Peace Lutheran Church Port Byron, IL

The Building of a Church

Historic photo of Peace Lutheran Church from 1924In the spring of 1894, a group of members of Zion Lutheran Church on Hampton Bluff decided to organize a new church. 

On August 19, 1894, Friedens Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded. Since the majority of these families were of German descent, the church constitution was compiled and written in German by the first minister.

The word "Friedens" was taken from a German word meaning "Peace".  Church services were probably conducted in German.

In January,  1895, plans were discussed for securing a building site for a church building and cemetery. 

In April,  1895, it was decided to purchase three acres of land upon which the new church would be built. The hill, much higher than now, would be the cemetery. At the foot of the hill were a rail fence and a dirt road. A small wooden house stood at the west end of the property surrounded by oak trees.

That summer, members and their teams graded down the hill and filled in the place where the church was to stand.  The house on the property was moved. The rock used for the church foundation was quarried by the members at Mosher's quarry near-by and hauled to the building site.

During the spring and summer of 1895, plans for the new church building were made.

church photoThe cornerstone of the building was laid in October, 1895.  It is said to contain a Bible, a copy of the original constitution of the church, a newspaper of that time, a bottle of wine and some bread, a silver and a gold coin, and a nickel and dime dated 1895.

The new church was completed for services the following spring and was dedicated with a large celebration.

During the early years pastors would come by train as far as Barstow or East Moline and then were met by one of the members with horse and buggy to complete the trip. 

In the early years, the interior of the church appeared somewhat as follows. The altar and pulpit were of yellow pine. The pulpit was built where the door to the altar is now. It was much higher than our present pulpit. It had a canopy of wood draped with purple velvet with gold fringe. There was a small platform directly in front of the altar and there was no altar rail. An organ stood on another small platform in the corner. A large blue and white hanging lamp with crystal pendants hung from the large arch in front. Other kerosene lamps lighted the rest of the church.

As was the German custom, the men sat on the right side of the church and the women and children on the left.  The offering was taken up using a velvet money bag attached to a long pole.

As of April, 1901, services were preached in German and English on alternative Sunday's.  Later, only English was used.

Sometime between 1928 and 1930, the present altar and pulpit were installed as well as some other remodeling work to the front of the church. In 1935 a new altar rail was dedicated.

In 1949, it was voted to change the name of our church from Friedens to Peace Lutheran Church.

In 1951, an extensive remodeling of the church building was begun. The front entrance wall was removed and a new thirty foot extension was built with a new front entrance on the west side of the church. Upon completion, the church was rededicated on November 8, 1953.

In 1956, an addition was built on the rear of the church building. This gave the Sunday School additional rooms, a stage and room for choir robes and storage. The new unit was named Andeen Hall. 

On July 31, 1960, a special congregational meeting approved the building of a parsonage. With much work done by members, it was completed in the spring of 1961.