Missouri State Archives
Americanization of a German Immigrant Church
W. A. Schroeder
January 22, 2009
1 hour 4 minutes 59 seconds (1:04:59)
German immigrants organized the German Central Evangelical Church of Jefferson City in 1858. By 1918, the church was thoroughly Americanized. The history of the church serves as an example of similar transformations undergone by other immigrant churches. Americanization can be traced through four aspects: strong support of free public education; patriotism during war time and development of democracy in church governance; increasing participation in civic life; and acceptance of English as the language of congregational life. To celebrate the German Central Evangelical Church's sesquicentennial in 2008, the congregation, now the Central United Church of Christ, published a history of its role as a mainstream American church. Walter Schroeder shares the story of the German Central Evangelical Church and discusses how its history reflects the progressive Americanization of German immigrants.