Church History

Church History

1874 – Our earliest congregation came together on August 16 under the leadership of Reverend Daniel Eschenbrenner as the German Evangelical Unity Church, a member of the German Evangelical Synod of North America. The congregation was mostly comprised of German immigrants who had been uprooted by the Napoleonic Wars.

1887 – Our congregation’s first permanent place of worship was located in a former school building at 431 South Locust Street (now South Third St.). It was dedicated on May 16, and there were 37 members listed on the charter.

1894 – After quickly outgrowing this location, the congregation purchased property at 423 South Fifth Street in February of 1888 and began planning a new sanctuary under the direction of Reverend J. E. Digel.

1905 – Under the ministry of Pastor William Bourquin and at the request of its younger members, the church began its first services in English.

1934 – With the merger of the Evangelical Synod of North America and the Reformed Church in 1934, our church became Unity Evangelical and Reformed Church.

1937 – A catastrophic flood hit Paducah’s downtown area and filled the church building with three feet of water which resulted in extensive damage to the pews, floors, walls, and altar. The congregation worked long, hard hours over several weeks to restore the church to a usable condition.

1957 – The United Church of Christ was formed with the union of the Evangelical and Reformed Churches and the Congregational Christian Churches. Our church is still a proud member of this denomination today, and it is formally recognized in our congregation’s name – The United Church of Paducah.

1961 – Due to the major economic development and population growth in the area, it soon became evident that Unity Church was once again outgrowing its location. The congregation purchased property at 4600 Buckner Lane on January 9, 1952, and groundbreaking began May 22, 1960. The beautiful new meeting place was formally dedicated by Pastor Lehman on June 4, 1961, and our church still remains at this location over 50 years later.

Daniel Eschenbrenner: 1874-1877
Nathaniel Kies: 1878-1882
Jacob Elias Digel: 1882-1895
Otto W. Breuhaus: 1895-1897
B. Wulfman: 1897-1903
William H. Bourquin: 1904-1910
H. M. Wiesecke: 1910-1914
Henry Carl Toelle: 1914-1922
Emil C. Klutey: 1922-1926
Willard H. Zinke: 1928-1938
Theodore N. Tiemeyer: 1938-1944
Albert H. L. Behle: 1944-1948
Wallace C. Schriefer: 1949-1956
Donald F. Lehman: 1957-1963
Elwood A. Caldwell: 1963-1973
John E. Austin: 1974-?
Louis Fluck
A. J. Sterrett
W. Curtis Lee
Brian E. Cope
Karen A. Knod
Francine Wall
Karen Winkel: 2005-2009
Ron Ruggles: 2010-2016

Special Thanks
This brief history would not have been possible without the contributions of earlier church members who painstakingly compiled a 100 year history of the church in 1974 titled Out Of The Past, Into The Future.

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