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St. Paul’s United Church of Christ Sesquicentennial Committee members Joan Osterman and Marylu Pille stand in front of the stained glass window the children of Michael Barth, Pille’s great-grandfather, purchased in Barth’s honor back in 1918.

HEIDI BOWMAN, FOR THE PANTAGRAPH

MINONK — St. Paul’s United Church of Christ is celebrating 150 years of faith, service and fellowship in Minonk.

Sesquicentennial committee member Joan Osterman has researched eight stained glass windows in the sanctuary, sharing the stories in a monthly newsletter.

Osterman found the bill of sale for the window her great-grandfather Julius Folkerts donated. “The bill of sale was in my grandmother’s purse. It was $300 in 1918,” she said.

The German United Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 1868, and the first church was located a block or so away from where St. Paul’s stands today. Many people in the congregation today are descendants of trustee Michael Barth, who had 10 children who lived to be adults.

The first church on the 236 W. Fifth St. site was built in 1884. In 1918 the growing church underwent major renovations, remodeling the sanctuary and adding the stained glass windows, a full basement and kitchen, and the brick veneer. The church’s tall steeple was replaced with a brick tower, continuing to contain the clock and bells that still chime each hour today. In 1952, the interior underwent more changes, with the central altar installed along with a pipe organ hidden behind screens on the side. In 1960, the congregation adopted the name St. Paul’s United Church of Christ. An educational building was also added that year.

St. Paul’s has long supported the local food pantry and various mission projects. Many local organizations meet at the church, including Girl Scouts, a nursery school, the Minonk Garden Club, 4-H and others.

One of Barth’s great-granddaughters, Marylu Pille, who is also a member of the sesquicentennial committee, said the members of St. Paul’s care and support each other.

Osterman agreed, adding the people in the congregation are very generous with their time.

“It’s a church family,” Pille said. “We pray with each other and celebrate with each other.”

The congregation will celebrate the sesquicentennial together on May 6. A meal will follow, with commemorative Christmas ornaments and bookmarks available.

The Kramers, a gospel music family group, will sing at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary. A love offering will be received to cover costs and to raise money for the local food pantry and Santa’s Helpers, which provides Christmas gifts for local families in need.

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