CHURCHES BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS
A HISTORY OF THE
LUTHERAN CONGREGATIONS IN
PERRY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
REV. D. H. FOCHT, A.M.
CENTRE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN
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The narrow valley lying between Juniata and
Susquehanna Rivers, east of Newport, in Oliver and Buffalo Townships, was
formerly and is still known as Buck's or Brush Valley. Some of the
earliest settlers of this beautiful and fertile valley were members of the
Lutheran Church. To 1833, Rev. J. W. Heim preached for them an occasional
sermon at the east or Susquehanna end of the valley. In October, 1833,
Rev. C. G. Erlenmeyer took charge of the Liverpool pastorate, and for some time
preached at Buck's School-house, near the Susquehanna, and at other places in
the valley till 1842. In November, 1842, in connection with Liverpool,
Petersburg, and some other places, Rev. Andrew Berg commenced to preach
regularly at what was commonly known as Buck's School-house, where, on the 24th
of June, 1843, he confirmed the following persons:
Louisa A. Grum
Immediately after the confirmation of these persons, and after he had preached
here only about six months, to the great regret of the members, Rev. A. Berg
resigned, and accepted a call from the Shrewsbury charge, York County, Pa.
Thus the members were left destitute, and had no preaching by a minister of
their own Church for a number of years. They gradually scattered as sheep
without a shepherd. Some were gathered into other folds. In
September, 1847, Rev. William Weaver took charge of the Liverpool pastorate,
and, till 1851, preached occasionally at different places in this valley.
All of the above-mentioned ministers preached at school-houses at different
points in the valley. The members had no church and were not organized
into a congregation, and as they had preaching but seldom and at long intervals
they remained scattered. So far as we can learn anything to the contrary,
no Lutheran minister preached in this valley from 1851 to January, 1859, when
the Rev. D. H. Focht first visited the members. During this time a number
left the Church of their early love and choice, a few attended preaching
occasionally at Newport and other places, and some lived in cold indifference
and cared little about the interests of their souls. In the meantime a few
families belonging to the Church moved into the valley. The want of
preaching was deeply felt and often deplored by those who sought the good of
their families and of their community. The members were few, scattered and
weak, and wickedness abounded. It became evident to most, if not all the
members, that the preaching of the Gospel was the only means to bring about
among them a better state of things. Finally, after repeated solicitations
by different persons in the valley, the
Rev. D. H. Focht,
pastor of the Bloomfield Lutheran charge,
consented to preach a sermon for them. An appointment was made for
preaching at what was generally known as Huggin's School-house, about
five miles east of Newport, in Buffalo Township, and about the centre of the
valley. At this school0house, Rev. Focht accordingly preached the first
time on Sunday evening, the 23d of January 1859, from Exodus 33:14. The
attendance was good, and all being encouraged, by request, he left another
appointment. Hence, at the same place, he preached the second time on
Saturday evening, the 12th of February, from Matt. 6:33; and the third time on
Saturday evening, the 6th of March from Rev. 3:20. Stimulated by these
pastoral visits, a strong desire was manifested by the members to secure the
stated preaching of the Gospel, and two of the brethren were appointed as a
committee to meet the different church-councils of the Bloomfield charge, at
their annual convention at Bloomfield on the 7th of May following, in order to
secure part of the time of the pastor of that charge.
On Saturday, the 7th of May, 1859, Messrs. Lewis Acker and John Gunderman met
the church-councils in convention at Bloomfield, and in behalf of the members in
Buffalo Township made application for part of the ministerial services of the
pastor. After due consideration of all the circumstances connected with
this application, it was
"Resolved, That the Lutheran congregation soon to be organized in
Buffalo Township, be received as an integral part of the Bloomfield charge, and
that our pastor may preach for said congregation as often as he finds in
convenient, Provided that such arrangement does not conflict with our
regular appointments, and Provided, further, that each member of said
congregation pay, annually, towards the support of the Gospel in the charge, not
less than one dollar, and as much more as each one is able."
ORGANIZATION OF CENTRE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
On Sunday, the 5th of June, 1859, at 2
o'clock p.m., the pastor preached at Huggin's School-house from Mark
16:15. After the sermon was delivered, the following declaration was read,
signed, and the organization effected:
"We, the undersigned, now regular members of the Church of Jesus Christ,
and in good standing, living, in Buffalo and Oliver Townships, Perry County,
Pa., feeling deeply the necessity of having the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
preached regularly among us, of having our children instructed and brought into
fellowship with the Church, and the sacraments administered according to the
command of Christ, and having obtained permission to organize ourselves into a
regular congregation, and having been received as an integral part of the
Bloomfield Evangelical Lutheran pastorate, Do, on this Sunday, the 5th
day of June, Anno Domini 1859, in reliance on the great Head of the Church,
organize and constitute ourselves an Evangelical Lutheran congregation,
by elected an Elder or Elders and Deacons, and in so doing we adopt the Formula
appended to the Lutheran Hymn-book, or a constitution consistent therewith, as
the rule of our government and discipline, acknowledging the Holy Bible as our
only infallible rule of faith and practice, and adhering to the essential
doctrines of God's word as set forth in the Augsburg Confession, and as
understood and taught by the Synod of Central Pennsylvania and the General Synod
of the Lutheran Church in the United States. All this we do with a sole
view to the glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, for our present and
eternal good, the good of our children and that of the community at large.
Looking to Almighty God for his blessing on this our humble and sincerely devout
undertaking, we hereunto subscribe our names, on the day aforesaid, as members
of Centre Evangelical Lutheran congregation, in Buffalo Township, Perry
County, Pa., praying that among us God's word may have free course, run and be
glorified in the edification, conversion, and final salvation of many souls, and
that this congregation may prove a great blessing to many, and be perpetuated
from generation to generation till time be no more, through Jesus Christ, our
divine Lord and Master. Amen. Signed by
John Moritz; Jacob Harris; John Gunderman; David Moritz; Appilonia Harris; John
W. Silks; Elizabeth Moritz; Philip Peters; John Silks; Lewis Acker; Elizabeth
Peters; Levina Hetrick; Susan Acker; Reuben Hains; Louisa C. Huggins; Susan
Eliz. Acker; Jacob Bair; Abraham Adams; Jacob E. Ziegler; Sarah Bair; Angeline
The following brethren were then elected and installed as the officers of the
John Moritz, Elder.
Jacob Harris, for 1 year & Lewis Acker, for 2 years, Deacons.
The congregation being thus regularly organized, the pastor preached thenceforth
once every three weeks, alternately in the forenoon and afternoon, at Huggin's
School-house and two or three times at Patterson's. The congregation
requires an occasional sermon in the German language; it will, however, not be
long until no German will be required. Soon after the organization of the
congregation, the pastor commenced, after every sermon he preached here, to
lecture on a portion of the Catechism of the Church. This was deemed
necessary, not only for the instruction of the young and those not members, but
especially for the members.
On the 30th of December, 1859, at Huggin's School-house, a protracted meeting
was commenced and continued till the 11th of January following. During
this precious season of grace, it is supposed between twenty and twenty-five
members and others were truly converted to God. A weekly prayer-meeting
was then started, which has since been kept up regularly by the members, and is
well attended. The Sunday-school is also well attended. The converts
of the meeting were faithfully instructed for some time in the doctrines of our
holy Christianity, and on the 24th of March, 1860, the following persons were
Adam Hetrick; George W. Huggins; William H. Mowry (baptized); Mrs. Rebecca
Moritz, (baptized); Mrs. Susan Finton; Mrs. Hannah M. Ziegler; Miss Annetta
Guslar; Miss Susan Peters.
"Awake, my soul, in joyful
And sing thy great Redeemer's praise;
He justly claims a song from me,
His loving-kindness, O how free!"
On Sunday, the 25th of March, the Lord's
Supper was administered, when twenty-nine persons communed.
Much was said from time to time about building a church, and one was really very
much needed; but nothing was, however, done towards the accomplishment of an end
so glorious. Soon after the present pastor commenced preaching here, and
still more after the congregation was organized, it became evident to all the
members that to the permanency and future prosperity of the congregation a
church of their own and under their own control was required. In the
school-house the congregation was subjected to great inconvenience and annoyance
from various sources. Here, that order, becoming the worship of God, could
not be preserved, and the interests of the congregation could not be secured.
In accordance with previous announcement, a convention of the members was held
on Monday, the 26th of March, at the house of Mr. George W. Huggins, to take
into consideration the propriety of erecting a church. The following
brethren were in attendance and voted, viz., Lewis Acker, John Bowers, Adam
Hetrick, George W. Huggins, Jacob E. Ziegler, John Moritz, John Haines, Jacob
Harris, Philip Peters, John Gunderman, Peter K. Lehr, and William H. Mowry.
The pastor opened the business of the meeting with prayer. The object of
the convention was then fully stated, and the brethren were exhorted to set
deliberately, in harmony and love, and for the glory of God and the best
interest of the congregation. After careful consideration, the following
resolutions were unanimously adopted:
"Resolved, 1. That the majority of votes shall decide all
questions now to come before us."
As the proposed church was to be located near the line between Buffalo and
Oliver Townships, and about midway between Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers, and
near the centre of the valley, it was
"Resolved, 2. That the church be called Centre, and be
"Resolved, 3. That the church be located in a corner of the
upper field of Mr. Harris, at the cross-road between Messrs. Harris and
"Resolved, 4. That three brethren be elected Trustees, who
shall also be the building committee." Messrs. John Moritz, Lewis
Acker and Jacob Harris were elected.
"Resolved, 5. That the church-edifice be thirty-five by forty
feet in size, frame, and twelve feet in the clear." It is to be
regretted that, on their own responsibility, the building committee afterwards
reduced the dimensions to thirty by thirty-six feet.
"Resolved, 6. That the building-committee contract with
mechanics for erection of the church-edifice on such terms as shall, in their
judgement, be best for all parties concerned."
The following heading of a subscription was then drawn up, and $267 were at the
"We, the undersigned subscribers, promise to pay in money, work or lumber,
the respective sums opposite our names towards erecting Centre Lutheran
Church in Buffalo Township, Perry County, Pa., on land given for the purpose
by Mr. Jacob Harris. Said church is to be used for the preaching of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ in purity, and by the permission of the whole
Church-Council other orthodox denominations may be allowed to preach in it a
funeral sermon or an occasional sermon, provided such an occasional
sermon does not cause difficulty and does not interfere with the regular
appointments of the congregation. March 26th, 1860."
The business of this convention was transacted with great unanimity, in harmony
and love. The brethren united with the pastor in prayer, and thus the
meeting closed. All present took courage to press the enterprise forward
On the 27th of April, the building committee contracted with Mr. Philip Peters
to erect the church-edifice for five hundred and fifty dollars.
The following congregational Constitution, prepared by the pastor, and adopted
by the congregation on the day therein named, together with the Formula appended
to the Lutheran Hymn-Book, are the rule by which this congregation is to be
governed and its discipline administered:
CONSTITUTION OF CENTRE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
Believing that order is necessary to the
prosperity of every association, and that it is therefore the duty of every
individual congregation to adopt such a form of government and discipline as
shall be consistent with the precepts and spirit of the word of God, We, whose
names are undersigned, do hereby, on this the 15th day of June, A.D., 1860,
solemnly adopt the doctrinal basis of the Synod of Central Pennsylvania and of
the General Synod of the Lutheran Church in the United States, and pledge
ourselves to God and each other to be governed by the following Constitution:
OF THE CHURCH, IT'S NAME, DUTIES AND
SEC. 1. This church shall be known by
the name of Centre Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Buffalo Township,
Perry County and State of Pennsylvania.
SEC. 2. This church-edifice shall be used for the preaching of the Gospel
of Jesus Christ in purity. By the permission of the whole
Church-Council other orthodox denominations may be allowed to preach in this
church a funeral sermon or an occasional sermon, provided such an
occasional sermon does not cause difficulty and does not interfere with the
regular appointments of the congregation.
SEC. 3. This church shall be governed by the "Formula for the
Government and Discipline of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United
States," and by such by-laws as are consistent therewith.
SEC. 4. The object of this church shall be to see that God's word, as
contained in the Old and New Testament, be preached in purity, and that the
sacraments be administered according to the command of Christ and the form of
the General Synod of the Lutheran Church in the United States; to labor for the
purity of its members in faith and practice; to instruct the children in the
doctrines of our holy religion as set forth in the Catechism; to support its
pastor as Christ commands; to make provision for its worthy poor; and to promote
the kingdom of Christ in every scriptural way.
SEC. 5. The officers of this church
shall consist of the Pastor, Elders, Deacons and Trustees, whose respective
duties are detailed in the following chapter.
OF THE PASTOR, ELDERS, DEACONS, AND
SEC. 1. The Pastor or Bishop shall be a
minister of good standing, who cordially receives the doctrinal basis of this
church, as specified in the preamble of this Constitution, and who is a member
of some Synod in connection with the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in the United States; and if he does not belong to the Synod of Central
Pennsylvania when he takes charge of this congregation, he shall connect himself
with said Synod at its next annual convention, and a refusal to do so shall be
regarded as a resignation of the congregation. He shall perform the duties
prescribed in Chap. 3 of the Formula.
SEC. 2. The Elders shall diligently attend to the duties prescribed
in Chap. 3, Sec. 4 of the Formula.
SEC. 3. The Deacons shall be so elected that one of them retires
every year from office and another is chosen to fill his place. They shall
perform the duties set forth in Chap. 3, Sec. 4 of the Formula.
SEC. 4. The Trustees shall take care of the church property and see
that it is kept in good repair; they shall take charge of all important papers
and documents of the church; and they shall always be the building committee
when any building is to be done.
SEC. 5. No one shall be elected to any office of this church, who is not a
member in full communion with this congregation, and who does not bear a good
SEC. 6. This congregation shall from time to time determine the number of
its officers, but these shall in no case be less than one Elder, two Deacons,
and three Trustees.
SEC. 7. When persons have been elected to the office of Elder, Deacon or
Trustee, they shall be regularly inducted into office by the pastor according to
the form prescribed in the Liturgy of the General Synod.
OF THE CHURCH-COUNCIL.
SEC. 1. The Church-Council, of
which the pastor is ex officio chairman, shall consist of the Pastor and
all the Elders and Deacons.
SEC. 2. The Church-Council shall faithfully attend to all the duties
specified in Chap. 4 of the Formula, and see to it that all things be
done to the best interest of souls and the highest glory of God.
SEC. 3. The Church-Council shall annually elect of their own number a Secretary,
who shall keep a correct minute of the proceedings of the Church-Council, a list
of all the members of the church, record all infant and adult baptisms,
confirmations, removals and deaths. The Church-Council shall also elect a Treasurer
annually, who shall receive all moneys belonging to the church, keep a correct
account of the same, and annually or oftener, if the Church-Council desire it,
present a full report on the state of the treasury.
SEC. 4. After a careful examination, the Church-Council shall admit to
membership such persons as they believe to be possessed of the following
qualifications: 1. They must be obedient subjects of the grace of
God, that is, they must be genuine Christians or satisfy the Church-Council that
they are sincerely endeavoring by the use of the divinely appointed means to
become such, and, 2. They shall have attended a course of lectures by the
pastor on the Catechism of the Church, and none shall be considered fit subjects
for confirmation or baptism who have not attended such a course of instruction,
unless the Church-Council are satisfied that their attainments are adequate
without such attendance.
SEC. 5. The Church-Council shall admit members in the following
manner: 1. By the sacrament of baptism, those who were not baptized
in infancy; 2. By the rite of confirmation, those who were baptized in
infancy; 3. By the right hand of Christian fellowship, those who present a
satisfactory certificate from the church with which they were formerly
connected; and 4. By a vote and the right hand of Christian fellowship,
those who cannot procure such a certificate, but who, on examination, are found
possessed of the qualifications specified in Sec. 4 of this Chapter.
SEC. 6. When members of good standing remove from the bound of this
congregation, the Church-Council shall, at the request of the removing members,
furnish them with a certificate of their good standing; and the pastor shall
call such members before the congregation, pray with them, and in the name of
the congregation dismiss them by the right hand of Christian sympathy and love.
OF CHURCH MEMBERS.
SEC. 1. Every members of this
congregation shall faithfully perform all the duties enjoined on him in Chap. 5
of the Formula, and be governed by the provisions of said chapter of the Formula.
SEC. 2. No members of this congregation shall engage in the manufacture of
sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage, or become partaker of the sins of
others by renting houses for this purpose to those who are so engaged.
SEC. 1. All elections for officers of
the church shall be held according to Chap. 6 of the Formula.
SEC. 2. In electing a pastor, not more than one minister shall be invited
to preach and be voted for at the same time.
SEC. 1. This church shall have a prayer-meeting and
Sabbath-school. The prayer-meeting shall be kept up regularly,
meeting at least once a week, and shall be conducted according to Chap. 7 of the
Formula. Of the Sabbath-school the Church-Council shall
always be a committee, to act in concert with the superintendent and other
officers of the school in promoting its interests and extending its usefulness.
SEC. 2. This Constitution, together with the Formula appended to
our Lutheran Hymn-book, shall serve all the governing and disciplinary purposes
of this church.
SEC. 3. The Church-Council may, for their own purpose, make such by-laws
as the welfare of the congregation may demand; provided, however, that
such by-laws do not conflict with this Constitution and the Formula above
SEC. 4. But it is especially provided that no alterations or amendments
can ever be made in this Constitution which would conflict with its doctrinal
basis and Chap. 1, Sec. 1, as long as two regular members can be found who are
opposed to such a change.
Signed in behalf of the members of the congregation by:
D. H. Focht, Pastor.
John Moritz, Elder.
Lewis Acker, Jacob Harris, Deacons.
THE LAYING OF THE CORNER-STONE OF CENTRE
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH.
The exercises connected with the laying of
the corner-stone commenced on Friday evening, the 15th of June. Seats were
prepared in a shaded grove, a short distance from the site of the church, and
here the Rev. G. M. Settlemoyer and the pastor addressed the assembly.
On Saturday forenoon it rained. Hence, instead of preaching in the grove,
the people assembled in the barn of Mr. Harris, and here, at 11 o'clock a.m.,
Rev. Settlemoyer preached a sermon in the German language, from Isa. 28:16; Eph.
2:20-22. The pastor followed him with a short discourse in the English
language, from 1 Pet. 2:6. It had now ceased to rain. The assembly
proceeded to the site of the church. Here a few appropriate verses were
sung. The constitution and the following paper were then read, and the
documents named in said paper were deposited with a copy of the Constitution:
"In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
"1. The Centre Evangelical Lutheran congregation in Buffalo Township,
Perry County, Pennsylvania, deeply sensible of the want of a house of worship,
resolved, in reliance on the aid of God and for the promotion of His glory, to
erect this house, wherein the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is to be preached
in purity, and the sacraments of the New Testament are to be administered
according to the word of God, our only infallible guide in matters of faith and
"2. The doctrines to be preached and taught in this church shall be
in strict and full accordance with the doctrinal basis of the Synod of Central
Pennsylvania and of the General Synod of the Lutheran Church in the United
States, and every doctrine or shade of doctrine that in any wise deviates from
or conflicts with said basis is hereby forever excluded from this house.
"3. The Formula of the General Synod of the Lutheran Church in the
United States, together with the Constitution adopted by this congregation,
shall be the rule for the government and discipline of the congregation
worshipping in this house.
"4. This house we build with an eye single to the glory of the Triune
God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, for our present and eternal good, the good of
our children and successors, and that of the community at large.
"Having thus set forth the rule of our faith, the form of our government
and discipline, and the end for which we erect this house,---
"Be it therefore known to all to whom these presents shall come, that this,
the corner-stone of Centre Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Buffalo
Township, Perry County, and State of Pennsylvania, was laid in the name of the
Triune God on the sixteenth day of June, Anno Domini one
thousand eight hundred and sixty, and the eighty-fourth year of the
Independence, James Buchanan being President of the United States, and William
F. Packer, Governor of the State of Pennsylvania. And when the tooth
of time shall have demolished these walls, and all those who aided in rearing
them shall have gone to their graves, may those who shall uncover this stone
learn from these papers and documents the religious belief and benevolent
designs of their forefathers, and be thereby stimulated to prosecute and extend
the great and glorious cause of the Divine Redeemer, to whom, with the Father
and Holy Spirit, be given all praise and honor, thanksgiving and glory, both now
and forever. Amen.
"1. The ministers present are---
Rev. D. H. Focht, pastor of the
Rev. G. M. Settlemoyer, pastor of
the Loysville Luth. charge.
"2. The Church-Council consists of---
Rev. D. H. Focht, Pastor.
Mr. John Moritz, Elder.
Mr. Lewis Acker, Mr. Jacob Harris,
"3. The Trustees and Building Committee are:
Messrs. John Moritz, Lewis Acker,
and Jacob Harris.
"4. The contractor is Mr. Philip Peters.
"5. The documents deposited with this paper are, 1.
The Holy Bible (English). 2. The Lutheran Hymn-book (English;
revised edition; miniature). 3. Luther's Smaller Catechism
(English; General Synod's 6th edition). 4. The proceedings of the
Fifth Annual Convention of the Synod of Central Pennsylvania. 5.
The proceedings of the Nineteenth Convention of the General Synod of the
Lutheran Church in the United States. 6. Lutheran Almanacs for the
year 1860 (German and English). 7. The Lutheran Observer of June
1st, 1860. 8. The Lutheran Sunday-School Herald of April,
1860. 9. Lutherischer Kirchenbote, den 8ten Juni, 1860.
10. A sketch of the history of the church, and a copy of the
constitution of the congregation. 11. A copy of each of the Perry County
periodicals, namely: a. The People's Advocate and Perry County
Democratic Press, of June 13th, 1860. b. The Perry County Freeman,
of June 14th, 1860. c. The Perry County Democrat, of June 14th,
1860. d. The Newport Gazette, of June 7th, 1860."
All these documents having been carefully
deposited, a short form from the Liturgy was read, after which Rev. Settlemoyer
offered a prayer. A suitable hymn was then sung, and the assembly
dismissed with the apostolic benediction.
A table was spread in Mr. Harris' barn and persons from a distance, and all
others, were cordially invited to partake of the provisions. At 2 o'clock
p.m., the men on the ground proceeded to raise the frame of the church, so that
it was ready for the rafters. Rev. Settlemoyer having left, the pastor
preached this evening at 6 o'clock, in the grove near the church, to a large
congregation, from Heb. 11:6. And also on Sunday, the 17th, at 10 o'clock,
a.m., at the same place, he preached to a large and attentive audience, from
Matt. 18:11. Here ended the exercises connected with the laying of the
corner stone of Centre Lutheran Church.
The church-edifice was pushed rapidly forward towards completion.
On Sunday, the 30th of September, the congregation worshipped the last time at
Huggin's School-house, when the pastor preached from Luke 15:1-7.
DEDICATION OF CENTRE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
The church-edifice being completed, the
congregation assembled in it the first time for divine worship on Friday
evening, the 19th of October, 1860, when the pastor delivered a discourse based
on Matt. 6:10, "Thy kingdom come." On Saturday, the 20th, at 10
o'clock a.m., the pastor preached the preparatory sermon in the German language,
from Matt. 6:33, and was followed by a discourse based on John 7:37, in the
English language, by Rev. John W. Tressler. This evening, Rev. Tressler
preached from Ezek. 33:8. On Sunday, the 21st, at 10 o'clock a.m., the
pastor preached the sermon of consecration in German, from Psalm 46:4, and Rev.
Tressler preached in English from 1 Tim. 5:8. By subscriptions and
collections forty-six dollars were obtained. This amount covered
about the liabilities of the congregation, and the church was paid for.
The pastor then consecrated the church, according to the formula of the Liturgy,
by the name of Centre Evangelical Lutheran Church. The work is
done. "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" At 3 o'clock, p.m., the
pastor preached the sacramental sermons, in both languages, from John 19:30,
"It is finished." The Lord's Supper was then administered to
twenty-eight communicants. This evening Rev. Tressler preached from Heb.
2:3. Here closed the religious exercises connected with the consecration
of the church.
The church-edifice is 36 by 30 feet in size, weather-boarded and painted white
outside, is entered by two front doors, and the internal arrangement is
convenient and judicious. The entire cost of the edifice, stoves, and
other furniture, was about six hundred and thirty dollars.
Soon after the consecration of the church, the weekly prayer-meeting and
Sunday-school were removed to it, and have since then been kept there, and are
generally well attended.
From the deed of conveyance, written by Attorney J. Don L. Gantt, of Newport, we
will give the following extracts:
"This Indenture, made the first day of January, A.D., 1861, between
Jacob Harris, of the County of Perry, and State of Pennsylvania, yeoman, and
Appilonia his wife, of the one part, and John Moritz, Lewis Acker, and Jacob
Harris, all of said County and State, trustees of the Centre Lutheran Church,
in said County, of the second part, Witnesseth, that the said parties of the
first part for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar, lawful money of
the United States of America, to them in hand paid by the parties of the second
part at or before the ensealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt
whereof is hereby acknowledged, and also for the further consideration of the
benefit and advantage arising from the preaching of the true Gospel in said
Centre Lutheran Church, do grant, bargain, sell, &c.,... all that certain
lot of ground, situate, &c.,...containing twenty four square perches,
&c.,...said lot and church thereon erected to be held by the trustees
aforesaid, and their successors, for the use of the Centre Evangelical Lutheran
congregation, and none other, unless by permission of the whole Church-Council,
who may, by their unanimous consent, permit the preaching of a funeral or other
occasional sermon, provided such preaching does not cause disturbance or
interfere with the regular appointments of the church, &c., ... to have and
to hold the said lot of ground, buildings, &c.,... unto the aforesaid
parties of the second part, and their successors, &c." See Deed
Book S., Vol. I, p. 315.
Thus the members of the church in this valley, destitute of a preached Gospel so
long a time and organized into a congregation only two years ago, have now a
convenient and beautiful house of worship. May they prosper in piety as
individuals and as a congregation! and may the saving influences of the
preached Gospel and the ordinances of God's house be the means of here leading
many souls to Christ, now and for all time to come! Amen.
As the Bloomfield charge was so very large, and the Centre Church is nearer to
Millerstown than to Bloomfield, Rev. Focht transferred Centre Lutheran Church to
the Millerstown charge, and preached his last sermon on Sunday, the 24th of
November, 1861, at three o'clock p.m., from 1 Cor. 15:28, and in the evening
from James 4:17, having preached for this dear people nearly three years.
May God bless this congregation! On the 1st of December, 1861, the
Rev. William O. Wilson
commenced preaching for this congregation in
connection with the Millerstown charge. He lectured on the Catechism soon
after, and in January following it pleased the Lord to pour out his Spirit on
the congregation, and a number professed to have experienced a change of
heart. These were still further instructed, and on the 26th of April,
1862, the following persons were admitted to membership by confirmation:
Daniel Hilbert, Mrs. Deborah Ann Hilbert, Miss Elvina Silks.
"Smile, Lord, on each divine
To spread the Gospel's rays;
And build on sin's demolish'd throne
The temples of thy praise."
Since the organization of the congregation in
June, 1859, the following brethren have served as its officers:
John Moritz, from June 5th, 1859, yet in office.
John Moritz, from March 26th, 1860, yet in office.
Lewis Acker, from March 26th, 1860, yet in office.
Jacob Harris, from March 26th, 1860, yet in office.
Lewis Acker, from June 5th, 1859, to 1861.
Jacob Harris, from June 5th, 1859, to 1860.
Jacob E. Ziegler, from June 5th, 1860, yet in office.
Lewis Acker (re-elected), from June 5th, 1861, yet in office.
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