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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • Geneseo's St. Peter's Church marks 140th anniversary

  • The “Brick Church in Edford” is celebrating a milestone anniversary. St. Peter's Evangelical Community Church marks its 140th anniversary in 2013.
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  • The "Brick Church in Edford" is celebrating a milestone anniversary. St. Peter's Evangelical Community Church marks its 140th anniversary in 2013.
    The rural church will kick off its anniversary celebrations with a special church basement sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 20. Shoppers are encouraged to "make an offer" on an array of items. Proceeds from the sale will go toward the church's general maintenance fund as well as missions work.
    St. Peter's was organized on March 25, 1873, in a school house in Edford Township.
    The original German-speaking congregation were members of the German Evangelical Synod of North America. Several years after organizing, congregation members began building a brick church in 1877.
    According to church history, "All work on the church was donated with the exception of two hired brick layers. Times were hard in 1877 and money was scarce, so many bricks were paid for by cord wood."
    Church services were switched from the German language to English around World War I, said current pastor, the Rev. Mike Smoron.
    Over the years, the church building itself has undergone several additions and remodels.
    Today, the church is a non-denominational community church with a regular attendance of approximately 20-25 members.
    "We're on the smaller side, but it allows you to really get to know people well. In larger churches, you sometimes can get lost in the crowd," said Smoron.
    Smoron and his wife, Sheila, have been at St. Peter's since November 2008. The couple followed previous minister Eugene Wilson, who had served at St. Peter's for 27 years.
    "God led us here, and it's been wonderful," said Smoron.
    "Perseverance is one of the attributes of a Godly church, and this church has seen a lot of changes over the years," he said. "In many cases, country churches have become a thing of the past, but we've still survived by God's grace."
    Smoron said St. Peter's is a "very welcoming" church.
    "If you're looking for Bible-based preaching, teaching and led church, this is the place," he said. "We invite people to come and enjoy our service."
    Sunday services at St. Peter's Evangelical Community Church are at 10:30 a.m. An adult Sunday school class proceeds services at 9:30 a.m.
    Smoron also leads the Sunday school class and said it's a "more interactive" time.
    "We've been discussing the history of the Christian church," he said.
    As St. Peter's celebrates its 140th anniversary and looks to the future, Smoron said his goal is to "keep the church grounded in a sound Biblical background."
    "We'd like to reach a younger clientele and grow the number of people in our church, but it's all in God's plan," he said. "They tell you in seminary you're not suppose to worry about 'noses and nickels' but to be concerned with being faithful to the Gospel."
    Page 2 of 2 - As a country church, Smoron said St. Peter's pulls members from the Geneseo, Cambridge and Colona area.
    In addition to the July 20 basement sale, Smoron said the church's 140th anniversary will be celebrated at St. Peter's annual soup supper in the fall.
    "We'll have other celebrations in the fall as well, but the basement sale is really the kick off for our anniversary," he said.
    St. Peter's is located at 19224 E. 950th Street in rural Geneseo.

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