A History of Faith UCC
The Windsor Evangelical Congregational Church
Windsor, Colorado’s Evangelical Congregational Church was organized January 16, 1904. The members were Germans from Russia who held services in a shanty to worship and honor their God who brought them safely to America. The Rev. Philip Bechtel became the first resident minister of the church. 27 families made up the church membership at the time of its organization.
In 1906 they built a small church near the corner of Elm and Second Streets. In 1909, a parsonage was built. Membership increased rapidly, making it necessary to increase the size of the church sanctuary. In 1911, a new wing was added to the east side of the church building. By this time, the Windsor Evangelical Congregational Church had become self-supporting.
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
It was on March 8, 1914 that a small group of men gathered in a Windsor school for the purpose of banding together as a church. Some were newcomers to the area, others had belonged to another church, which wasn’t meeting their expectations. The meeting was under the leadership of Rev. T.R. Bettex of Fort Collins. After brief discussion, a new church was organized and given the name Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. Although the word Lutheran was included in the name, the church had no connection with any Lutheran body, and thus the name was often a source of confusion. Subsequently, the young church voted to become a member of the denomination then known as the Evangelical Synod of America. Soon after its organization, plans were formulated to build a suitable place for worship and acquire a parsonage. Lots were purchased at the corner of Walnut and Second Streets on which stood a house to be used as a parsonage. Shortly after, construction of the church building was underway.
By the fall of 1914 the new house of worship was completed and dedicated. The Rev. Paul Jueling was called to the leadership of the church and served with great success for 15 years.
From its inception, membership at Zion began to grow rapidly. Contributing to this growth were people who were, at the time, coming over from Europe in large numbers. It was not unusual to receive as many as twenty and thirty families at a time into membership during that period.
Mergers, and the United Church of Christ
In 1934, the Evangelical Synod of America merged with the denomination known as the Reformed Church in the United States. Thereby, Zion was now a part of the body of the New Evangelical and Reformed Church.
Peak membership was reached between 1930 and 1940 at which time confirmed members numbered 700. The approach of World War II and a period of dissension and ill-feeling among members regarding the language to be used at worship services resulted in a considerable membership loss. The remaining membership loyally banded together to make needed improvements to the church property.
In 1961, the entire national bodies of evangelical and reformed churches met in Boston to join a new denomination known as the United Church of Christ. Because Zion was now a part of this union, in early 1962, members voted unanimously to change the name of the church to Zion United Church of Christ. During the life of the church, eight ministers served the congregation.
In the winter of 1969, our two churches were both in need of remodeling and expansion. Both were now affiliated with the United Church of Christ, thus sharing a common background. On April 28, 1969, Conference Minister Charles L. Burns wrote a letter to both congregations evaluating the conditions and circumstances that needed to be addressed and encouraged them to become one united church. After much deliberation and planning, Zion United Church of Christ and Evangelical Congregational Church voted to merge and form Faith United Church of Christ. The Rev. Jacob Grether accepted the call as the church’s first pastor, and a new building on the west end of Windsor was built and later dedicated on December 6, 1970.
None of this would have been possible without God’s love, patience and blessings. Through prayer, effort and the determination of dedicated ministers and the members of both congregations, it was accomplished. Praise the Lord!