In March 1883, Gottlieb Duebendorf was sent to organize a class. C.F. Kachel was elected class leader and superintendent of the Sunday School. On April 13, 1883, at the Linse home on the corner of Concord and Andrew streets, the Zion Church of the Evangelical Association of America was incorporated with Rev. August Huelster as the president. In May 1883, Rev. Gottlieb Duebendorf was appointed pastor (also serving a congregation in Chaska.) The West Side Land and Cottage Company gifted the congregation with a lot at Winifred and Cambridge (renamed Bancroft) on which to build a church. During the summer of 1883, the first building was built at a cost of $2,500. In 1884, Rev. F. R. Plantikow was appointed pastor to both Zion and Salem, the “country church.” (Chaska was assigned to another circuit.)
On July 24, 1884, H.E. Linse was paid $600 for a lot on which to build a parsonage and the following month a parsonage was ready at a cost of $1,112. In 1902 (under the direction of Rev. Plantikow), the church was modernized and enlarged at a cost of $4,521. A pipe organ was installed in 1909.
Church records were entirely in German until the 1904-05 annual and trustee meetings, when English became the language. On April 22, 1908, the congregation requested a pastor be appointed to serve Zion alone, that the Salem congregation unite with us, and that the pastor appointed be able to preach in the English language. The transition to English was completed in 1921 when the February quarterly conference passed a resolution that all of the services of the congregation be conducted in the “American language.”
In 1922, when the two factions of the Evangelical Association that had divided in 1894 reunited, the church was renamed the Winifred Street Evangelical Church. Also in 1922, a basement was put under part of the church and then enlarged in 1932. A balcony was added in 1937. In 1946 the congregation became Winifred Street Evangelical United Brethren Church when the Evangelical Church and the United Brethren in Christ merged. In 1947, the decision was made that churches should no longer be named after streets. A congregational meeting on April 20, 1947, was offered a choice of Zion, Trinity, or Faith. The vote was announced April 27, 1947, and the name changed to Faith Evangelical United Brethren Church.
In 1948 the parsonage was remodeled at a cost of $6,000, which was paid off in two years. By unanimous vote on June 4, 1950, a two-story educational unit was added at a cost of $55,000. In 1952 improvements were also made to the sanctuary at a cost of $2,500.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, many changes were taking place in neighborhood surrounding the church. Urban renewal and flood prevention eliminated the houses on the flats (which are now the sites of many commercial establishments). There was to be an upgrading of Highway 52, including a new bridge on Lafayette. Many congregants were moving out of the area. In 1958, beloved Rev. Ralph Esterly (who had reported in 1956 that the congregation had decided to remain in its present location rather than to move up the hill to serve the 3,000 folks in the community) died. In light of these changes, in 1959-60 the congregation was surveyed. At a congregational meeting in February 1960, it became evident that it would be wise for Faith church to relocate. Four and one-half acres of land on Butler Street had been purchased from the Ellinger sisters in June 1960 at a cost of $12,000 (reported by Rev. Ezra Budke in his pastor’s report). The congregation voted on September 24, 1961, to relocate.
Land on Oakdale Avenue was purchased in April 1962 at a cost of $17,500. The property was dedicated on September 16, 1962. The Butler property was sold. The Winifred Street church and parsonage were sold to the Union Gospel Mission for use as a Boys and Girls Club. A third language, Spanish, was now heard within the venerable walls.
Construction began on a new church building in the spring of 1963. On September 13, 1964, the congregation gathered for the last worship service in the old building. The following Sunday, on September 20, 1964, the congregation gathered for worship in the new building. This building was dedicated on October 18, 1964. The building’s cost was $324,000. A parsonage next door cost $25,000. The mortgages were burned on October 14, 1984.
The Evangelical United Brethren Church merged with the Methodist Church on April 23, 1968, to form the United Methodist Church, changing our name from Faith Evangelical United Brethren Church to Faith United Methodist Church.
A new Rodgers organ costing $28,585 was added to the sanctuary in 1980.
Between 1981 and 1993, the Faith congregation was the host to La Puerta Abierta (our Hispanic congregation in St. Paul). For the past nine years, the congregation has provided space to the Nueva Esperanza Christiano Centre (an Assembly of God congregation). So Spanish continues to be a language heard within the walls of Faith church.
In 1996 major renovation of the offices and re-roofing of the entire building took place. Due to defective materials, a reroofing project of the peaked roofs was undertaken in 2004.
Thanks to a matching grant program from the company of a retired member of the congregation, Faith modernized a computer lab in its educational wing in 2005 for the use of members and the community (including the school district). The Faith Education Foundation was formed to serve our community through programming for children, youth, and adults.
In 2006 and 2007, significant improvements to the church, inspired by the $173,000 gift of the Pelletier estate “for capital improvements and air conditioning,” included replacement of the original furnaces, retrofitting of all lighting, air-conditioning of the entire building, re-roofing of the flat roof sections, resurfacing the parking lot and circle, and the addition of a handicapped accessible bathroom off the fellowship hall. The large living room and dining room windows in the parsonage were also replaced. A video projector and retractable screen provided by memorial funds were added in our sanctuary in 2008.
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