Caring for God's People

Caring for God’s Community


Church Emergency Services of New Athens

CESNA (Church Emergency Services of New Athens) is an ecumenical service organization sponsored by the churches of New Athens. For nearly twenty-five  years, CESNA has been reaching out in the name of Christians living in New Athens to those in need of a helping hand.

  • Emergency rent payments
  • Help with utility bills
  • Groceries
  • Emergency clothing needs, including shoes and winter coats
  • School supplies
  • Personal care items
  • Canned goods made available through the New Athens food pantry, housed at St. John UCC.

CESNA has several fundraisers during the year. During the spring, a soup supper serves 500 or more people, whose donations, combined with contributions from area businesses, give the CESNA checkbook a much-needed boost. The United Methodist Church of New Athens also sponsors a summer sing along that is another welcome source of funding. Talent drawn from congregations throughout New Athens and beyond comes together in joyful, toe-tapping, and fun event.

The Merrier Christmas Drive is supported by CESNA as well as by many other local civic organizations and caring individuals. In 2017, the Merrier Christmas Drive served over 100 children drawn from just over 50 families in and around New Athens.

Family Care Ministries

Helping the needy in New Athens and surrounding areas

The Family Care Ministry began over twenty years ago as a cooperative ministry between the Hoyleton Children’s Home and several UCC churches located in the Illinois South Conference. The primary goal of the group has always been to provide low cost Christian counseling for those who otherwise would probably need get the professional helping hand they need.

Susan Ditch, Family Care’s counselor, meets with clients at St. John UCC in New Athens as well as in an office provided by St. Paul UCC in Freeburg. Fees are charged on a sliding scale, but no one is ever turned away. The sponsor churches make up whatever difference exists between Susan’s fees and a client’s ability to pay. Counseling services are also available from the trained professionals at Hoyleton as well.

  • Confirmation discussion groups
  • Grief support groups
  • Parenting seminars
  • In-home health care for the elderly to the area

Member churches of the Family Care ministry are currently UCC congregations in New Athens, Darmstadt, Biddleborn, Lenzburg, Marissa, Freeburg,  and Smithton.

United Church of Christ Logo

United Church Of Christ Overview

Our congregation is part of the United Church of Christ—a community of faith that seeks to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed. The UCC was founded in 1957 as the union of several different Christian traditions. From the beginning of our history, we were a church that affirmed the ideal that Christians could live together in communion even if they didn’t agree. Our motto—”That they may all be one”—is Jesus’ prayer for the unity of the church. The UCC is one of the most diverse Christian churches in the United States.


Global Members 914871
Congregations 5032
St. John's Members 517

Brief History of St. John Church

On April 14, 1871, a citizen’s group decided to found an Evangelical Church in New Athens. The young congregation, officially named “German Evangelical St. John Church,” moved into its new sanctuary on December 2, 1878. Soon after, the Frauen Verein (Ladies’ Aid) and church school were organized.

The physical facilities of St. John Church have seen numerous changes. A new sanctuary was built in 1905 after the original building was damaged in a storm. That facility still serves the congregation today, having been both expanded and remodeled several times, most recently in 2005.


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Susan Juenger

Church Administrative Assistant
301 s. Market
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Julie Daab

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Steve Jackson

Praise Band Director
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Paul Bickel

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Tiffany Ries

Director, New Beginnings Daycare
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Tom Drake

Janitorial Services
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Bob Koch