One source indicates that St. John United Church of Christ was started as a German Evangelical church by Reverend Jacob HOSTO of Breese Township in 1868.1 Another source adds that it was infrequently served by Rev. A. STARK of Breese and Rev. H. HOLKE of Summerfield, Illinois but provides no date for this activity.2 However, both sources agree that a regular pastor, Reverend William STOFFEL, was in place by 1870. The date of the erection of the first church building was either 1868 or 1870 depending on which source one refers to.

St. John joined the Evangelical Synod of North America in 1891. St. John UCC has also been known as St. John Evangelical & Reformed Church before becoming a United Church of Christ.

St. John UCC of Trenton list of Pastors
1868 – 1872 Rev. Jacob HOSTO
1870 – 1875 and 1877 – 1889 Rev. W. STOFFEL
1875 – 1877 Rev. Dr. SCHRAMM
1889 – 1901 Rev. Dr. Rudolph JOHN
1901 – 1914 Rev. E. F. SCHMALE
1914 – 1927 Rev. Daniel BUCHMUELLER
1928 – 1937 Rev. John J. MERZDORF
1937 – 1950 Rev. Elmer L. KOCH
1951 – 1959 Rev. Harry H. RING
1959 – 1978 Rev. George A. SCHUETTE
1979 – 1988 Rev. Samuel E. ROETHEMEYER
1989 – 1993 Rev. Loraine A. TUENGE
1995 – 1999 Rev. Steven J. BOORSMA
2001 Rev. Melodee SMITH
2002 – 2006 Rev. Thomas P. PERL
2007 – Present (2008) Rev. Linzy COLLINS Jr.

In 1881 the church had between fifty and sixty "most excellent German families" and was comparatively debt free. The church officers were John RIEMANN, Adam EMIG, Jacob SAUTER (Secretary), John WEBER and H. TIPPET.2 Through the leadership of its pastors, the church membership continued to grow. There was a flourishing Sunday School by 1881 and by 1890 the Sunday School was supporting two orphans in India.2

In 1881 the large brick church building, which measured approximately 50 by 30 feet, sat on a double lot with a steeple and a fine bell.

Building highlights:2
1868 - 1870 Church edifice erected
1889 - 1901 a large parsonage was built at the cost of $2,300.00
1901 Central heating added
1905 A parochial school building erected
1907 Electric lights added by the Ladies Aid Society
1930 Church building damaged by fire and repaired with addition of hardwood floors
1963 New parsonage built
1967 New church building erected with dedication on 28 Apr 1968
1969 New educational building erected; dedicated 8 Mar 1969

The church does not have its own cemetery probably due to its close proximity to the Trenton Cemetery. However, there are burial records, which survive from 1890.

Current (2008) organizations include the Ladies Aid Society, which was organized in 1886, Youth Fellowship, Chancel Choir, Youth Choir and the J.O.Y. Society (Evening Guild). Each of these organizations is equally mission oriented.

In the community, St. John is a member of the ecumenical group of Trenton. This group works in union with other churches on holy days and holidays such as Good Friday, Easter and Thanksgiving. The church also runs a Vacation Bible School in the summer.


  1. "History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881," Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia. Corresponding Office, Edwardsville, Illinois. Page 165
  2. Graesser, Marie & Wilma Graesser; "St. John UCC, Trenton, Celebrates 125 years," 1995; Illinois South Conference, Highland, IL. Page 3.