed there for 20 years. For a while the church met at the Oddfellows hall, the assembly room at the courthouse and the engine house on Water Stree. From there, they moved to the property that is now the parking lot for Cromes-Edwards Funeral Home. Finally, in 1955, the present church was built because a committee found that it would be more economical for them to build a new church than to fix the problems with the existing one. The pastor just found out that a box was placed in the cornerstone with memories of the time. They may find out how to get to the box and add some current memories to it.
The current building
The building fund began and was successful very quickly. The church paid off the loan rather quickly as well. The original things, such as the boiler, just had to be replaced this year. The church has taken the lessons of their forefathers to heart. The new boiler, etc. has been a bit more expensive, but they should last the next 40 years.
“They laid the cornerstone in 1954, but the contractor died suddenly, so Jane’s (Peterson) dad took over as the contractor to get this building finished,” said Oates, “They had a lot of foresight. For instance, you can get into this building with no steps. In 1955, that was a lot of foresight.”
In the sanctuary are several stain glass windows that tell the story of Jesus’ life, starting with the Birth of Jesus and culminating with the Resurrection.
Memories of the church
One of the biggest differences remembered by church member, Jane Peterson, is the apparel.
“I remember my mother always wore a hat, and we had to wear dresses. Dress is a lot more casual now. I don’t think that’s a problem. It’s just different,” said Peterson.
Another difference is attendance. It used to be that people only missed church for illness or vacation.
“It was a very important part of our lives to go to church. It was always was church. Church was like a spoon. It would feed you and nourish you. It nourishes your heart and soul. Still it’s a big part of my life,” said Peterson.
There is also a difference is in the services. The church was founded by German settlers in the area, and so, the first services were in German.
“Until the 1930s all the services were in German. For a while after that, there was a service in German and one in English,” said Oates.
Worship service begins at 10:15 a.m. with the message following. For more information, contact the church on Facebook or by calling 937- 492-8540.