A BRIEF HISTORY OF PEACE LUTHERAN CHURCH, CHESTER
Prior to the organization of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, Chester, Illinois on September 4, 1907, Pastor Fr. Fuerst, who at that time was pastor of St. Peter's Lutheran Church, at Wine Hill, Illinois, held mission services for several months at the Baptist Church, Franklin Street, Chester, Illinois, in the rear of the present Episcopalian Church, which was vacant at that time. When services were discontinued there, it was finally sold to a Mr. Devine, who remodeled it into a home. The Baptist parsonage was sold to Mr. Pratt, which is now owned by Scott Courier (1952). Shortly before the congregation was organized, services were held in the present church building, which also was vacant at that time. This church building was then owned by the German Methodist Congregation and known as the German Methodist Church.
Pastor Fuerst was asked by a few families to help organize a Lutheran congregation in Chester. It was organized on September 4, 1907. The Constitiution accepted at that time was the Constitution of the General Synod. The following men were present at this meeting: Pastor Fr. Fuerst, Henry Sonnenberg, Peter F. Heuer, Fritz Heuer, Henry C. Welge, Herman F. Wiebusch, Detlef Ahrens, Wiegund F. Ochs, Charles Brandes, William Ebers, Charles F. Welge and Rudolph Welge. All of the families agreed to sign the Constitution, which was written in German, at their next meeting (September 11, 1907) with the exception of Charles F. Welge, Rudolph Welge, Charles Brandes and William Ebers. These meetings were held at the home of Rudolph Welge on Swanwick Street in Chester. Minutes show the present church building, ground and the old parsonage were purchased from the M. E. Congregation for a sum of $2,200. The deed was signed on July 11, 1912.
Pastor Fr. Fuerst, (Supply Pastor) of the Wine Hill, Illinois St. Peter's Lutheran congregation, served from September 4, 1907 through April 1909 as the last congregational meeting attended by him was on April 18, 1909.
The first baptism, Omar Hoffman, was performed on September 15, 1907. The first confirmation was Miss Emma Kuntz on November 1, 1908.
Pastor R. B. Garten, (Supply Pastor) of the St. John's Lutheran Church in Bremen, Illinois, served from June 1909 through part of April, 1913. In the congregational meeting minutes of May 31, 1909, they voted to call Pastor Garten. The minutes of the conference meeting held on June 3, 1909 verified that Pastor Garten had accepted the call to serve the Chester church.
Pastor Frederick R. Gensichen, (Supply Pastor) of the St. John's Lutheran Church in Bremen, Illinois, served from July of 1913 through April of 1915 when the congregation called another pastor who would be a full-time resident pastor.
Pastor J. R. Frenze, (Resident Pastor) served from May of 1915 through April of 1919. He resigned March 23, 1919.
From May of 1919 through February of 1920, no one served the Peace congregation as resident pastor. Minutes from congregational meetings held in May and July of 1919 show that Pastors A. Hoerbe and F. Karsten were called but neither one accepted.
Pastor M. A. Jensen, (Resident Pastor) served from March of 1920 through September of 1925. Pastor Jensen told the congregation on August 23, 1925 that he had accepted a call to St. Peter's Congregation in Arenzville, Illinois and was aked to be there on September 15, 1925. The present parsonage was built in 1920 and the Jensen family lived with Tillie Duensing and her mother until the parsonage was finished. Pastor Jensen performed 34 baptisms; confirmed 33; held 25 weddings; and conducted 16 funerals. Pastor Jensen came back to Peace for one funeral on January 6, 1926, at the request of her daughter, for Emma Born.
Pastor E. Schmidt, (Resident Pastor) served from December of 1925 through April of 1926. He performed one baptism and conducted one wedding.
Pastor J. C. Fitting, (Resident Pastor) served from May of 1926 through March of 1929. He performed 24 baptisms; confirmed 17; conducted 7 weddings, one silver wedding aniversary and presided at 9 funerals.
Pastor H. H. Pontow of St. John's Bremen and Pastor F. W. Schnieder of Peace Lutheran Church in Steeleville served as supply pastors from April of 1929 through September of 1929. The church council at Peace Chester voted to pay them $2.50 per Sunday. Pastor Schneider performed 2 baptisms during that time.