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Celebrating Our Nineteenth [actually "Ninetieth"] Anniversary
November 19, 1978
St. John's United Church of Christ (Evangelical and Reformed)
Eighth and Clay Streets, Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania

The Anniversary Service of Worship [1 1/4 bulletin-size pages]

The Dinner [information and Menu]

The Program [Musical: singing of favorite songs; the Madonna of Jerusalem choir; and the "Chord Connection", a Sweet Adelines quartet]

Historical Events As Presented 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 organizations.
     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 now exist.
     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 the building.
     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, and carpet.
     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.

     SPIRITUALLY, we and the community have been served by 15 ministers, as follows:
    Rev. J. H. Helmkamp      1888-1893
    Rev. H. W. Schild           1894-1900
    Rev. F. Baltzer                1901-1902
    Rev. A. Juergens             1902-1904
    Rev. G. Kienle                1904-1907
    Rev. W. A. Bomhard      1907-1938
    Rev. R. W. Yohe            1938-1944
    Rev. R. C. Steele            1945-1955
    Rev. H. D. Maxwell        1955-1956
    Rev. C. T. Schaefer        1957
    Rev. H. D. Maxwell        1957-1960
    Rev. R. Shockey             1961-1967
    Rev. J. Hazlett                 1967-1969
    Rev. D. Tapley                1970-1973
    Layman Paul Aloyi          1973-1974
    Rev. P. Oberkircher        1974-To Date

     In the course of ministry, we have had problems, which other churches also had and some of the problems are as follows:
     The founders were of German origin, therefore services were conducted in German. Many of the younger generation joined churches where English was spoken.

Conrad Bellman            John Elling                      August Sharf
George Bellman            August Yankee                Lernfart Seeman
Henry Brugund            Gottlieb Kraft                   F. W. Schrandt
Frederick Balbach        John Kammer                 William King
John Belhenower          Henry Lollo                     Philip Thomas
Christ Burgund             John Krause                    Jacob Stein
George Beierley           Frederick Kiefer              Henry Schulz
John Beltzel                  J. E. Meyer                     Carl Schwarts
John Beyer                  Henry Moritz                    John Suffel
John Christoffel           Henry G. Moritz               Frederick Schrott
Lorenz Christ              Godfried Michaels            Adam Wagner
John Trapp                 Christian Munz                  Simon Weisenstein
George Eickhorn        Frederick Pilgram               John Wolf
George Fugh              Louis Prager                       John Wiethoft
John Fugh                  George Prager                   George Wolfarth
David Fugh                 Lennord Prager                 Kasper Wagner
Frederick Fugh           Charles Riethmiller             N. G. Mertz
John G. Fisher            Conrad Riethmiller             Frederich Weyman
George Fisher            Conrad Riethmiller, Jr.       George Zimmerman
John Grau                   Fredrick Ringle                 Henry Braun
Christ Grimm              Frederick Ruprecht           Carl Thomas
John Hartman             John Raum                        Henry Buehler
Henry Hartman           Godfried Rath                   Henry Bock
Charles Hartman        Christian Reis                     Frank Beck
Frederick Hahn          Charles Ritter                    August Miller
John Hahn                  August Schran                  Henry Dopegi
Annie Hahn                Michael Schran                 G. W. Heckel
Charles Heni              H. G. Schultheis                 Frederick Prager
J. J. Heil                    Mrs. V. Schultheis              Mrs. Raum
Mrs. A. Hendrich      Frederick Sharf                  Christ Schuster

    Rev. Paul Oberkircher                             Minister
    Mrs. Kay McAvoy                                  Church - Organist
    Denise Schmitt                                         Sunday School - Superintendent
    Mrs. Edith Oberkircher                            Sunday School - Pianist

    Mr. Alex Tripson                                   President
    Mr. Richard Buckholz                           1st Vice President
    Mr. James Bailey                                  2nd Vice President
    Mrs. Helen Cerra                                 Treasurer
    Mr. Charles Mertens                            Secretary
    Mrs. Virginia Flot                                 Financial Secretary
    Mrs. Violet Cook                                 Mrs. Jean Howells
    Mr. John Hartman                                Mrs. Grayce Karel
    Mrs. Martha Osbourne                        Elva Drummond
    Denise Schmitt

*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:
     The Rev. Paul Westcoat, President of Penn West Conference of the United Church of Christ. [Sermon: "The Past is Prologue"]
     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 Robson.
     The Trumpeters: Clayt Grabb, Jim Frketic, Mark Oberkircher.
     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.
Transcribed on 14 Jan 2006 by Carolyn McQuaid Thomas, from an original bulletin and insert.

To 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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