Our Nineteenth [actually "Ninetieth"] Anniversary
The Anniversary Service of Worship
November 19, 1978
John's United Church of
Christ (Evangelical and Reformed)
Eighth and Clay Streets,
[1 1/4 bulletin-size pages]
of favorite songs; the Madonna of
Jerusalem choir; and the "Chord Connection", a Sweet Adelines quartet]
by Charles L. Mertens:
I have been assigned to review St. John's
Church life and history, however, first let me express for the church
and consistory, our heartfelt thanks for the response to our
invitation, in helping us to celebrate the 90th Anniversary, which we
have designated as Founders Day.
HISTORICALLY, this church was founded by
members of St. John's Lutheran Church at Sixth St. The separation was
due to enforcement of rules pertaining to association with fraternal
The first services were held at the Sharpsburg
Boro Building, then located at 14th and Main Streets. Next, a frame
building was built on the now existing parking lot area, and was used
for church services, Sunday, and Parochial School.
In the late 1920s the church steeple was
struck by lightning and was removed in the early part of 1930.
In the 1930s the Evangelical Church merged
with the Reformed Church, and when the recommended type service of the
joint church was adopted by St. John's, we lost members who opposed the
change in services.
Sharpsburg, being an old community, lost many
of its citizens to the trend, or movement to newer communities, and
this also affected our membership.
Summarizing all of my remarks, we feel we are
being tested as was "Job". Being tested to find whether we are worthy.
We hope we are.
In 1936, flood water, 8 ft. deep, flooded the
sanctuary, lifted the floor, allowing the supports to move out of
position, and when the water receded, the floor, pews, etc. landed in
the basement. The Educational Building was also lifted off its
foundation, and landed in a twisted, unuseable condition.
We reconstructed the church floor, salvaged
the pews, and the Educational Building was torn down, and rebuilt, by
using a mixture of old and new materials.
Approximately 1950, it was decided a parking
area was necessary, therefore we excavated the basement for sufficient
depth, to allow us to construct the educational and social rooms, as
We then tore down the Educational Building and
created a parking lot.
December, 1955, we redecorated the interior of
the Sanctuary, and in January, 1956, the church was hit by a disastrous
fire which burned from the basement, thru the roof on the altar end of
Our pipe organ, stained glass windows, pews,
carpet, and other furniture was destroyed, and again, our members
dedicated themselves to the task of rebuilding.
At this time, we purchased the present pews,
In closing we acknowledge the re-union of
former choir members and their fine contribution to this service. We
also thank the Madonna Church Choir, for the services.
we and the community have been
served by 15 ministers, as follows:
Rev. J. H. Helmkamp
Rev. H. W. Schild
Rev. F. Baltzer
Rev. A. Juergens
Rev. G. Kienle
Rev. W. A. Bomhard 1907-1938
Rev. R. W. Yohe
Rev. R. C. Steele
Rev. H. D. Maxwell
Rev. C. T. Schaefer
Rev. H. D. Maxwell
Rev. R. Shockey
Rev. J. Hazlett
Rev. D. Tapley
Layman Paul Aloyi
Rev. P. Oberkircher
In the course of ministry, we have had
problems, which other churches also had and some of the problems are as
The founders were of German origin, therefore
services were conducted in German. Many of the younger generation
joined churches where English was spoken.
LIST OF ST. JOHN CHARTER MEMBERS
F. W. Schrandt
Frederick Balbach John
John Belhenower Henry
J. E. Meyer
Henry G. Moritz
George Eickhorn Frederick
John G. Fisher
Conrad Riethmiller, Jr. George
Charles Hartman Christian
Frederick Hahn Charles
G. W. Heckel
J. J. Heil
Mrs. A. Hendrich Frederick
Rev. Paul Oberkircher
Mrs. Kay McAvoy
Church - Organist
Sunday School -
Mrs. Edith Oberkircher
Sunday School - Pianist
Mr. Alex Tripson
Mr. Richard Buckholz
1st Vice President
Mr. James Bailey
2nd Vice President
Mrs. Helen Cerra
Mr. Charles Mertens
Mrs. Virginia Flot
Mrs. Violet Cook
Mrs. Jean Howells
Mr. John Hartman
Mrs. Grayce Karel
Mrs. Martha Osbourne
*Rev. William Fischer, son of Wm and the late Marie Fischer is in the
Christian Ministry at Unity School, Lee Summit, Missouri.
*Rev. Ron Snyder was ordained as a minister in our church on September
24, 1978, and Mrs. Maria Snyder is a lay minister.
On yellow half-sheet insert are at
least these notices:
IN APPRECIATION TO:
The Rev. Paul Westcoat, President of Penn West
Conference of the United Church of Christ. [Sermon: "The Past is
Kay McAvoy, organist and choir director. Kay
also composed the offertory anthem [Psalm 121] which is being sung for
the first time today.
The "augmented" choir composed of St. John's
choir and former members and friends of St. John's Church: Dolly
Beattie, Sue Bennett, Helen Cerra, Eleanor Cook, Virginia Flot, Jackie
Frank, Nancy Firzges, Donna Harper, Jackie Ickert, Pat Jeffers, Marian
Jochem, Marlene Lewis, Edith Oberkircher, Lois Schilling, Denise
Schmitt, Nancy Schoman, Ruth Ann Smith, Paul Benthin, Mike Cerra,
Richard Clark, Bill Harper, Gary Ishenbaugh, Jim Oberkircher, Edward
The Trumpeters: Clayt Grabb, Jim Frketic, Mark
We appreciate the presence of the Madonna of
Jerusalem choir under the direction of Mr. Marion Gerardi, with Margie
Gerardi accompanying the group at the organ.
You will enjoy the choral offerings of the
CHORD CONNECTION as they entertain us with songs in the style of the
Sweet Adeline groups. Peggy Freyvogel, Alicia Clever, Susan Rote and
Charlotte Wilcox are the singers.
Keep the memory of this event in your hearts
and may the friendship we know together endure for many years.
14 Jan 2006 by Carolyn McQuaid Thomas, from an original
bulletin and insert.
view a "Tom Thumb Wedding"
Presentation by the Sunday School of St. John's Evangelical &
Reformed Church -- Sharpsburg, Penna. -- Friday,
June 12, 1942 -- 8 P.M., click here.
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