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Gloria Dei Presbyterian Church
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Our History

The Third United Presbyterian Church was started as a Mission Sabbath School in the Sears School House (ninth street and forty-fifth avenue) on Sunday, May 7, 1916. There were twenty-five people present.
Miss Elizabeth McMillan, of Denver, had been working in the field as a missionary at Oak Grove. She was transferred to the church as a permanent missionary, being supported by the Women's Board of the United Presbyterian Church. Services were held every Sunday afternoon led by Reverend J.L. Vance, Rev. F.R. McClean of Davenport and Rev. J.H. Miller of Moline. With their help and the faithful earnest work of Miss McMillan, the work went forward very successfully so that within a period of eighteen months, they were in need of better and larger quarters.

On October 10, 1916, a Missionary and Aid Society was organized with twelve charter members. Mrs. Vernon Banks was president, Mrs. Robert Kinner was vice-president, Mrs. Frank White was secretary and Miss Alice Williams was treasurer. They were very earnest and active in advancing the work of the congregation. They furnished the church with needed equipment. With their help and from generous gifts from friends in the community and elsewhere, the church purchased a used reed pipe organ from Pekin, a pulpit and seats for the auditorium built by the Moline Furniture Co. which built the famous cabinet meeting table for FDR and the Supreme Court Building furniture, a bell, chairs for all departments of the Sabbath School and complete equipment for the kitchen and dining room. The original psalters were supplied as a gift from the First Church in Allegheny.

On November 10, 1916, the Young People’s Society was organized with ten members. A Junior Society was organized with twelve members on November 17, 1916. Later, Miss McMillan organized a Camp Fire Girls Club. Mr. Hugh Ralston organized a Boy Scout troop.

The new building was formally dedicated on November 18, 1917, complete and free of debt. At the first communion service held on December 2, 1917, the sacrament of baptism was administered to eighteen adults and four children. The first Elders elected and ordained on January 14, 1921 were Arthur Radford, Hugh Ralston, Paul Sippel and Vernon Banks. The first church roll numbered fifty-five members.

Church members chose the name Gloria Dei, which, in Latin, means Glory to God. It is an adaptation from the song of the angels announcing the birth of Christ to the shepherds, singing Glory to God in the highest. The church was called Gloria Dei Third United Presbyterian Church. The Third was dropped in later years.

The original building, which cost $6,000.00, was remodeled in 1940. The addition to the basement was made in 1940. The superstructure was erected the following Fall, costing nearly $7.000.00.

The first couple married in the church was Jennie Crosby and Harold Bleuer. They married on November 20, 1921. Jennie signed the original charter of the church. Today, in 2005, Jennie is still an active member of Gloria Dei. She is currently living in the Aspenwood Care Center, Silvis, IL. The first couple married in the new sanctuary was Marion Behrens and Roy Brown.

The hand painted picture of Jesus that hangs in the sanctuary was purchased for $50.00 from Mr. Wistedt on May 15, 1939 by the members of the Young People’s Society. A gift of $10.00 was given to Mr. Wistedt. The painting was valued at $500.00 at the time.

The parsonage lots were purchased on March 28, 1924 at a cost of $700.00. A loan of $6000.00 was acquired from the Women’s Board. Total amount raised and expended for the parsonage was reported to the congregation in November of that year as $7,541.40 plus donated labor of $815.00 for a total of $8,356.40.

There have been difficult times where some have wondered if there would still be a Gloria Dei Presbyterian Church.  In times of difficulty, especially when membership was declining, Jewell BeDuhn remembered a long ago conversation with Ruth Kinner concerning our future.  Mrs. Kinner would say that she wasn't worried because she knew that God had a mission for Gloria Dei and that He would see that the mission was accomplished.  God does have a mission for us.  We are being led by God's powerful, loving hands and we are thankful.  He is still leading us and directing us.  God has a mission for us today.

            Charter Members

1.  Banks, Bessie

2.  Banks, Elster

3.  Banks, Wesley

4.  Bingman, Delbert

5.  Bingman, Freeman

6.  Bingman, Gladys (Mrs.)

7.  Bingman, Mary, (Miss)

8.  Bingman, Matilda

9.  Bingman, Mildred

10. Boland, Florence (Mrs.)

11. Boland, Minnie

12. Boulton, Mary (Mrs.)

13. Case, Elizabeth (Mrs.)

14. Case, Martin

15. Case, Ruth (Miss)

16. Case, Carrie (Mrs.)

17. Crosby, Anna (Mrs.)

18. Crosby, Fred

19.Crosby, Jennie

20. Crosby, Mark

21. Crouch, Bernice

22. Crouch, Hazel

23. Forgy, John

24. Forgy, Marian (Mrs.)

25. Goddard, Lolo

26. Goddard, Muriel (Miss)

27. Hummel, Margaret (Miss)

28. Hummel, Sofia

29. Kay, Jennie (Mrs.)

30. Kellogg, Inez (Mrs.)

31. Kinner, Ruth (Mrs.)

32. Koester, Frank

33. Koester, Paul

34. Koester, William

35. Laflin, Emily (Mrs.)

36. Lloyd, Edith (Miss)

37. Lloyd, Milton

38. Lloyd, Milton (Mrs.)

39. Ludwig, Lillian (Miss)

40. Ludwig, Minnie (Mrs.)

41. Mooney, Jennie (Mrs.)

42. Nelson, George

43. Potts, Mrs.

44. Potts, Faye (Miss)

45. Radford, Mary (Mrs.)

46. Ralston, Hugh

47. Ralston, Hugh (Mrs.)

48. Reddig, Dora (Mrs.)

49. Ruge, Bertha (Mrs.)

50. Ruge, Henrietta (Miss)

51. Ruge, Henry

52. Shafe, Mary (Miss)

53. White, Cora (Mrs.)

54. White, Edna (Miss)

55. Williams, John 


Gloria Dei Presbyterian Church
4200 12th Street
Rock Island, Il. 61201
(309) 788-8986