Shannon, Carroll County IL

Bethel Evangelical United Brethren Church

Photo and article from Karen Fyock

The work at Shannon originated in connection with the expansion of Brookville Circuit. Itinerant preachers passing from one appointment to another i.e., Chambers Grove, Black Oak Grove, Schreiner's, West Grove and Shannon in the early 1850's. J. G. Kleinknecht and C. F. Stuevig, reported from Brookville, for 1864-1865. that the church at Black Oak was completed, and the one at Shannon begun. This society was organized in 1863 under the name St. John's church.

Shannon was considerably shunted about between the circuits. In its beginning it belonged to Brookville, Circuit; in 1864 it was attached to Lanark Circuit; in 1865 back to Rush Creek circuit; in 1867 from Rush Creek to Brookville Circuit. In 1875 the name of Yellow Creek Circuit was changed to Shannon Circuit; it was united with Loran CIrcuit in 1876 retaining the name of Shannon. In 1880 Shannon Circuit consisted of Shannon, Maple Grove, Florence, and in 1890 Florence was transferred to Yellow Creek Circuit, leaving Shannon with Maple Grove until that discontinued after about thirty years.

Shannon church was extensively repaired in 1893, and dedicated as Bethel church on Thanksgiving Day. In 1898, H. Moser built a small church at Maple Grove, and enlarged Bethel church during the pastorate. Again, in the pastoral term of J. W. Davis, the building was remodeled; the basement was excavated and equipped. Annual conference was entertained here in 1902 and 1915, 1924, and will be held here in 1952.

The Freeport District camp meetings were held in Shannon from 1893 to 1896, inclusive, until the tract of land known as Oakdale Park was acquired in 1897. W. H. Fouke was recommended for the ministry by this congregation.

About 1944 under the able leadership of the Rev. Paul V. Church a Building Fund was started, and it was through his personal efforts that pledges were made to assure the building of a new church. An architect was secured, namely, Benjamin Franklin Olson, Chicago, Illinois. The contract was signed and the new church building began to take form on paper on April 1, 1949.

On May 29, 1949 T. R. Moritz was appointed to the Bethel Church of Shannon, Illinois. Upon arrival, the following was noted as having been done for the building of the new church. Funds for the building fund, specifically earmarked, approximated $50,000.00. No decision had been made concerning the floor plans. Basically all decisions concerning the new church were to be made by the building committee after June 1, 1949.

On Oct. 8, 1950 ground was broken east of the old church,in a fitting ceremony, with the entire congregation taking part, truly an historical event. On Oct. 9, the Builders Company, of Chicago, Illinois to whom we let the contract, began construction. The contract for $144,000.00 was signed on Nov. 9, 1950. Later $5,6000.00 was included to finish the upstairs.

The cornerstone was laid January 21, 1951, which incidentally was the coldest day of the year. Rev. Paul V. Church was our guest speaker.

The building began taking form throughout the long winter and summer, and another winter, and came to its completion February 24, 1952.

In the past two and one half years, the people of Bethel church sacrificed and worked hard to raise the needed amount to clear our church of debt. During this period $134,000.00 was raised, bringing the total amount raised to $184.000.00. The total cost of our building and equipment will approximate $184,000.00. This brings us to the glorious climax on our Dedication Day of dedicating Bethel Evangelical United Brethren Church, Shannon, Illinois DEBT FREE!!! A marvelous achievement of wonderful people, who are rejoicing over this cooperative effort, of a job well done.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him ye creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

The growth of Shannon congregation has been steady and substantial. The total membership at this writing is 420.

Information taken from the booklet "New Church Dedication - Bethel Evangelical United Brethren - February 24, 1952"