The Bavarians who settled just outside of Perryville, Missouri, in the 1830s felt so strongly about the importance of peace that they named their town Friedenberg ("Hill of Peace") and their church Peace Lutheran Church. The congregation disbanded in 1980, but the facilities, the people, and the "peace" still live on in Friedenberg.
The Hill of Peace is a simple, red-brick worship facility overlooking the quiet Missouri countryside. In addition to the sanctuary, a white clapboard meeting hall hosted groups of yesterday and waits to accommodate gatherings of today. The Peace Lutheran School building across from the church is a visual reminder of the high value placed on Christian education by the settlers. The little village also once included a general store, post office, and blacksmith shop. It is hoped that someday these buildings can also be restored.
Peace Lutheran Church had two previous homes. The Bavarian immigrants who came in the summer of 1838 (before the Saxon immigration) worshipped in members' homes until a log church was built north of Cinque Hommes Creek (south of Perryville) in 1846. The Rev. C. F. Gruber of the Saxon Paitzdorf colony (today Uniontown) first served these people beginning in 1840.
From 1852 to 1885 the congregation worshipped in a church on the Frankenberg hill overlooking Cinque Hommes bottom. Peace Lutheran Cemetery is still located at this site along Highway 61. The congregation's membership extended from Perryville all the way to the Mississippi River opposite Chester, Illinois. Peace thus became the "mother church" of Immanuel in Perryville, Zion in Crosstown, Zion in Longtown, and a congregation at Point Rest that no longer exists. It also helped Lutherans at Ste. Genevieve organize a congregation 1867.
In 1885 the congregation moved from Frankenberg to Friedenberg and built the present brick structure. As the social and economic climate of the area changed, membership began to decline. In 1980 Peace congregation voted to disband. The people resolved to preserve their buildings as a reminder of the heritage of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and asked Concordia Historical Institute to take over the property. It is now a "walk-in history book" that vividly demonstrates the change in the life of the rural church that was so important in previous eras.
An annual Harvest Festival Service is held in the early fall.
The facilities of the Hill of Peace are also available for conferences, family reunions, church retreats, anniversaries, weekend campouts, or even a country picnic.
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