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Our History

Serving Christ in Greenfield since 1840

The Evangelical church was founded in Pennsylvania in 1800 by Jacob Albright. In the 1830’s when many evangelicals began moving westward, missionaries soon followed. In January 1840 Rev. John Lutz rode on horseback into the Wisconsin territory to visit the evangelical family of James Martins. He was directed by a young girl, Christine Meinzer, to the Esslinger and Hegelmeyer families in Greenfield. During 1840, Rev Lutz organized in Greenfield the first evangelical congregation with 18 members. It was known as the Poplar Creek Class. The Esslinger, Hegelmeyer and Martin families and Christine Meinzer were the charter members. On February 9, 1844, they decided to build a church. Fredrick Hegelmeyer donated the land, where a log church was built and dedicated on August 4, 1844. This was the first evangelical church built in Wisconsin.

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A Brick Building

In 1858, the log church was replaced by a brick building at a cost of $1500. It was dedicated in October 1858 and named Zion Church of the Evangelical Association. A parsonage was built in 1876, but was destroyed by fire in 1904. In 1905, a mission was started in Layton Park. Soon a church was built on 30th and Arthur which was named Emanuel. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the rural congregations shared ministers with other established city churches such as Oak Creek and Bay View Bethel. Since services were no longer held regularly, many of the Zion families joined the regular worship and activities of the Layton Park congregation. On May 3, 1929, a vote was taken by The Emanuel and Zion congregations to merge and build a new church on the Zion site. The new church, Memorial Evangelical Church was dedicated on January 12, 1930.

In 1939 the trustees released the 1858 brick church to the Wisconsin Conference to be used as a museum. In 1946, the Evangelical Church merged with the United Brethren Church to become the Evangelical United Brethren Church. As the church grew a need for more Sunday School classes became apparent. Ground was broken in 1956 for an educational unit. As the church continued to grow, the old museum building was moved in 1963 to its current location to allow for the expansion of the sanctuary.

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Another merger occurred in 1968 when the Evangelical United Brethren Church and Methodist church merged to become the United Methodist Church. Another building project was taken on by the congregation in 1995 when the education unit hallways were straightened and an elevator was added.

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