The Church was organized in 1841 by Pastor G.A. Schieferdecker and settlers from Saxony, Thuringia, and Westfalia, Germany. The site was donated in 1849 by Johann Christian and Katherine Just. The present church was erected in 1863, and the tower was re-built in 1913. English services were introduced in 1926 but did not predominate until 1946. Monthly German services were discontinued in 1967. The congregation also operated a Christian Day School from 1841 until 1960. Holy Cross is considered the mother Church of several surrounding congregations.
Twenty years before the Civil War, German settlers founded Holy Cross Lutheran Church of Wartburg. Wartburg is the name of the castle in Germany where the reformer Martin Luther translated the New Testament into the German Language. Ever since 1841, Holy Cross has been privileged to proclaim the good news that “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
We are the oldest of the 97 congregations in the Southern Illinois District of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). The LCMS is a Church body of 2.7 million members in over 6,300 congregations that work together to do education and missions each congregation could not do alone.
Currently, Holy Cross has been blessed with a rich heritage, and on Good Friday still holds a service in the German Language. With over 275 members, we always expect more to share in God’s grace with us!