History of Epiphany Lutheran Church

Early in 1960, after mission work by Pastor Bill West and the Dietz family from DeSoto, a small group gathered in Carbondale to form the Epiphany Lutheran congregation, belonging to the then United Lutheran Church in America. By March they had called their first pastor and purchased the present property on Chautauqua. Services were held in an old farmhouse until a new building was dedicated in the fall of 1963 with financial support from the Board of American Missions (this lasted until 1982).Meanwhile, in 1976, another small group of area Lutherans left the Missouri Synod and formed a congregation in the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) under the name Lutheran Church of All Saints. When several national Lutheran church bodies merged in 1989 to create The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the two congregations began exploring the possibility of their own merger. This took place in the spring of 1990 and shortly thereafter the newly formed group began planning for an expanded facility at the Chautauqua site. The new sanctuary and the renovation of the older building into education and fellowship space was completed in 1997.The combined energy and talents of these two groups merged into a vibrant congregation that blends worship with local evangelism, global ministry support and a strong sense of social responsibility. Epiphany members provide financial support for two seminaries of the ELCA and for ELCA missionaries serving in Madagascar. In late summer, we provide school supplies for children in southern Illinois (working with Lutheran Social Services of Illinois). Throughout the year, Epiphany supports local food pantries as well as agencies that focus on shelter and aid for the homeless. A succession of ministers has supported these goals and helped make the church a presence in the community’s interfaith efforts. Several community organizations make use of our very accessible space for meetings, classes and musical events. Epiphany relies on a system of faith pledging in which each member makes an annual pledge of financial support, but the amount is known only to that person and to God—no one else sees it. This faith system has worked well not only to ensure the financial support of the congregation, but also to encourage a range of time and talent resources as well.  Epiphany Lutheran Church encourages students and staff from Southern Illinois University and John Logan Community College to visit. We are a welcoming church, open to diversity in race, culture and lifestyle. We invite you to join us for worship on Sunday and for a variety of activities throughout the week as we hear and proclaim God’s saving gospel.[August 2021]