Our church’s first name is St. John’s: Johanniskirche, Jan kostel, Iglesia de San Juan, St. John’s Church… That’s what we call ourselves. We are part of a loud tradition of St. John’s churches all around the world. People of every generation in every nation have been inspired by this grunting prophet. In movies he usually looks like a descendant of Samson, the fine arts depict him as a sophisticated messenger. According to the Gospels he has one purpose: “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” It takes a trailblazer to open peoples’ hearts and minds. That’s the mission of St. John. That’s what we are here for. The first article of our by-laws spells it out: “It shall be the purpose of this organization to establish in its community a Christian Congregation for worship, to promote the Christian life, and to advance the Kingdom of God by all available means, both at home and abroad.” How do we do it?
When you enter the Disciple Room you will find a calendar of Church World Service (CWS), our church’s global mission. Our Sunday school class has the wonderful habit of praying for our missionaries around the world. We are also supporters of the CWS blanket program that provides the most basic needs to people in disaster regions all around the world.
When you enter the Parish Hall you will see a huge canvas showing God’s hands holding the whole world. People will always tell the stories of ancestors in places across the oceans. In everything we do St. John’s connects with the wider church and is out there to help the world, making the Lord’s paths straight.
United Church of Christ
Our church’s family name is United Church of Christ. As a United Church of Christ congregation we embrace a theological heritage that affirms the Bible as the authoritative witness to the Word of God, the creeds of the ecumenical councils (Nicene Creed and The Apostles’ Creed), the confessions of the Reformation and newer statements of faith. The UCC has roots in the “covenantal” tradition—meaning there is no centralized authority or hierarchy that can impose any doctrine or form of worship on its members. Christ alone is Head of the church. We seek a balance between freedom of conscience and accountability to the apostolic faith. The UCC therefore receives the historic creeds and confessions of our ancestors as testimonies, but not tests of the faith.
St. John’s United Church of Christ had its beginnings in 1941. Under the leadership of Rev. William Luthe, pastor of Friedens Church in Beasley, on Wednesday, February 12, 1941, a group of approximately thirty people met in the Rosenberg Chamber of Commerce room of the City Hall to develop plans for the beginning of an Evangelical and Reformed Church in Rosenberg. The first service of worship was held March 2 of that year. On April 20, the group voted to organize as St. John’s Evangelical and Reformed Church of Rosenberg.
The first property was purchased in the Lucille K. Dyer Addition which consisted of three lots. On May 25, 1941, thirty-seven persons had signed as charter members. The State Charter was received on July 3 and the congregation was incorporated. The First Annual Meeting of the congregation was held on January 25, 1942 at the Presbyterian Church.
The first Confirmation Class took their vows on July 23, 1944. In February, 1945 the Church Council decided to clear all three lots and plants trees for beautification. This was the prelude to intent to construct a church building. In 1948 a fourth lot adjacent to the original lots was purchased. The first church building was erected in 1949.
In August, 1952, the Rev. Frank Nagy was installed as the first resident pastor of St. John’s.
On April 10, 1955, ground breaking ceremonies were held for the sanctuary. The sanctuary was completed and dedicated on July 31, 1955.
In 1957 the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches merged and the result was the establishment of the United Church of Christ. At an official meeting St. John’s became a member of the United Church of Christ and adopted its new name.
Rev. Frank Nagy resigned in 1960 and in February 1961, Rev. Donald Kolkmeier began his pastorate at St. John’s until his retirement on October 26, 1997.
An education building was added to the church in 1969. In 1982 one half of the parking lot was paved, and in 1983, a house and lot was purchased next to the playground. The Brazos Street house was converted into the church office in March, 1988. After renovation of the educational building, the house was sold and moved (2008/2009) and the church office was moved back into the educational building.
In a dedication service on August 23, 1981, a bell was donated and installed in the tower of the church and in 1988 dedication services were held for renovations to the church, including the stained glass windows. The stained glass windows and the bell are presently in place.
Over the years St. John’s has been blessed with many special events and activities. In 1972, St. John’s participated in the first CROP Walk in the Rosenberg/Richmond area and still continues to do so.
Ministerial leadership has changed over the years and everyone has made St. John’s a wonderful place to worship. In the past 71 year history of St. John’s, there have been 6 ministers and 4 interim ministers, with the last minister being the Rev. Dr. Dale Staggemeier who resigned on October 30, 2011, after serving the church for eleven years. Following his resignation, Rev. Fred Banda was called as interim minister. Since June 1, 2014, the Rev. Daniel Haas is the new settled pastor at St. John’s United Church of Christ.