to our past
St. John’s United Church of Christ is located in an area known as Cappeln, which was named in honor of Westerkappeln in northern Germany where many of the current residents’ ancestors lived prior to their emigration to America in the early 1800s. Many of the old family names still remain in the church membership as a reminder of our church’s foundation.
St. John’s began with a charter as a part of the German Evangelical Synod of North America in 1857. A permanent church building began in 1862, but completion of the building was delayed until 1865 because of the Civil War. This building has been improved upon through the years and still serves as the sanctuary to this day.
One hundred and seventy seven years ago, the Borgelt family of Cappeln donated forty acres of land to St. John’s for use as the church grounds. That gift remains today as the setting for the facilities of St. John’s. As one drives the paved lane from the main road, the view is one of a large open lawn with scattered shade trees and surrounded by forest. The original church is native stone and was upgraded as recently as five years ago with an expanded narthex and bathroom facility. The Old German School building is now a museum and is used as a country store at our annual picnic and at our sausage supper. Since 2003, St. John’s has enjoyed a new Family Life Center which provides a large commercial kitchen and dining center as well as Sunday school classrooms, pastor’s office, church office and several multi-use rooms.
St. John’s enjoys the fellowship of a “cluster” of United Church of Christ congregations in our area with a common background founded by the missionary zeal of the minister from our church neighbor Femme Osage almost two centuries ago. Our church family is proud of our heritage and plans to worship in our country setting for generations to come.
To learn more about our heritage, visit our HERITAGE WEBSITE.