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Our Pastor

Our pastor is Rev. Wendy Downing. Wendy has been in ministry since 1986. She was ordained a United Methodist Deacon in 1986 and an Elder in 1988. She went to Perkins School of Theology on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.

Wendy served as a hospital chaplain at Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston, MO for three years, and as a hospice chaplain with Providence Hospice Group in Sikeston, MO for four years. Wendy has been in parish ministry for most of her career and began serving in the PC(USA) in 1996, and became a Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor in 2006. She has been in ecumenical & intergenerational ministry through her work in the parish and hospice/hospital, starting senior programs, and youth groups in several of the churches she has served.

Theologically, Wendy would be considered fairly liberal, and loves to hear about the spiritual journeys of others, and how God has been at work in their lives. Growing up a city girl in North County of St. Louis, Wendy always loved visiting her grandparents’ farm and visiting parks and lakes with her family. Wendy loves the outdoors and living in this beautiful river area with her husband, Rev. John Goodwin.

Pastoral History

The first pastor of the Steelville Church was the Rev. John E. Braley, who was succeeded by his brother, Rev. James B. Braley in 1844, and remained until 1851. The succeeding pastors, or supplies, with the dates of their pastorates are below.

  • Rev. I. B. Allen, 1852
  • Rev. Jas. B. Braley, 1855
  • Rev. W. P. Renick, 1859
  • Rev. Jas. B. Braley, 1877
  • Rev. W. T. Rogers, 1883
  • Rev. J. P. Campbell, 1884
  • Rev. W. D. Hawkins, 1887
  • Rev. J. P. Campbell, 1889
  • Rev. H. D. Kenedy, 1890
  • Rev. A. T. Carr, 1893
  • Rev. J. T. Todd, 1896
  • Rev. J. A. Sigler, 1900
  • Rev. S. E. Wilson, 1902
  • Rev. M. A. Prather, 1902 – 06
  • Rev. Joseph Latham, 1906 – 07
  • Rev. J. T. Alexander, 1907 – 08
  • Rev. D. L. Temple, 1911 – 12
  • Rev. J. M. Glick, 1908 – 10
  • Rev. T. N. Hunt, 1913 – 14
  • Rev. S. L. Roper, 1914 – 21
  • Rev. Charles Martin, 1921 – 24
  • Rev. O. H. Campbell, 1925 – 27
  • Rev. A. L. Whitfield, 1927 – 28
  • Rev. Sam L. Roper, 1929 – 1953
  • Rev. Raymond A. Schondelmeyer, 1954 – 1964
  • Rev. Charles D. Likely, 1965 – 1985
  • Rev. Wendy Roberts, 1985 – 1986
  • Revs. Wm. C. and Susan L. Guyer Birch, 1986 – 1995
  • Rev. Al Hoyer, 1997 – 2000
  • Rev. W. Dale Starr, 2000 – 2003
  • Rev. Mary Arnold, 2006 – 2008
  • Rev. John Welton, 2012 – 2016
  • Rev. Wendy S. Downing, 2017 – present

Rev. Sam L. Roper

1914-1921, 1929-1953

Rev. Raymond A. Schondelmeyer


Rev. Charles D. Likely


My Adventures with Uncle Sam Roper

by Carol Marsh Banta

When I was 18 years old, I was in my Sunday School class and Uncle Sam came in and asked if I would try to keep the Junior boys class as the teacher had quit because they were so mean to her. I had no idea how to teach but I gave it a try. The boys in that class that I remember were Roger and Ronnie Rome, Butch Fishwick, Bruce Earls, Jimmy Decker and Bobby Burkel. I know there were 12 boys in all, and we met in the basement kitchen in the old church. They brought all kinds of playthings with them, including toy guns, sling shots and anything that would make noise, so I just collected all these things when they came to class and gave them back when the class was over. These boys went on to a higher class after three years and I inherited more junior boys to replace them. Since no teacher was ever found to take that class, I was still teaching Sunday School 50 years later. Needless to say, the same boys that I first taught still talk about our class after all these years when I happen to see them.

Our church secretary resigned and there was no one to do the Sunday bulletins. I was working in the bank as I had finished high school, and Uncle Sam came and asked if I would fill in until they could find another secretary. Back then you had to type a stencil and then run it out on a mimeograph machine. It took a lot of time to print 200 or so bulletins, but every week Uncle Sam would come into the bank on Saturday afternoon and give me all the information to print. He never did find another secretary, so I was still doing bulletins 13 years later. One Saturday he failed to show up with the information for the Sunday service. So I called Stanley Scott and asked what I should do. Stanley said he was probably fishing and to just leave it blank and see what would happen. Stanley drew a picture of a man fishing and put it on the stencil and ran it off on the inside of the bulletin. When Uncle Sam opened the bulletin on Sunday morning at the beginning of church and saw that picture and no order of service, he looked down at me sitting in the front row and laughed. He had completely forgotten he had not brought the information to me the day before. Stanley was always a great help in time of need. He was our church treasurer for 60 years.

Bible School was another favored activity. One year Uncle Sam challenged us to memorize the catechism. I never let a challenge go untried, so I asked to do it. He gave me a book to memorize it from and told me if I accomplished my goal, he would give me a Bible. Well, I memorized all of it and he would come to my home on Cedar Lane each week and we would sit under the old hickory tree, and he would ask me the questions and I would give him the answers. When we had finished after several weeks I asked for my Bible. He took quite some time to get it, but he brought it to me. I had never had a Bible and it was a treasured possession. I realized after I was grown what it must have cost back then to buy a new Bible and Uncle Sam probably had very little to spend back in the 1930's.