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St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church

The Mother Church of Lutheranism in South Bethlehem

HUMBLE BEGINNING LED TO LARGE GROWTH.

 

OLD CHURCH.

The beginning of Lutheran work in South Bethlehem was made by the late Rev. A.T. Geissenhainer, then treasurer of The Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and adjacent States.

In the Spring of 1863, he arranged with Philip Malburg for a meeting in his residence in the interest of Lutheran work. Quite a number were present, men and women. Other meetings followed and greater interest was awakened, and it was decided to erect a church at once.

 

LOTS SECURED.

Two lots, Nos. 26 and 27 on Borhek Street (now Vine Street), each 40 feet front and 140 feet deep, were secured from the late Charles and Camilla Brodhead. The deed was executed on the first day of April, A.D. 1863.

 

CORNER-STONE LAID.

The Cornerstone for the new edifice was laid with appropriate services on Sunday, August 30, 1863. The pastor, Rev. A.T. Geissenhainer, was assisted in the services by the Revs. S.K. Brobst, J.H. Fahs and L.W. Heidenreich.

 

FIRST SERVICE.

On March 13, 1864, the first service was held. Pastor Geissenhainer preached the sermon, and had selected as his text: I Samuel, 7, 12. Quite a number of those present expressed their desire to become members.

Services were held again on Palm Sunday, and on Good Friday. Election for officers of the Church Council was held and the following were elected: for Elders, Philip Malburg, Joseph Kless and John M. Ritter; for Deacons, Joseph S. Schmidt, Nicholas Sauer and Jacob Hames.

 

DEDICATION.

On Sunday, June 26, 1864, the completed church was dedicated to the glory of the Triune God. Rev. C.A. Ebert, of Newark N.J., preached the German sermon in the morning, and Rev. S.K. Brobst, of Allentown, preached in German in the afternoon, and Rev. F.J.F. Schantz in English.

 

FIRST CHURCH.

The church was a one-story brick building, 35 feet by 60 feet.

Rev. Mr. Geissenhainer served the congregation until the Spring of 1867, when he removed to Philadelphia. Rev. J. Zentner then was called as pastor and served the congregation for one year. He is still in the active ministry at Sharon, Pa.

In the Summer of 1868, Rev. Jacob B. Rath, who was then ministering to several congregations near Bethlehem, received and accepted a call. After about a year and a half of faithful service he was forced to resign on account of ill health. The pulpit was then supplied for several months by the Rev. C.J. Cooper, D.D., then a student in the Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Later he was called as pastor and installed on July 10, 1870.

 

NEW AND PRESENT CHURCH.

Three years later it was decided to erect a larger church. On June 22, 1873, the corner-stone was laid, and on March 29, 1874, the basement was consecrated.

 


41

St. Peter's Lutheran Church, South Bethlehem

ST. PETER'S LUTHERAN CHURCH
(Old)

 

St. Peter's Lutheran Church, South Bethlehem

ST. PETER'S LUTHERAN CHURCH
(Present)

 

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