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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Painting the steeple. C. 1915 Loemker, Herman J., 1868-1937, “[Painting the steeple of the German Methodist Episcopal Church, Dubuque, Iowa],” Loras College Digital Collections, accessed December 27, 2015, https://digitalcollections.loras.edu/items/show/316.
German (Grace) Methodist Episcopal Church. Formally organized in 1843, German (Grace) Methodist Church was created by Dubuque residents who felt the need to worship in their own language while preserving their ethnic heritage. The membership erected their first church at 11th and Jackson STREETS. With an increase in membership, a larger church was built on the same location in 1854.

Over the next twenty years, membership in the church declined as people moved west or joined the larger English-speaking Methodist churches in Dubuque. Despite declining membership, a new church was built in 1885 at the corner of 17th and Iowa streets.

With the outbreak of WORLD WAR I, Governor William Lloyd Harding issued the Babel Proclamation in 1918. This act outlawed the use of foreign languages in public, over the telephone, in school, and in religious services. The name of the church was formally changed to Grace Methodist Episcopal Church and later Grace Methodist Church. The "Frauen Verien" became the Ladies' Aid Society.

The loss of the distinctive German character of the congregation and the financial strains caused by the GREAT DEPRESSION led again to a decline in membership. In July 1965, Grace Methodist Church officially became part of ST. LUKE'S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH.