Rock Island County, Illinois Genealogy Trails


Gloria Dei United Presbyterian Church


Welcome to the Fiftieth Anniversary of Gloria Dei Presbyterian Church

The committee, in finding the historical facts to compile this booklet, hopes that it as authentic as possible.
We would like to acquire for future reference any other facts available; and any corrections will be accepted so that the records will be complete.
Mrs. Albert Stebel, Mrs. Harold Bleuer, Mrs. Robert Kinner

Original Dedication Service
November 18, 1917

Initial Bell Ringing 3:00 p.m.
Invocation Rev. F. R. McClean
Scripture Reading Rev. M. L. Neill
'A Beneficiary or a Benefactor' Rev. J. W. Harsha
Dedicatory Prayer Rev. J. L. Vance
Special Sabbath School Exercises Supt. H. A. Ralston
Special Junior Exercises Miss Elizabeth McMillan
Fraternal Greetings Visiting Ministers
Benediction Rev. W. J. Adair


First Church Officers
Charles Mann, Minister
Mrs. Mary Radford, Treasurer
Mrs. Robert Kinner Secretary
Mrs. P. J. Sippel, Organist
Mrs. Hugh Ralston, Assistant Organist and Choir Director

First Sabbath School Officers
Hugh Ralston, Superintendent
Rev. Charles Mann, Assistant Superintendent
Mrs. Frank White, Secretary-Treasurer
Mrs. Robert Kinner, Organist
Mrs. Charles Mann, Superintendent Cradle Roll and Home Department

First Teachers
Rev. Charles Mann, Adults
Mrs. Charles Mann, Boys Booster Class
Mrs. Ruth Kinner, Queen Esther Class
Mrs. Hugh Ralston, Mrs. A. Radford, Mrs. J. Sippel
First Beginner Department
Mrs. E. Berhens, Superintendent
Mrs. John Forgy
Mrs. Jennie Mooney
Mrs. Mildred Bingman

First Junior Society
Mrs. Charles Mann, Leader
D. Crosby, President
E. Ludwig, Vice President
R. Canville, Secretary

First Missionary Society
Mrs. Robert Kinner, President
Mrs. Vernon Banks, Vice-President
Mrs. George Groth, Secretary
First Young Peoples Christian Organization
Miss Mildred Bingman, President
Miss Hazel Crouch, Vice President
Miss Muriel Goddard, Secretary
Miss Jennie Crosby, Treasurer
Mrs. Charles Mann, Corresponding Secretary
Miss Jennie Crosby, Organist

First Committees of Y.P.C.U.
Prayer Meeting: Rev. Charles Mann, chairman
Bernice Canville
Henrietta Ruge

Miss Jennie Crosby, Chairman
Theresa Sutton, Martin Case
Mr. Hugh Ralston, Chairman
Margaret Hummel, Muriel Goddard

Good Samaritan:
Florence Boland, Chairman
Paul Koester
Mrs. Robert Kinner

Missionary and Temperance:
Miss Lizzie Forgy, Chairman
Gladys Bingman
Fred Crosby

Rev. Charles G. Mann: November, 1918 - April, 1923
Rev. S. W. Woodburn: September, 1923 - April, 1926
Rev. James S. Hill: May, 1927 - February, 1929
Rev. Ross W. Copeland: May, 1930 - June, 1936
Rev. J. Morgan McKelvey: May, 1937 - February, 1943
Rev. John Cochrane: June, 1943 - August, 1945
Rev. Vernon Wortman: June, 1946 - April, 1948
Rev. Robert Stahmer: October, 1948 - July, 1951
Rev. Melvin Suttie: July, 1951 - March, 1957
Kenneth Gordan, a student, Summer, 1957
Rev. Kenneth S. Dailey February 1958 - July 1966
Dean Olsen, a student, 1967
Rev. Glenn E. Polzine: September, 1967 - April, 1972

Additions since 50th Anniversary
Rev. Charles B. Pendleton: September, 1972 - October, 1975
Rev. Alfred H. Noakes III: April, 1977 - June, 1986
Rev. Marian 'Pete' McCart, Interim: August, 1986 - Jan. 1988
Rev. Robert O. Williams, Supply: July, 1988 - April, 1989
Rev. Drew D. Nagle: May, 1989 -

Narrative from 50th Anniversary Booklet (1967)
The Third United Presbyterian Church was started as a Mission Sabbath School in the Sears School House (which is now an apartment house) Sabbath afternoon, May 7, 1916 at 3:00. Twenty-five were present; teachers were Rev. And Mrs. Vance, Miss Mildred Kerr, and Miss Elizabeth McMillan. Mr. Frazier Vance was secretary-treasurer. Miss McMillan was transferred to this field as a permanent missionary. Services were held every Sabbath afternoon by Rev. Vance, Rev. McClean and Rev. Miller. The Bible School had 198 members.

The church was organized by Miss McMillan and was supported by the Women's Board of the United Presbyterian Church. In 18 months, bigger quarters were needed. The Board of Church Extension granted money for two lots on 12th Street and 42nd Avenue which cost $1,500.00 The edifice was a gift of the Board and was dedicated November 18, 1917, complete and free of debt.

The day first services were held in the church, everyone met at the school house and marched to the church singing. After two weeks of evangelistic meetings by J. Harsha, superintendent of Missions, an organization of 50 members was effected by the Presbytery. The first communion service was held December 2, 1917. Baptism was administered to 18 adults and 4 children. The Sabbath School was changed from afternoon to forenoon. The first Elders elected and ordained on January 14, 1921 were Arthur Radford, Hugh Ralston, Paul Sippel and Vernon Banks. The first church roll numbered 55 members.

Members chose the name Gloria Dei, which means 'Glory to God.' A reed pipe organ was purchased second hand from Pekin. The pews and pulpit desk were built by Moline Furniture Co., the firm which built the famous cabinet meeting table for F. D. R. And the Supreme Court Building furniture. The original psalters were supplied as a gift from First Church in Allegheny.

The original building which cost $6,000.00 was remodeled in 1940. The addition to the basement was made in the Fall of 1940. The superstructure was erected the following Fall, the completed cost was in the neighborhood of $7,000.00.

On October 10, 1916, a Missionary Society was formed with 12 charter members. Officers were Mrs. Vernon Banks, president; Mrs. Robert Kinner, vice-president; Mrs. Frank White, secretary; Miss Alice Williams, treasurer. On November 10, a Young Peoples Society was organized with 10 members, and on the 17th a Junior Society with 12 members was formed. A Campfire Girls Club and a Boy Scout Troop were also organized.

The first couple married in the church was Jennie Crosby and Harold Bleuer on November 20, 1921. The first couple married in the new sanctuary was Marian Behrens and Roy Brown.

Originally, coal was used to heat the building; an oil stove was used in the kitchen. Later gas was installed. One member recalls that for a dinner served in the church, she baked at home, and she and another member transported the food to the church in a wheelbarrow.

The hand-painted picture of Jesus in the sanctuary was purchased for $50.00 from Mr. Wistedt by the Young People on May 15, 1939, and a gift of $10.00 was given to him. The painting was then valued at $500.00.

The parsonage lots were purchased March 28, 1924 and the house erected. The treasurer of the fund was Mr. Arthur Radford, and he reported $1,041.00 on hand, $574.00 of this having been pledged by non-members. Mr. Freeman Bingman, chairman of the building committee, reported the cost of the 2 lots at $700.00. A loan of $6,000.00 was acquired from the Women's Board. Total amount raised and expended for the parsonage was reported to the congregation in November as $7,541.40 plus labor donated $815.00, total $8,356.40.

This past year, 1966-67, the floors in the parsonage have been sanded and varnished. New fixtures have been installed in the bathroom, the walls have been tiled and a new floor laid. New covering has been installed on the pantry floor and the new entry way steps. All rooms have been repainted and the woodwork refinished.

The kitchen faucet has been replaced and the breakfast nook antiqued. The basement walls have also been painted. Some of the work was done by church members who donated their time and labor; others gave money which was used toward the cost of having the work done by professional labor. The aluminum siding, doors and storm windows on the parsonage were installed in August, 1962.

Looking back through the years, in 1930 Ray Olson was chosen manager of the baseball team in the Church Softball League. A tennis court was rolled and provided entertainment for members on a lot on the hill. Pot lucks were held, and often the young people visited other churches for parties. Easter sunrise services were held here in the 1930's and there was also a New Year's Eve Watch. Box socials and dramas were offered. The P.T.A. of Edison School sponsored some plays by their members here.

An Anniversary Service was held in the church on November 15, 1942. The invocation was given by Rev. S. W. Woodburn and the Scripture Reading by Rev. J. M. McKelvey. Miss Helen Park was organist, and Mr. William K. Brox was the Choir Leader.

Elders Honor Roll (as of 1967 and printed in the 50th Anniversary Booklet)
Provisional session 1917-1921
W. C. Sample Aledo, IL
Frank Terry Viola, IL
W. J. Caughy Coal Valley, IL
Mr. Vanderhyden Davenport, Iowa
G. Aster Rock Island, IL
S. R. Fackler Moline, IL
Name Term
Verne Banks 1921-24, 28 - 33
Arthur Radford 1921-27
Hugh Ralston 1921-25
Paul Sippel 1921-39, Elder Emeritus
William Brox 1923-51, Elder Emeritus
Joseph Lauber 1923-27
John Scarr 1925-33
Coy R. Kirkham 1928-49
George A. Ellis 1928-53
Charles Olson 1933-46
Irvin Forgy 1934-36
Raymond Olson 1936-40
William B. Beard 1940-45
Gordon Graham 1942-46
George McDonald 1945-56
Earl B. Miers 1947-59
Carl Edward Swanson 1947-54, 59-62
Clarence Fairman 1949-53
Roy Schwegler 1952-57, 60-65
Lawrence H. Thomson 1953-60
Harold BeDuhn 1954-62
Clifford Gilmore 1957-64
Earl Max Campbell 1960-66
Everett C. Thoren 1960-66
William M. Lovett 1961-64
Stanley T. Bohatka 1962-
Heinrich W. Maxiener 1962-
John Madsen 1964-67
Mrs. Harry Payson 1964-67
Harry Olson 1965-
Frank Wiese 1965-
John Schwegler 1966-
Albert Stebel 1966-

The History of Gloria Dei Church
by Stewart Adams, sole author and researcher.
August, 1971

Churches, for the most part, have a unique distinction of being the place of worship for a majority of the people of the world. Whether or not you call the place where you worship, a 'church' is purely academic, for a 'church' can have the connotation of being a place of worship for both Christian and Non-Christian peoples.

Gloria Dei United Presbyterian Church has been a place of worship for people of Southwest Rock Island now for fifty-four years, and even though it is not a financially rich church, it is still, nevertheless a 'rich' congregation in its friendliness, hospitality, and Christian fellowship. It is the original of this paper to trace the history of Gloria Dei to the present time, and to establish an accurate account of the past. It has become necessary to rely on personal conversations with people who have had some role in th early history of the church, newspaper and church anniversary articles and bulletins, and an information sheet distributed to the congregation.

The task of writing this history has been mine alone, and quite enjoyable. It is to be as complete and factual as possible. The criteria used are: 1.) the founding of the church and the people involved; 2.) The origination of church services; 3.) The selection of a site for the church; 4.) The original purposes of the church; 5.) The physical make-up of the church; 6.) the source of the name 'Gloria Dei'; 7.) Important dates and events; 8.) additional supplementary information. Any history of a given church must be based on both historical and accountable knowledge. Thus, the founding of the church and the people involved are essential in beginning this paper. Gloria Dei, as it is known today, was started as a Mission Sabbath School in the old Edison School building (formerly the Sears School House-now, an apartment building) located at 9th Street and 45th Avenue. The first Sabbath afternoon services were conducted by the Rev. Vance at 3:00 p.m., May 7, 1916. In addition to Rev. Vance, Mrs. Vance, Miss Mildred Kerr, and Miss Elizabeth McMillan were teachers in the Bible school, consisting of twenty-five members. Miss McMillan was both the founder of the Bible Sunday school class, but also the founder of the church.

Five months later on October 10, 1916, a Ladies Aid and Missionary society was formed with twelve original members. The 50th Anniversary Church Folder states two different places the officers of this organization, but each contradicts the other. One source lists the officers as: Mrs. Robert Kinner, President; Mrs. Vernon Banks, Vice-President; Mrs. George Groth, Secretary; and Mrs. Edward Behrens, Treasurer; while, the other resource lists the officers as: Mrs. Vernon Banks, President; Mrs. Robert Kinner, Vice-President; Mrs. Frank White, Secretary; and Miss Alice Williams, Treasurer.

The next month, on November 10th, a Young Peoples' Society with tn original members was formed. Also, a Camp Fire Girls club, and a Boy Scout troop were organized. The first Camp Fire Girls club included Miss Elizabeth McMillan, Mildred Bingman Erickson, Gladys Bingman, Fay Potts Crosby, Florence Boland Kuehner, Lillian Ludwig McRae, Jennie Crosby Bleuer, Bernice Crouch Kershaw, and Hazel Crouch Walcott.

During the first eighteen months, the Bible school grew even larger. Mr. Fraizier Vance was secured to become Secretary-Treasurer of the organization; while, Rev. McClean, Rev. Miller, and Rev. Vance conducted services attended by one hundred and ninety-eight members (four times doubled the original number).

After the Bible school had grown to almost two hundred members, it was necessary for a church to be organized for the people of the area. The church was organized by Miss Elizabeth McMillan, a Presbyterian missionary, and was supported by the Women's Board of the United Presbyterian Church. Services were conducted at the old Edison School building.

Following the beginning of church services, a decision was made to purchase two lots at 12th Street and 42nd Avenue to build a new church. The Board of Church Extension granted $1,500.00 for the purchase of two lots. The original building or edifice cost the new church $6,000.00, but was paid for by the Board of Church Extension as a gift to the new church. Thus, the church and land was purchased and paid for by the dedication of the church on November 18, 1917.

The day on which the first services were held in the church, everyone met at the school house and marched to the church singing songs and hymns. After two weeks of evangelistic meetings conducted by J. Harsha, Superintendent of Missions, an organization of fifty was organized, and then recorded by the Presbytery.

The first communion service held in the church was conducted on December 2, 1917. The sacrament of Baptism was administered to eighteen adults and four children. Also, the Sabbath Sunday School service was changed from the three o'clock in the afternoon to twelve o'clock noon. On November 1, 1918, The Rev. Charles G. Mann became stated supply pastor. The first elders elected from the congregation and ordained on January 14, 1921, were Arthur Radford, Hugh Ralston, Paul Sippel, and Vernon Banks. The first church roll included fifty-five members. The original purposes of the new church was to provide the people of Southwest Rock Island with a church to attend. It is still the only church in Southwest Rock Island. The second purpose was to provide a foundation from which mission and missionary work could be performed. The third purpose was to provide an adult participation comparable to the Bible school.

The most interesting part of the history of the church is the physical make-up of the church. Since the original building, and the land has been discussed previously, it is necessary to concern ourselves only with new additions and property obtained after the building of the church in 1917. The original pews and desk, some of which is still being used, were built by the Moline Furniture Co., the firm which built Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous cabinet meeting table and the furniture for the Supreme Court building. If I am not mistaken the pews and chairs in the church, which are painted light blue and located both upstairs and downstairs - near the boys restroom, are part of the original sets of pews and chairs.

Originally, the church was heated by a coal furnace, and an oil stove was used in the kitchen for social gathering and meetings. Mrs. Robert Kinner, being an original charter member, recalls the old oil stove in the kitchen. She recalls an experience in which she and a friend were baking baked beans in porcelain dish pans in their own ovens at home, for a social gathering at church. After the beans were baked, the girls transported the dish pans full of beans, covered by white towels, in a big wheelbarrow. She states that en route to the church with the wheelbarrow, a Mrs. Davis stops in her car and asks the girls what they are doing with the wheelbarrow. The girls then uncover the dish pans full of baked beans, at which point, Mrs. Davis exclaims, 'Oh, My God' The reason the girls were baking at home is to because the oven in the oil stove wasn't big enough to prepare all the food necessary.

On March 28, 1924, the two parsonage lots (on which the Manse is located) were purchased for $700.00, a great deal less than the two lots for the church ($1,500.00). The treasurer of the fund, Mr. Arthur Radford, reported $467.00 on hand and pledges of $574.00 from non-members. Mr. Freeman Bingman, the chairman of the building committee, reported the cost of the two lots at $700.00. The Women's Board of the United Presbyterian Church extended the church $6,000.00 for the project.

A fund drive was started, and raised $7,541.40, which more than repaid the loan. The labor amounted to $815.

On May 15, 1939, the Young Peoples Society purchased the hand-painted picture of Jesus for $50.00 from Mr. Wistedt, and placed it in the new sanctuary. The old sanctuary is now the kindergarten and primary rooms. A gift of $10.00 was also given to Mr. Wistedt. The painting was then valued at $500.00

During 1940-41, the church was remodeled, with the basement being enlarged at a cost of $2,400 in 1940, and the superstructure erected in 1941 at a cost of approximately $7,000. The church was, by this time, using gas for heating and cooking, and electricity for lighting. During the remodeling phase, 1940-194, the Memorial windows were purchased by the congregation as a whole, by the individuals, or church groups. The Congregation purchased three windows, the Triple C Class purchased four windows, the Steadfast Club purchased one, the Young Peoples' Society purchased two windows, and individuals purchased three windows. The 'Cross and Crown,' the 'Holy Bible,' and the 'Lamb,' were given by the Triple C Class; the 'Ten Commandments' was given by the Steadfast Club; the 'Alpha and Omega' was given by Mrs. John Scarr in memory of Mr. John Scarr; the 'Lilly' was given by Mr. And Mrs. George Ellis in memory of Mrs. Emma McCleary; the 'Cross and Crown' was given by the Brox-Langman Family; and the 'In His Name' was given by the Young Peoples' Society. Of the five remaining windows, the Triple C and the Young Peoples' Society each gave one other window with the congregation giving the other three. These windows include: the 'Anchor,' the 'Grapes.' the 'wheat,', the 'Dove,' and the 'Crusader's Shield.'

The candlesticks which adorn each side of the picture of Jesus in the sanctuary were given by Mrs. Swan, Sr. In memory of Mr. Swan, Sr.

In August, 1962, aluminum siding, doors and storm windows were installed on the parsonage. During the remodeling phase of 1966-1967, the floors in the Manse were sanded and varnished; new fixtures were installed in the bathroom, the walls tiled, and a new floor laid; a new covering was installed on the pantry floor and the entry way steps; the rooms were repainted and the woodwork refinished; the kitchen faucet was replaced and the breakfast nook was antiqued; basement walls were repainted. Those members who did not participate in the remodeling work contributed money for the professional labor cost.

During the continuous remodeling phase 1968-70, new sidewalk railings were purchased and painted, new pews were purchased and installed, and a new bathroom complex with drinking fountain were purchased and installed.

The name of the church has changed also over the years from the Third United Presbyterian Church to Gloria Dei Third United Presbyterian Church, and finally to Gloria Dei United Presbyterian Church.

The name 'Gloria Dei' is an adaptation from the song of the angels announcing the birth of Christ to the Shepherds, singing, Glory to God in the Highest. The membership chose this over other local or community names that had been suggested. They dropped the 'Third' from their name in alter years.




Third United Presbyterian Church Gloria Dei Historical Sketch
(Written for Tri-City United Presbyterian Church Directory, sometime between 1919 and 1923)

The Third United Presbyterian Church was started as Mission Sabbath School in the Sears School House, Sabbath afternoon, May 7, 1916, at 3:00 o'clock. There were twenty-five present at this service and four kindly offered their services as teachers: Rev. and Mrs. J. L. Vance, Miss Mildred Kerr and Miss Elizabeth McMillan. Mr. Frazier Vance acted as secretary and treasurer.

Miss Elizabeth McMillan of Denver, who had been working in the field at Oak Grove, was transferred as a permanent missionary, being supported by the Women's Board of the United Presbyterian Church. Services were held every Sabbath afternoon from the first day by Rev. J. L. Vance, Rev. F. R. McClean of Davenport and Rev. J. H. Miller of Moline. With their help and the faithful, earnest work of Miss McMillan, the work went forward very successfully so that within the short period of eighteen months they were in need of larger quarters.

Under the direction of Rev. Vance, pastor of the First United Presbyterian Church of Rock Island, as superintendent of missions and by recommendation of the Presbytery of Rock Island, the Board of Church Extension of the United Presbyterian Church granted sufficient money for the purchase of two lots on Twelfth Street and Forty-second Avenue and the erection of a beautiful and commodious Church building.

This building is of frame and stucco construction, thirty by fifty feet with a tower entrance on the north side. The basement is twelve feet in height and equipped with all modern conveniences for religious and social life and for community service.

This beautiful church home was formally dedicated and set apart for worship, November 18, 1917, complete and free of debt. At the close of a series of two weeks' evangelistic meetings, conducted by J. W. Harsha, synodical superintendent of missions, an organization of fifty members was effected by special committee of Presbytery. At the first communion service, December 2, 1917, the sacrament of baptism was administered to eighteen adults and four children, at that time the Sabbath School was changed from the afternoon to the forenoon with a gain in attendance rather than a loss. The enrollment is now about one hundred and twenty, all organizations are active and well attended and working harmoniously.

On the tenth of October, 1916, a Missionary and Aid Society was organized with twelve charter members, with Mrs. Vernon Banks, president; Mrs. Fran White, secretary, and Miss Alice Williams, treasurer. This Society merits special commendation for the earnest, active work it has done in advancing the work of the congregation, and furnishing the Church with needed equipment. With their help and generous gifts of friends in the community and elsewhere the Church has a reed pipe organ, a pulpit, seats for the auditorium, a bell, song books and Bibles, chairs for all departments of the Sabbath School and complete equipment for the kitchen and dining room. On the tenth of November the Young People's Society was organized with ten members, and on the seventeenth a Junior Society, with twelve members. Today these societies are active and have membership about four times as large. Later Miss McMIllan gathered the girls of the community together and organized a Camp Fire Girls' Club. Mr. Hugh Ralston is now a scoutmaster and is organizing a Boy Scout Troop.

From the beginning the prayer meetings have been an important part of the Church's life. At first they were held from house to house, and later, because of increased attendance, were held in the Church.

The Church is now known as Gloria Dei, Third United Presbyterian Church. Gloria Dei means to the Glory of God, and signifies the aim and purpose of this house of God and organization of His people.


Charter Members

1. Banks, Bessie
2. Banks, Elster
3. Banks, Wesley
4. Bingman, Delbert
5. Bingman, Freeman
6. Bingman, Gladys, Miss
7. Bingman, Mary, Mrs.
8. Bingman, Matilda
9. Bingman, Mildred
10. Boland, Florence, Miss
11. Boland, Minnie
12. Boulton, Mary, Mrs.
13. Case, Elizabeth, Mrs.
14. Case, Martin
15. Case, Ruth, Miss
16. Clayton, Carrie, Mrs.
17. Crosby, Anna, Mrs.
18. Crosby, Fred
19. Crosby, Jennie
20. Crosby, Mark
21. Crouch, Bernice
22. Crouch, Hazel
23. Forgy, John
24. Forgy, Marian, Mrs.
25. Goddard, Muriel, Miss
26. Goddard, Lolo
27. Hummel, Margaret, Miss
28. Hummel, Sofia
29. Kay, Mrs. Jennie
30. Kellog, Inez, Miss
31. Kinner, Ruth, Mrs.
32. Koester, Frank
33. Koester, Paul
34. Koester, William
35. Laflin, Emily, Miss
36. Lloyd, Edith, Miss
37. Lloyd, Milton
38. Lloyd, Milton, Mrs.
39. Ludwig, Lillian, Miss
40. Ludwig, Minnie, Mrs.
41. Mooney, Jennie, Mrs.
42. Nelson, George
43. Potts, Mrs.
44. Potts, Faye, Miss
45. Radford, Mary, Mrs.
46. Ralston, Hugh
47. Ralston, Mrs. Hugh
48. Reddig, Dora, Mrs.
49. Ruge, Bertha, Mrs.
50. Ruge, Henrietta, Miss
51. Ruge, Henry
52. Shafe, Mary, Miss
53. White, Cora, Mrs.
54. White, Edna, Miss
55. Williams, John



November 16, 1997
Reflections on the Past
By Drew D. Nagle, Pastor
Gloria Dei Presbyterian Church
Rock Island, Illinois

Begun as the Sears Mission in April, 1916
Organized as a Congregation on November 18, 1917

In inviting persons in the community to come to the dedication of the new building and the new congregation and to a week of evangelistic services, the United Presbyterian Chapel to Sears, South Rock Island asked others to cast their lot with them Come thou with us, and we will do thee good, ...

The community around the new congregation was different from today's community in that it was more isolated from the rest of Rock island and few had automobiles. From the earliest days, the congregation saw itself as a community church. Reaching out to all in the neighborhood, the church ministered to many over the years, especially in the Sunday School.

One can only speculate concerning what J. W. Harsha, the guest evangelist preached at that first dedication service - The Church and Its Community: A Beneficiary or a Benefactor. Yet it seems clear from what was begun and has continued throughout these years is a commitment to providing for the community. To all who mourn and need comfort, to all who are tired and need rest, to all who are friendless and need friendship, to all who are lonely and want companionship, to all who sin and need a Saviour, to all who pray, and to those who do not but ought, to all who are homeless and need sheltering love, and to whosoever will this church opens wide its doors in the name of Jesus and says welcome!

These reflections assume an interest in the personality of the congregation over the years of its existence. For the more basic history with dates and names, we would refer you to the history booklets prepared for previous anniversaries. For these reflections, I am thankful to those who have recorded the past and saved various items of that past and to those I have talked with concerning Gloria Dei. The largest source for these writings is conversations I have held with Jennie (Crosby) Bleuer, a charter member, Bonnie (Mrs. James) Moore, began in 1927, and Jewell (Mrs. Harold) BeDuhn, a member since 1938.

An Inviting People
In 1916, the Rev. J. L. Vance, the pastor of First United Presbyterian Church, his wife, his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. And Mrs. Hugh Ralston, began a mission Sunday School to the community of sears. Early in the development of its mission, Miss Elizabeth McMillan, a mission worker of the United Presbyterian Church of North America, completed her initial time in organizing the Oak Grove Mission (later to become Second United Presbyterian Church), was assigned to organize the mission. Together they reached out into the neighborhood to share the gospel.

The Crosby family, with 10 children, was one of the first to come to the Sunday school held at the Sears School and a Sunday School held at the Sears Town Hall. She went to Sunday School in the morning and in the afternoon. Jennie's father died when she was 13 and her mother took all types of jobs in order to keep the children together. In the midst of the struggle she saw that the children went to Sunday school.

Miss McMillan was a heavy set woman and had a commanding way. Jennie says, When she told you to move you moved. It is told that if you didn't come one Sunday, the next day she was at your house to see why you weren't there. The encouragement and sense of belonging was instilled in the outreach of Miss McMillan and the teachers who included all in the neighborhood.

Bonnie Moore started going to Gloria Dei in July, 1926. With a young family, Bonnie and her husband moved to Rock Island from Galva, IL. They moved to a house near 31st Ave. And 9th St.. Bonnie recalls how her mother-in-law was with them, helping them to get settled. She said "Bonnie, where is the nearest church? I said, I don't know. I'm new here too. I don't know where the nearest church is. Well she says "we have to get these two little boys in Sunday school. Lou was five and Bud was three. So my mother-in-law went over to a Belgian neighbor, that I hadn't even met. So my mother-in-law said, "Can you tell where the nearest church is?" This Belgian lady said, "Well yes. There's one out 12th St. And 42nd Ave. It's called a community church .... Because people don't all have cars . .. All the little children of the neighborhood come to that church . . . The next morning she got the two little boys ready ... and took them and walked out to Gloria Dei. She introduced herself and said, " My son and his family have just moved here.... This is their children and we want to get them entered into Sunday school." .... The very next morning, the minister (Rev. Woodburn) and Mrs. Scarr ... came to call on me ... I started going to church and taking them to Sunday School.

Well then Evelyn Dingeldein found out, we got acquainted pretty quick, our children played together. She liked to go to church with me. So I said, get ready and we'll go. Evelyn said she was kind of shy about it because she had never gone to church or Sunday school. Her folks had never gone. So Evelyn was very shy about it, but she wanted to go. Next Sunday she walked out with me. From then on she went to Sunday school with me. We went regularly. I wanted to join the church. We had met the Session, both of us. She was dreading being baptized and being in front of everyone. She wanted to back out. She was shy about it. I said, "Evelyn, now we've met withe Session. I'm going to go and be taken into the church. So then she said I'll join too. The welcome continues. A few years later, Bonnie invited a new neighbor who had just moved to Rock Island from Quincy with a young family. Jewell BeDuhn recounts how Bonnie welcomed her and invited her to church and to Triple C. When Jewell's daughter, Judy, was born, she remembers Bonnie bringing a basket of fried chicken. Bonnie and the other women were that first connection to the church and that has continued throughout the years, Jewell speaks of Gloria Dei being a second family over the years.

Youth and Children Activities
Jennie tells of Miss McMillan taking the Camp Fire Girls on a vacation, about six of us... We went out to Campbell's Island. We slept on the pews of Oak Grove Church at night. That was something. We were gone a week. We had fun. We used to go on a sleigh and hayrack rides, wiener roasts..... We went to Mrs. Kinner's house a lot. Mrs. Mooney was Jennie's first Sunday School teacher. Then Mrs. Kinner taught the Queen Esther Class for girls about 14-16. Bernice Crouch and her sister Hazel, Florence Boland, Lillian Ludwig, and Dorothy Trulson were some in that class. Talking about Mrs. Kinner, Jennie said, Mrs. Kinner was an ideal person. She had so much patience with us. She was a good Sunday school teacher. Very good. Real nice. For many at Gloria Dei during the fifties, sixties and seventies, a central fixture was the children's choir Jennie led.

When Rev. McKelvey was minister the youth group was very strong and active. One of their activities was joint events with the other churches in Rock Island Presbytery.

Mary Madsen tells of the varied activities of the Youth Group when Ken Dailey was pastor. A special highlight was a camping trip to a lake in Wisconsin.

Glen Polzine writes of an after school program started while he was the pastor.

A Nurturing Time
We thank God for persons who have helped us grow in the faith and responded to our very real human nature.

Bonnie tells of a time when Mrs. Leonard Huss had the right word for Evelyn Dingeldein and her. Evelyn and I were sitting there. We were early for something that was going to be. This one member had done something we thought was out of line. She had kind of stepped beyond what she should have in giving orders. We didn't like it. We said, when she comes were going to tell her off. She had no business doing that. Just when she got there, we were going to tell her off. This Mrs. Leonard Huss was sitting there listening. Now when we got through telling what we were going to do, she said.'Now girls, never make an enemy, where you can keep a friend..' And we looked at each other, and we never did confront her and we remained friends with her throughout the years. It just goes to show that you should think twice before you show anger or anything. In a similar fashion, there were other lessons taught in a quiet but clear manner. Bonnie tells, We were down to a meeting with Mrs. Suttie. We were sitting in the group discussing things, she had her Bible on her lap. She had it marked in a lot of places. We went on with the conversation. Just as soon as any of us would get away from the subject and started to tell something that had happened among our friends, 'say, did you hear about.' She's interrupt us and say, 'Girls, let's read a few verses of scripture.' So she'd open her Bible and read a few lines and she would do that several times during the meeting. And we finally got the message that we were there to learn from the Bible and not to gossip. It was a very good lesson. W stuck to the subject then and had our Bible study. We admired her very much for doing that. For you know it's often easy to get off the subject to tell something you would like to tell." Over the years there were many who experienced growth in their life and faith through the life together at Gloria Dei. Jewell remembered, as a particularly moving experience, the dedication and unveiling of the portrait of Jesus in the sanctuary. It was an evening service and when the painting was uncovered there was a great hush throughout the congregation. Jewell said she had a great sense of God's presence in that moment.

Food, Food, Food
A complete memory of Gloria Dei would be incomplete without mentioning food. Over the years, it has had a reputation for having great cooks who cooked in great quantities. Memories are filled with pot lucks and picnics; food cooked to raise funds - fried chicken and homemade noodles, doughnuts, fall luncheon; specialty foods - Mrs. Copeland's mahogany cake, Mrs. Kinner's divinity; bacon frying and pancakes at the Saturday morning prayer breakfasts.

In recent years, the Ash Wednesday, simple meal of red lentil soup with homemade bread and communion worship, and the World Communion Observance with 14 different kinds of bread and afterwards all the bread and five different kinds of soup have brought out some of the connections between our sharing food together and our being connected to each other in Jesus Christ. Throughout the years food has brought people together in the kitchen and at the table. It is where we get to know each other better, and become united together in Christ, our Lord.

Going Out
The work of Christ has called the people of Gloria Dei to live as ones who reach out to those in need. Sometimes it has been at the building - the food pantry, the giving of clothing. Sometimes it has been going out to others - when Jewell, Mary Madsen and Juanita Selhost used to go to Pearl Campbell's nursing home and share the faith and give encouragement to the residents. Jewell said, Juanita played the piano, Mary sang and I made a joyful' noise.

The outreach of prayer was particularly demonstrated in the Prayer Breakfasts when Al Noakes was the pastor. Each Saturday, many would gather for breakfast and prayer and continue throughout the week with an intercessory prayer phone chain. Prayer also went across faith traditions, through an interfaith prayer and faith discussion group that included others in the community.

A Purpose
There have been difficult times when some wondered whether there would be a Gloria Dei Church around. A particularly difficult time was when the congregation considered merging with Central Presbyterian Church.

In times of concern, especially when membership was declining, Jewell remembered long conversations with Mrs. Kinner concerning the future of Gloria Dei. Mrs. Kinner would say she wasn't worried because she knew God had a mission for Gloria Dei and God would see that the mission was accomplished. God has a mission for us.

As we reflect on the past we can be filled with nostalgia, a longing for a different day or we can be filled with pride, or we can remember those times when we were hurt, but throughout we are most struck by the powerful hand of God in our midst for which we are thankful. God who led to the starting of Gloria dei 80 years ago, who directed these 80 years of life and ministry, is still leading and directing us. God has a mission for us, today.

Drew D. Nagle, pastor

Rock Island County, Illinois
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