When the Rev. Mr. Glen Knecht first came to Union Presbyterian Church, he was a recent seminary graduate.
Later this month, the 89-year-old retired minister will return to the congregation to help members celebrate their 94th annual homecoming.
After earning a bachelor's degree from Maryville College and spending two years at Fuller Theological Seminary, he earned his divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1954.
Months later, he was pastor of the historic Colerain Township church.
"When he came here, we had just decided not to fix up the old manse and we were going to build a new one," said Union Presbyterian member C. Martin Greenleaf Jr. "So he moved into an old schoolhouse on our farm until the new manse could be finished." Members of the congregation helped the young couple furnish their converted schoolhouse home.
In addition to ministering to the congregation, the Rev. Mr. Knecht also worked on the new manse.
His efforts helped have the new manse ready to be dedicated in October, 1955.
During the minister's time at Union, the church took in 30 new members.
The Rev. Mr. Knecht was also responsible for forming Boy Scout Troop 40 which was based at the church.
He resigned in 1957 to serve overseas. After serving as a missionary to Tehran, Iran, he returned to the area to serve neighboring Oxford Presbyterian Church. "He was very well liked when he was here and everyone was pretty thrilled that he came back to the area," Greenleaf said.
Later in his ministry, the Rev. Mr. Knecht moved to Maryland, where he now lives in retirement. Earlier this year, he agreed to be the speaker at this year's homecoming service. The service has been a yearly tradition at the church since 1925.
"We had something before then  but it wasn't called homecoming," Greenleaf said.
The 94th annual homecoming service will be held at 10 a.m. on Sunday, October 20, in the church sanctuary, 5687 Street Rd., Kirkwood. The service will also see the church choir's first performance of the season.
A luncheon will follow the service. "We're not asking people to bring covered dishes. We supply everything," Greenleaf said. "We just want current members, former members, and the public know they are welcome to come."