Our History


The roots of our congregation go back to a faithful Christian band of German pioneers who settled in the vicinity of what is now known as Des Peres, Missouri in 1836-37 and established a church there a year later. By 1843, a number of families had become dissatisfied with the traveling distance to Ballas and Manchester Roads, the site chosen by the majority of the original congregation. They purchased a one-acre plot of ground for twenty dollars and erected a log structure on “the Bonhomme Road,” at what is now the intersection of Olive Boulevard and Warson Road.
The original name of this church was the German United Lutheran-Reformed St. Paul’s Church in Central Township, St. Louis County, Missouri. The first congregation numbered 25 families and was served by Rev. E. Arcularius. Thus began the direct history of our present congregation, many of whom are descended from members of St. Paul’s early years.
At first the congregation was served by pastors of the mother church and later by pastors of the Zion congregations, which had also broken away from the mother church (in 1848). Zion is now known as Parkway United Church of Christ at Ballas and Clayton Roads.
The first parsonage was built in 1857. In 1859, Pastor W. Schuenemann was called to St. Paul’s to serve as both pastor and teacher in a day school for educating the youth of the congregation. During this year the church became self-supporting. A school building was later erected during the 1880s.

1892 – 1961

In 1892 a new brick church building was erected at a cost of $8,075 to serve the 39 families in the congregation. This building served our congregation well until the completion of our present sanctuary in 1961. The old church was razed at that time. When the old church cornerstone box was opened in April 1961, the gathering included 14 persons associated with the congregation at the time of the cornerstone laying in 1892.
An attached Educational Building (including our present auditorium and “power plant”) was built in 1937 and added to in 1955. The widening of Warson Road necessitated the removal of the brick parsonage built in 1922. The construction of a new parsonage across Warson, north of the church, was completed in 1967.
Many changes have taken place in the surround-ing area since the founding of our church. The original small one-acre plot of ground has been considerably expanded over the period of years as the congregation prospered. In 1901 ten acres were purchased to be used for cemetery purposes. Perpetual care was initiated in 1927.
At the time of the 65th anniversary (1908), the congregation consisted of 80 voting members, including seven widows. During the pastorate of Rev. E. L. Mueller (1916-46) the membership had grown in 1939 to 270 voting members, with all women now voting.
The language used progressed from the sole use of the German language to the practice, beginning in 1923, of holding English services two Sundays each month and German services on the remainder. Later the German language was used once a month, then only for communion, and finally to the sole use of the English language in the late 1940s.

1990 – Present

The pastors of the church have been active in the Biblical Witness Fellowship since its inception in 1978. The congregation is also a charter member of the Evangelical Association of Reformed and Congregational Christian Churches.
In September 1998, following more than two years of study, the membership voted to leave the United Church of Christ. In March 1999 St. Paul’s became a member of The Evangelical Free Church of America. At the end of December 1999, our membership included 687 voting members and approximately 150 junior members (children under confirmation age).
Now, 175 years old, our history continues to be written in the twenty-first century. In 2006, we completed and dedicated a large expansion aimed providing the room and services needed for St. Paul’s to continue serving our members and community for years to come.