Kirkwood United Church of Christ has a 65-year history of striving to serve God and transform lives. Interest in forming a new Evangelical and Reformed church in the Kirkwood area led in 1951 to services of worship, first in members’ homes and later in an office building on Manchester Road.
In May of 1952, the State of Missouri granted the request of early members that an Evangelical and Reformed church be incorporated in their community “to advance the Kingdom of God by all available means, both at home and abroad.”
Under the leadership of the founding pastor, Rev. John Schroeder, a recent graduate of Eden Theological Seminary, it was determined that a permanent site was needed and 3 ½ acres were purchased at the corner of Dougherty Ferry and Lindemann Roads.
The sanctuary was erected in 1954. Later an educational wing and a parsonage were added to the on-site facilities. In 1992 a major remodeling of the existing space took place, and new classroom and office space was added. A parsonage on Lindemann, built in the 1970s, was sold in 2011. The house east of the church had been purchased and became the parsonage for Pastor Betsy and her husband Rick when she was called to ministry at KUCC in 2009. A recent change in our church home has been removing pews and returning to the use of chairs to improve flexibility and functionality in our sanctuary. We have focused, as well, on making our facilities more accessible as part of our welcome to all. We are happy to donate space during the week to eleven community and recovery groups.
Interdenominational cooperation has played an important role in KUCC’s history. The Kirkwood Evangelical and Reformed Church became the Kirkwood United Church of Christ (UCC) in 1957 with the merger of the Evangelical and Reformed and Congregational Christian denominations. From the 1970s into the 1990s, the church shared preaching duties, choirs, local mission efforts, and youth programs with Faith Presbyterian Church. We recently sponsored vacation Bible school with Trinity Lutheran Church. In addition, we have used two grants from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship to explore making our worship more meaningful, first by creating unifying seasonal themes and second by incorporating aesthetic elements from the arts. During Pastor Betsy’s sabbatical, we engaged church music consultant Paul Vasile to help us continue with that exploration, focusing on the power of music to make worship meaningful and vital.
Over the years, KUCC has evolved in response to issues in society and in members’ lives. In 2008, for instance, the congregation voted to become open and affirming. Throughout our more than six decades of change, however, constants remain: vibrant worship, welcoming fellowship, meaningful education for youth and adults, and hands-on ministry to St. Louis and the wider world. For more details, see the web pages devoted to these ministries.