History of the Original Friedens Church
Friedens United Church of Christ began as an Evangelical and Reformed Church on Juneau Avenue near downtown Milwaukee. According to the archives at the UW-Milwaukee Library, the original Friedens Church dates back to 1869. It was originally a congregation of German Americans. The church continued in its original form for many years.
As the ethnic composition of the neighborhood changed in the late 1950s and the 1960s, and as parishioners aged and moved to the suburbs, membership of Friedens United declined. In 1985, unable to pay its bills, the congregation disbanded, and donated the Church property to the Southeast Association, Wisconsin Conference, United Church of Christ, which in turn, sold the church property to the Free Spirit Missionary Baptist Church.
Several years later, on the night of February 23, 2002, the church building, built in 1906, was gutted by a fire. It burned into the morning, destroying this architectural gem and its beloved stained glass windows.
Many former parishioner remember this church as Milwaukee’s Evangelical “Cathedral,” the mother church that birthed a vibrant ministry in the heart of Milwaukee.