Brief History - November 22, 1959
Today we thank God for the ninety-four years of grace and of blessing which have been granted to our Fathers and to us here at St. John's Church.
Organized on December 3, 1865, at the close of the Civil War, our Church was later incorporated in February 1887, as the "German Evangelical Lutheran Saint John's Congregation Unaltered Augsburg Confession." In 1919 the former charter was amended and the name was changed to "Saint John's First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Unaltered Augsburg Confession."
A preliminary meeting for organization was held in the court room of the Town Hall on Sunday, November 26, 1865. At the formal organization in the Chapel of the Episcopal Church on December 3, 1865, twenty-eight men subscribed their names.
The first pastor preached his first sermon on Christmas Day, 1865.
Our first church building was dedicated in March, 1867. That building was enlarged in 1879. In February, 1891, the congregation voted to build a new church. The dedication occurred in March of 1892. The building cost nearly $32,000. In the next six years, the congregation purchased 7 to 8 acres for Gethsemane Cemetery on Bee Street and the parsonage on Liberty Street. In 1899, the Young People's and Ladies' Aid Societies erected a parish house at the the rear of the parsonage. Sixteen years later the church built a larger parish house on the same site.
Attendance averages between 500 - 600 people (around 1905). There are both male and mixed choirs. The congregation comprises 1,400 souls and there are 845 confirmed communicants, 185 comprising the adult male members who decide the matters of the Church by vote. Sunday school comprises 300 children.
Yes, the Lord of the Church, Christ Jesus, has given great blessings and great challenges to us, the Mother Church of Lutheran Churches in Meriden, the oldest congregation of the Missouri Synod in Connecticut, and the second oldest Lutheran congregation of our state.