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Champaign County, Illinois
The Tale of Two Streams
Submitted by Donna Nichols
One stream started at St. Paul's United Church of Christ. St. Paul's Church, commonly known as "Block Church" to local residents, is located three miles south of Sidney on the Longview Road. It was built in 1884 with an architectural style characteristic of many rural midwest churches of that period. The congregation became a part of the Evangelical Synod of North America, North Illinois District. In 1885, St. John's congregation near Broadlands combined with St. Paul, but in 1965, St. John's consolidated with United Community Church in Broadlands.
Fifty years after its organization, St. Paul's congregation became a part of the Evangelical and Reformed Church. On the national level, in 1934, the Evangelical Synod of North America and the Reformed Church in the United States united to form the new denomination. In 1957, another union was to take place with the Congregational Christian Churches, forming the United Church of Christ.
In November of 1968, all property and real estate of St. Paul's Church of Christ was disposed of at public auction with Howard Roosevelt purchasing the real estate.
Organization of the Sidney Presbyterian congregation goes back to the year 1884, though the first building, Vail Chapel, was not erected until 1886. In 1890 it was sold to the United Brethren Church. Now that structure is the present Nazarene Church in Sidney.
The building serving the Sidney Presbyterian Church, and renovated for the Sidney United Church, was dedicated in November of 1899. Also a part of the property of the congregation is Foster Memorial Manse, erected in 1911. A Rev. James E. Foster had been instrumental in planning for a pastor's residence. Work was begun in October of 1909 with the excavation for the structure. In September of the following year, Mr. Foster died; hence, the naming of the manse in his memory at the time of dedication.
Sidney Presbyterian Church has also experienced a denominational name change. It had been a part of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. In 1958 that denomination merged with another church body to form the United Presbyterian Church in the United States.
And the two streams formed a new channel but forever leaving landmarks of the past.
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