Eden UCC has had a remarkable 100+ year history with multiple generations having been baptized, confirmed, married and eulogized here. We have been comforted, praised, encouraged and joined together as a family by this congregation.
Eden United Church of Christ all began with a meeting of local men in February, 1912, at the home of Henry Hertel. Those in attendance were William Stolz, Henry Krueger, Jr., Henry Klingeman, Louis Pruetzel, Bernhardt Kettler, Claus Treuel, Henry Binder, and Henry Staas. The group formally organized February 29, 1912, when the group met at McKenzie School (currently Affton School District’s Central Office).
They chose the name Eden Evangelical and selected a committee to purchase land in the heart of Affton and to set the services. By March of 1912, the committee had purchased a lot from Mary E. Berry for $1000. The first service was held April 14, 1912, in Christ Episcopal Church (New Hampshire and Aliceton) and continued there until the new church was ready.
In September, the contract was let to Lueke & Bopp of Kirkwood Construction for an estimated cost of $12,007.71. One feature of the church is the pressed tin ceiling of the sanctuary which came from Clabes Hardware which was located a couple of block east on Gravois. The Rev. R. Gottfried Kurz served as the first pastor with Professor Bauer of Eden Seminary ministering to the congregation until the installation of Rev. Kurz.
The cornerstone was laid October 13, 1912. The Watchman Advocate noted that“the morning was cool and disagreeable but the afternoon warmed for wagons” of visitors. Although the building was incomplete, Christmas service was celebrated in the new building.
Dedication of the church was held April 26, 1913. A short service of farewell at Christ Episcopal began the day. Everyone marched in procession through the woods to the new building. Morning and the special afternoon dedication services were held in German; the evening service was in English. By today’s standards, Eden may be a small church; however, the dedication drew a crowd of roughly 1,000 guests many of whom took the streetcar to the end of the line where wagons awaited to take them to Affton. Pastors from many Evangelical churches and choirs from as far as Baden joined the celebration. Due to the crowd, the Pastor came to the steps of the church following his presentation in the sanctuary and repeated it for all those unable to get into the church.
From its start, the church offered a Sunday School and a Ladies Guild (Women’s Fellowship). The latter donated money for altar furnishings, carpet and silver communion ware. Soon a Young People’s League, a choir, a drama society, a band and a sewing circle were formed. Picnics were an early tradition as well as apple butter making. Whenever Eden met there was good food and good music…and good fellowship.