St. Peter’s keeps His light shining
By Mike Mathes
Sunday School children at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ engage the congregation in song reminding them to let the light of Jesus shine each day.

Jesus is the Light of the World.

So go the words of a familiar spine-tingling hymn offered by the Mendelssohn Choir at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ.

As a Christ-centered church, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ has been keeping His light shining for 150 years.

Promoting discipleship within the church, in the local community and in service to the greater community beyond, St. Peter’s UCC empowers its members to be His light in today’s world.

Under the servant leadership of Pastor Judine Duerwaechter, the church has embraced the theme, “At St. Peter’s, we transform lives and are generous in what God calls us to do.”

Simply, that statement emboldens members to let the living Christ make a difference in their lives and their service to all God’s people.

Extravagant welcome

St. Peter’s UCC embraces the United Church of Christ mantra of extravagant welcome, and opens its arms to anyone to be part of the church’s worship or mission life no matter where they are on life’s journey.

The theme, “God is Still Speaking” is also part of the church’s efforts to continue to listen for the call of God and the will of God in local church ministry and mission.

Founded in 1864
St. Peter’s United Church of Christ

was founded in 1864 by 10 men who signed the initial charter as St. Peter Evangelical Reformed Church of Kiel.

Initially, the small congregation worshipped in a school house, then in its first wood-framed church, built in 1869. Twenty years later, a larger church was built on the current site to accommodate growth.

In 1937, the congregation voted to tear that church down, replacing it with the existing English Gothic style church on the corner of Fifth and Fremont Streets.

In 1987, the church was expanded with the addition of a fellowship lounge. Then in 1997, members of St. Peter’s moved to renovate the sanctuary, worshipping for several months in the fellowship lounge while changes were made to the chancel area, and a new organ installed.

An adjoining commercial facility was purchased in 2005, enabling St. Peter’s United Church of Christ to open the Rays of Hope Center. Even more important, the center became the permanent home for the Kiel Food Pantry, a non-denominational supporting ministry for feeding God’s people.

Light of discipleship

As evident as the physical structure of St. Peter’s UCC may be, it is the discipleship of the church’s members that bears the light of Christ in the community and beyond.

Throughout its 150 year history, St. Peter’s has been a vibrant congregation. What keeps it moving forward in serving God’s call today is the dedicated disciples that answer the call through various ministries.

As a church, St. Peter’s hosts the annual Cherry Tree –at the Kiel Picnic designed as a fundraiser for the benevolent ministries of the church as well as promote fellowship among the church members. Fundraising has been able to support many worthy community causes, including strong support for the donation of a van for handicapable transportation.

Hope House, a volunteer homeless shelter, continues to receive support from St. Peter’s UCC. Under an earlier program, the church actually hosted homeless families in its fellowship hall and Sunday School classrooms as part

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