There was one, then two.  There were two, now one.



Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  

               Matthew 11:28-29

Every story has an end but in life every end is just a new beginning.

The Urbana Yoke Parish 2019 Yearbook contains the above sentence and it describes perfectly the changes which took place during 2018 and 2019.  It is impossible to tell the whole story here, but we will try to briefly explain the heritage of URBANA YOKE PARISH.

St. Petri Evangelische Gemeinee

St. Peter's

United church of christ

It was one hundred and twenty-five years ago that those sturdy Christians of pioneer stock began the witness of St. Peter’s church.  Their commitment to Christ in their day laid the foundation for a loving and caring community of God’s people in their time.


Our Parish is blessed with a complete church family of families of all ages; those who are mature in age and spirit, and those who are young and still growing, both in numbers and in the knowledge of the Lord.  With such a rich heritage and present potential we look confidently to the future of our work together. 


Harry N. Goodlin, 125th Anniversary booklet

St.  Peter's  heritage

Leaving Ohio and moving west, a group of pioneers found Urbana, before it was Urbana.  They brought their German heritage and language and began homesteading.  They soon realized one thing they did not have was a church building or a place for “regular religious instructions for their children” and the idea of a church began.


On March 1, 1852, land was purchased, “St. Petri Evangelische Gemeinee” was organized by twenty-one men, along with their wives, and, in the fall of 1853, a log church was built at the site of the present cemetery.  Additional parcels were purchased in 1857, 1858, 1862, and 1882.


The building progression was:

  •  1853:  Log church
  • 1858:  Frame church
  • 1862:  Parsonage
  • 1882:  Brick church
  • 1910:  New parsonage
  • 1949:  Parish Hall

Church services were in German until English Language services began during the years of 1907-1913.  Within a few years, the German language was entirely discontinued, although all records were in German until 1916.   


Denomination/Name Changes: (per 125th Anniversary Booklet)

  •  1852:  Evangelische Germeinee
  • 1862:  United Church of Evangelican and Lutheran (German) Reformed St. Peter’s
  • 1882:   Evangelical St. Peter’s Church of Urbana
  • 1934:  St. Peter’s Evangelical and Reformed Church
  • 1957:  St. Peter’s United Church of Christ
  • 1967:  Urbana Yoke Parish (St. Peter’s joined with the Grace Evangelical United Brethern Church/Grace United Methodist Church – each retained its own denominational identity)

In much of the foregoing history emphasis has been upon physical changes and calendar events.  Throughout all histories there have been the hopes, dreams, convictions, mistakes and above all the guiding spirit of God’s love as it has been manifested in the lives of those who have been a part of our Lord’s Church.


These years of rapid change in every area of life are the challenges God puts before his people today.  We are blessed with the continual knowledge of God’s presence and the command of the Christ, “go ye therefore into all the world and preach the gospel.”  This we do in every way He opens to us.


Written by the Historical Committee

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Much has happened since the church history was written for the years of 1853 to 1978.  Paint colors change.  Carpet is replaced.  There are so many facts, but facts are not the true story of any church.  The true story, of any church, begins not when a building is completed or remodeled, but when the doors open and God’s children enter the doors.


The story of this church, also, does not end when the doors are shut for the last time. 


The true story of this church is the congregation.  It is the memories of marriages, births, dedications, baptisms, and deaths.  It is the memories of family and friends, as a congregation unites in worship, work, and life.  It is the sharing of joys and trials.  It is being yoked together by a faith that will never end.



united methodist church

To those who have gone before us we owe a debt of gratitude for their steadfast christian faith and commited labors in Christ's kingdom.  They have given us a rich heritage which must be accepted in trust.  For we too, must continue in the witness of Christ's love to the people of our time.  Only in doing so can we expectantly begin our second century.

  From the 100th Anniversary Souvenir Program

grace united methodist church


The following was taken from the Souvenir Program of the 100th Anniversary of Grace United Methodist Church and the Souvenir Booklet of the 125th Anniversary of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ.


Two things were happening during the early 1870’s.  First, The Evangelical Association, a Methodist movement among the Pennsylvania Germans, arrived in Wabash in 1871.  Second, some members of the St. Peter’s Church broke off and formed the Albrechtskircher. 


By 1872, Evangelical meetings were being held in homes in the Urbana Community and, in 1875, the meetings were being held in the Speicher School.  There was a “great religious awakening” in 1876, which caused the meetings to be moved back to a private home.


In 1877, the church was formally organized and a Chapel was built across from the school.  The new church hosted the Indiana Conference in April 1878 and a camp meeting in 1891. 


Also, in 1891 a new church, Grace Chapel, was built in Urbana to accommodate those from St. Peter's Church who preferred English to German and they provided English Sunday School for English-educated young people.  Those who remained at the original Chapel soon saw the advantages of an English service, sold the old building and came to Urbana. 


The original church consisted of the sanctuary, towers and vestibule.  To add Sunday School facilities, the south and west wings were added in 1928.


By 1967, the two Urbana churches were struggling and found a solution – they joined in a Yoke Parish.  During this time, they maintained their own buildings and retained their relationship with their own conferences.  They worked together on worship services and Sunday School, meeting part of the year in one church and part in the other.


The two churches formally merged into a single entity and the Urbana Yoke Parish Constitution was established in 2012.  An Urbana Yoke Parish Cemetery Board was established at the same time.


In 2018, a vote was taken to move the church permanently to Grace and that move was completed in 2019.  Remodeling to Urbana Yoke Parish Church included two new offices, reconfiguration of rooms into a kitchen and social hall, and remodeling restrooms and the sanctuary.


The building progression was:

  • 1877:  Chapel
  • 1891:  Grace Chapel
  • 1928:  Added south and west wings
  • 2019:  Finished remodeling


Denomination/Name Changes:


  • 187?:  Albrechtskircher / Evangelical Association (Group which split off of St. Peter’s)
  • 1877:  Grace Evangelical United Brethren Church (Group which split off of St. Peter's for English services)
  • 1967:  Urbana Yoke Parish (St. Peter’s joined with the Grace Evangelical United Brethern joined with St. Peter’s – each retained its own denominational identity)
  • 1968:  Grace United Methodist Church
  • 2012:  Urbana Yoke Parish as a non-denominational church


Included in Grace United Methodist Church’s 1977 celebration of 100 years was a SERVICE OF WORSHIP TO COMMEMORATE OUR BEGINNINGS and it took three evening services to accomplish this.  An Anniversary Banquet and Service of Worship was held on both September 18 and September 25. 



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The ending of this section could be almost the same ending as that of St. Peter’s.  The only difference is that the doors to this church building will stay open and God’s children will continue to enter the doors. 


This information was taken from booklets celebrating the years between 1853 and 1977.  This information contained the history of two church buildings.  What these booklets could not contain is the personal heritage of two churches: the emotions created from memories of wedding, baptisms, celebrations, and funerals.  The heritage of Urbana Yoke Parish began when a need was seen for a church building and a place for regular religious instructions for the children.   The heritage of these two churches continues to be written.


There is something special to notice in the anniversary booklets.  Family names carry from 1853 to today!  Many individuals and families mentioned in the anniversary booklets, continue to attend Urbana Yoke Parish in 2019. 


In 1853, a group of pioneers from Tuscarawas County, Ohio……and with their arrival, our heritage began and our heritage continues.

There was one, then two.  

There were two, now one.

urbana yoke parish

our heritage

This picture shows

our past and our future

YOKED as one.

There was one, then two.  There were two, now one.


This church began upon a foundation of faith and the desire to establish a church.  From the beginning, there was a YOKE – a YOKE between God and His children.  This YOKE allows us to learn from God and find rest for our souls.  No matter, if this congregation met in one building or two, they were always YOKED to God.  We are very blessed the two churches found their way back to being one –YOKED together with God, as one congregation.


The true heritage, of URBANA YOKE PARISH, is the congregation.

A congregation YOKED together by a faith that will never end.