Peace Church History
The earliest history of Peace Church can be traced back to 1872. In that year a group of German immigrants gathered in Duluth to worship, while at the same time, Rev. Louis Von Rague, a traveling missionary from the German Evangelical Synod, sought to establish a church in the new city. On March 11, 1872, the first recorded congregational meeting of St. Paul's Evangelical Church was held. Reverend John C. Lueder, accompanied to Duluth by Von Rague, became the first pastor. Since a building had not yet been erected, services were sometimes conducted at the Congregational Church. So we have come full circle having begun our worship in a Congregational Church and now are part of the United Church of Christ, a denomination formed in 1957 from a merger of the Evangelical Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches.
A small frame church was eventually constructed in 1873 at the corner of 10th Avenue East and Third Street. Already by 1931 a building fund for a new church had begun and grew until April 19, 1959, when ground was broken at the current site. On September 16, 1959, the name of the congregation was offically changed to Peace United Church of Christ and on June 5, 1960, the first worship was held in the new building. Along with the new church, a bell tower went up to hold three bells, the first of which had been gifted back in 1874 from Kaiser Wilhelm I in the form of a captured bronze cannon from the Franco-Prussian War. A second, from the USS Ascella, was presented to the church by the Navy on the occasion of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 and the third was created in 1962 through the efforts of the David Wisted American Legion Post. All three now ring out each Sunday as symbols of peace and the good news we have to share.
In 2022 we celebrated 150 years of ministry and service. Along with a strong Bible emphasis, community building and the centrality of worship, themes of peace and justice flow throughout our history. Music, Christian education and youth programs have remained meaningful activities for a century and a half. The congregation and its individual members have been involved in community through CHUM, Loaves and Fishes, the Damiano Community Kitchen, and our various global partnerships.
To celebrate 150 years of Peace Church, we sat down with some of our longtime members to share their experiences in this faith community.
The video below is a playlist of all the interviews. Click the icon in the upper right corner of the video window to see the different videos in the playlist.