Grace Evangelical
United Brethren Church
Dixon, Illinois

The Grace church of the Evanglical United Brethren church was first organized in September 1892 as the Evangelical church of the Regular Evangelical association of Dixon.

In April 1892, under Mrs. Isaac Divan, a Sunday school was opened in Dixon under auspices of the Evangelical association, with sessions in the Odd Fellows hall. In the group were several men and women who were or had been, members of Evangelical association churches in other communities.

Under leadership of the Rev. and Mrs. Isaac Divan, 13 persons formed into a church society in September 1892 and the new church joined iwth similar churches in an Illinois Conference.

In 1893 the conference adopted as its denominational name, the United Evangelical church, and the Dixon church became known as Grace United Evangelical church with Rev. Mr. Divan as first pastor.

The Dixon group in a few months purchased a lot at North Ottawa and East Fellow streets and inaugurated a building program. In the late fall of 1893, the new church was completed at a cost of $5,000 for building and lot. It was dedicated at services on the first Sunday in January 1894.

Grace church grew steadily and the grea revival of 1905, led by Billy Sunday, saw a hundred new members added to the congregation in asingle year. In 1916 it was found necessary to remodel and enlarge the building, the exterior of which is substantially the same today as after the improvements.

In 1904 a parsonage was rerected at 213 East Chamberlain street and over the years some minor additions of real estate were secured by purchase and bequest. A one-and-a-half story house with site adjoining the church was site was donated by Miss Rachel Lievan and Miss Jeanette Dewey gave a house and lot, the sale price of which is held with other collateral in a building fund for a new church.

In 1905 Grace church was incorporated as the Grace United Evangelical church, remaining as such until 1922. In this year an organic union of two denominations, the United Evangelical and the Evangelical association was made, the new denomination, becoming the Evangelical church. Grace church was then called the Grace Evangelical church, but was not immediately incorporated as such.

The articles of incorporation and by-laws of 1905 provided that if the corporate body should change its ecclesiastical affiliation, members demurring against such action might continue under the original name and affiliation.

The year 1923 saw many changed in the personnel of Grace church. Several influential families withdrew and became affiliated with other city churches. The Illinois Conference decided to discontinue the Immanuel church located south of Dixon and to move that church building to the village of Eldena, where a church had been destroyed by fire.

Several Christian families from the Immanuel church joined Grace church as did others formerly members of Evangelical and United Brethren churches in nearby communities. THis movement to the city has been accelerated by the drift of population to the larger towns, and elimination of overlapping congregations by consolidation of local churches and the integraton of related denominations into larger unites.

A major union of denominational bodies took place in 1946, when the Evangelical church united with the Church of United Brethren in Christ, resulting in a new denomination, the Evangelical United Brethren church. Grace church came to be known as the Grace Evangelical United Brethren Church. On March 31, 1948 the congregation adopted a new constitution and was incorporated as the "Grace Church of teh Evangelical United Brethren Church..

The 15 pastors who have served Grace church include; Isaac Divan, 1892-96; J.H. Keagle, 1896-98; J.H. Finkbeiner, 1898-1902; E.O. Rife, 1902-6; W.C. Heyl 1906-8; Irvin Dunlop 1908-9; G.A. Smith 1909-14; J.O. Duffy 1917-18; J.H. Johnson 1918-20; C.G. Unangst 1920-23; Frank Brandfellner 1923-29; A.D. Shaffer, 1929-36; G.D. Nielsen 1936-47; and P.O. Bailey 1947-present.


From the Dixon Evening Telegraph - Anniversary Edition 1 May 1951

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