The Full Wiki

Zion Reformed United Church of Christ: Wikis

Advertisements

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

Advertisements

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1774 Sketch shows Zion Church as it appeared shortly after construction.

Zion Reformed United Church of Christ, originally named The German Reformed Church[1] was founded in 1770 in Hagerstown, Maryland, USA.[2] The church is located at 201 North Potomac Street, Hagerstown, Maryland. The church building was the first within the town limits.[3] It is the oldest church building within Washington County, Maryland that has been in continuous use as a church since its erection. [4] During the Civil War, the church’s bell tower was used as a lookout by Union troops under the command of General George Custer.[5]

Zion Church as it appears today.

Contents

History

The 18th century western frontier of the Maryland colony had previously been ravaged by marauding Shawnee and Delaware Indians after General Edward Braddock’s defeat at Fort Duquesne. In spite of the danger, German settlers erected a log schoolhouse around 1766 on the grounds of the present church, an area then known as Potato Hill. This building was used by the German community both as a school and as a place for religious services. Local Indians would listen to the lessons through the windows.[6] The Tuscarora Indians were the last native people known to inhabit the area in large numbers.[7] The log school building was used for services until the stone church was built, then it continued to serve as a day school and as a lecture hall.[8]

German-speaking immigrants comprised the majority of Hagerstown’s earliest inhabitants and they brought with them from their homeland their religious customs.[9] Fleeing to Holland for safety, these persecuted Protestants were befriended and supported, both in Holland and later in America, by the tolerant and kindly Dutch people. A group of forty German refugees from the religious persecutions in Switzerland and the German Palatinate, organized a German Reformed, or Calvinist, congregation in Elizabeth’s Town, later known as Hagerstown. The Reformed settlements of the Conococheague area were served at intervals by ministers sent from Philadelphia. The earliest church record for the congregation is of the baptism of George Snyder, son of Jacob and Catharine Snyder, on October 20, 1766. From this date forward there is a continuous baptismal record.[10] It was not until the year 1770 that the congregation succeeded in obtaining the services of a settled pastor. In September, 1770, the Rev. Jacob Weimer was appointed as the first pastor.[11]

Jonathan Hager, a member of the congregation and Proprietary of Elizabeth’s Town, now called Hagerstown, had laid out the town in 1762 and named it Elizabeth’s Town, in honor of his wife, Elizabeth. In 1770 Hager donated to the congregation two lots in the northern portion of the town, on the principal street, Potomac Street.[12]

Four years passed before the actual work was begun on the building. The congregation elected as builder, mason and architect William Heyser/Wilhelm Heiser, a member and deacon of the congregation, who, with the cooperation of his colleagues, the other deacons of the congregation, namely, Philip Oster, Peter Wagner, and Jacob Hauser, brought the work so far as to lay the cornerstone on Wednesday, August 10, 1774.[13] Built by Germans upon solid rock, this stone church, though enlarged and altered, has endured for more than two centuries. The interior of the building stood unfinished for some years while the building-master, Capt. Heyser, organized a company of German volunteers and led them to support General George Washington. Wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, Capt. Heyser returned home to recuperate and, in time, to complete the church building.[14]

The following is a list of the members (households) of the German Reformed congregation in Elisabeth Town in 1774:

Administrator of the Congregation:
Wilhelm Heiser, Architect

Members of the Building Committee:
Philip Oster
Peter Wagner
Jacob Hauser

Members of the congregation:
Wilhelm Becker
Ernst Becker
Jost Wegand
Isaac Gnadig
Johannes Kan
Frantz Greulich
Herman Greilich
Andread Linck
Eustagines Jung
Wilhalm Conrath
Henrich Dotweiler
Jacob Fischer
Johannes Steinseyfer
Frantz Wagner
Ernst Ditz
Rutholf Bley
Johannes Oster
Michael (or Michel) Eberhart
Matheiss Seyler
Jacob Hausshalter
Peter Seyler
Georg Herdli
Georg Clampert
Johannes Niclos Schoster
Georg Greft
Hanadam Greft
Peter Blecher
--- Dufenbach (first name illegible)
Wallendein Sefttle
Jacob Hauser
Peter Detter
Georg Frey
Johannes Frey
Conrath Eigelberger
Philipp Klein
Ernst Kremer

Each name listed represents a household: man and wife, children and other dependents.[15]

Zion Reformed Church was the first church building erected within the town limits; it is still standing and its limestone walls have witnessed uninterrupted congregational worship since 1774.[16] From the foundation, which was built upon a rock, to the bell tower pointing skyward, the church was erected by its founders as a symbol of religious freedom in their new homeland.[17] The church was the first large building in the town and its commanding presence on a hilltop overlooking the town of 50,000 today is the same building which stood watch over the town in its infancy as a small hamlet of a few hundred houses. While the property has been improved and enlarged, within and without, the sanctuary maintains the original 1774 proportions[18] and the original two-foot thick limestone masonry walls.

The land on which this church stands was purchased from the estate of the Founder of Hagerstown, Captain Jonathan Hager, for a nominal fee but subject to an annual ground rent of one shilling and sixpence sterling paid faithfully by the congregation each March 1st for seventy-five years.[19]

Cemetery

Burial space adjoining the church was provided for early members of the congregation. Members of many families, whose ancestors are buried here, made substantial contributions to an endowment fund, the income from which is to be used for the care and upkeep of the graveyard. Other members made yearly contributions to be used for the same purpose. The oldest burial is that of Peter Rench, who died in 1771. By 1900 no more lots were available; the last burial in a family lot was in 1991. In 1997, the congregation established a memorial garden for cremated remains of members. Currently 708 are buried in Lots 1 through 390, Sections 1 through 4; additionally, 8 are interred in the memorial garden. The churchyard has become the final resting place for veterans of the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the American Revolution (1774-1781), the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War (1848), the Civil War (1861-1865) and World War I. Two plaques in the church’s narthex give the names of the “sons of Zion” who served in the World War I and World War II.[20]

The church graveyard is home to the ashes of Jonathan Hager, founder of Hagerstown, who gave the lot upon which it stands.[21] He was tragically killed thirteen years later in a construction accident at his own German Reformed Church. [22] The actual building of the church, though a blessing to the German Reformers, exacted a frightful toll on the growing community in the death of its founder, who died December 6, 1775, when a heavy beam being lifted to the ceiling, slipped and fell, crushing Capt. Hager in its fall.[23]

Church Bells

Zion's church bells.

Another custom the founders of Zion Church remembered from their German traditions was the summoning to worship by the church bells. An order for church bells bears the date November 22, 1790: “Dimension and description of two church bells which Messrs. Alexander and Benjamin Clagett agree to import from London for the German Reformed Congregation of this Town. The largest bell to measure thirty-six inches in diameter and the smallest in proportion thereto both as to size and tone, according to the most usual and approved difference in those respects, in the judgment of the bell ringers and bell hangers. The bells to be of the very best quality and proved by Judges of Bells before they are shipped from London, and a certificate from the said judges as to all the above requisites sent to us, attested by a Notary Public under the seal of his office, that the persons as far as he can understand are competent judges of as well the goodness as the suitable sizes and difference of tone of bells. The bells to be cast so as to be hung in a church steeple, and the clappers fixed in them nothing else is necessary to be sent with the said bells. Vor die Deutche Reformite Gemeinde in Elizabeth Stadt, Washington County, Stadt von Maryland. November 22, 1790.” The bells, so ordered, were shipped across the Atlantic by sailing vessel and hauled over the mountain to their destination in the tower of the German Reformed Church in Elizabeth Town.[24] The two bells hanging in the tower were cast in 1785 in Rotterdam, Holland, in the foundry of G. Bakker. From information provided in 1920 by the same company, the composition of the metal in these bells has been determined to be eleven per cent coin silver for tonal clarity with proportionate amounts of antimony, bismuth, copper, tin, and zinc. These bells have a tone peculiarly their own and have served the church and the community since the end of the 18th century.[25]

Split with Christ's Reformed Church

For Zion Church’s first 80 years, the services were conducted in the German language. The change from the German to the English language in the services left a portion of the congregation dissatisfied as there were some who could not understand English.[26]The issue of German or English used in the services was not only a language issue, it was also a social class issue, since the upper class businessmen and community leaders were exposed to English while conducting business, and the farmers, laborers and servants were confined to the German language used at home. The uneducated assimilated more slowly to the anglicized elements of their community.[27]In March, 1855, there was a meeting of those who preferred the German language. They organized, bought a lot, and laid the cornerstone of Christ’s Reformed Church, completed and dedicated in 1856. The use of the German language did not continue and within twenty years, the services at Christ’s Reformed Church were conducted in English.[28]

Civil War

In July, 1863, the citizens of Hagerstown could see the dark cloud of acrid smoke rising from the cannons in Gettysburg. They witnessed General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army approaching Hagerstown from the northeast. And it was the tower of Zion Church on the hill which General George Custer and his men used as a lookout to spy upon the Southern Army entrenched to the north and stretching along the road to Williamsport, Maryland. The Union Army, after a hasty retreat from Smithsburg, Maryland, at the insistence of General J.E.B. Stuart, had deployed their forces south of Hagerstown, Maryland, in the vicinity of Funkstown, Maryland. Here the two armies watched each other, with the unhappy town lying between the two battle weary forces. Units of each army raced frantically through the town, skirmishing took place in the streets, men were killed not far from Zion Church, and the citizens feared that if a large scale engagement developed between the two opposing forces, the town, in the direct line of fire, would be destroyed. General Lee’s escape to comparative safety south of the Potomac River averted this disaster.[29]

Mr. Thomas F. McCardell wrote and published an account of his involvement with Gen. Custer. He told how, at the time of Gen. Lee’s withdrawal from Gettysburg, it fell to his lot, as a boy, to conduct Gen. Custer, the 24-year-old cavalry leader of the Union Army, into the tower of Zion Church, for the purpose of locating the troops of Gen. Lee, and how, while in the belfry, the bullets of sharpshooters aimed at Gen. Custer rattled against the bells of Zion Church.[30]

In 1864, Brig. Gen. John McCausland gave the citizens of Hagerstown but one hour to provide $20,000 and 1,500 outfits of clothing “from the skin out” for the use of the Confederate forces, on penalty of having Hagerstown destroyed by fire. The fate which befell neighboring Chambersburg, Pennsylvania was prevented through the skillful negotiations of Mr. Matthew Barber, Town Treasurer, and Mr. J. Dixon Roman, President of the Old Hagerstown Bank and a leading member of Zion Church, who left his sick bed and went to the Court House for the meeting with Brig. Gen. McCausland. The town was saved and Zion Church with it.[31]

Bell Tower

The original bell tower was not a tower but a regular church steeple. In 1871 the second bell steeple was built but in 1878 was destroyed by a tornado and rebuilt. In 1884 the present tower was erected and dedicated and in 1885 the original bells were returned to their place in the tower. [32]

Stained Glass Windows

Most striking to those who visit Zion Church are the stained glass windows. The oldest windows are the Roman Window and the Schnebly Window which were installed between 1880 and 1907. When the church was remodeled in 1908, nine more stained glass windows were installed and since that time more have been added for a total of ten in the sanctuary, two in the narthex, two angel windows in the vestibule, two in the foyer, and four more in the chapel.

The Sower
The Resurrection
On the Way to Emmaeus
Hannah and Little Samuel
St. Paul
Joshua
Joseph before Pharaoh
Nicodemus and Christ
Christ by the Sea
Charity
Pink Angel
Blue Angel
The Schnebly Window
Food for the Hungry
The Dunn Windows
Zion Church's Chapel Windows
ZionChurchChapelWindow2.jpg
ZionChurchChapelWindow3.jpg
ZionChurchChapelWindow4.jpg

Mosaic Art Work

Zion has a very fine example of mosaic art work over the altar in the sanctuary in the form of the Ascending Christ. This beautiful work of art was installed in 1946.[33]

"Ascending Christ" mosaic over the altar of Zion Church.
Close up detailing mosaic art work.

Möller Pipe Organ

Zion’s first organ, a Bohler, was installed in 1889 at a cost of $2,325. Then in 1928, the Möller organ still serving the congregation today was installed at the unbelievable price of $10,500. The organ was built at the Möller Organ Company in Hagerstown, Maryland. In 1963 the organ was rebuilt and 1,544 new pipes were added. Previous renovations included preparations in the console for further tonal enhancements. Improvements to the Möller organ are ongoing in an effort to keep the organ state-of-the-art. Zion’s organ now has a total of 2,217 pipes, ranging in size from smaller than a pencil to the largest which is 16 feet in length.[34]

Zion Church's Möller pipe organ console.
Just a few of the over 2,200 pipes in Zion Church's Möller Organ.
The majority of the more than 2,200 pipes are housed behind the curtains on either side of the choir loft.

Affiliation

Zion Reformed United Church of Christ is associated with the United Church of Christ, Central Atlantic Conference, Catoctin Association.[35]

Leadership

The following persons have served as pastors of Zion Church:

  • 1770-1790 Jacob Weymer
  • 1792-1817 Jonathan Rauhauser
  • 1818-1825 James Ross Reily
  • 1826-1832 Martin Bruner
  • 1833-1836 William A. Good
  • 1837-1842 Alfred Helffenstein
  • 1843-1849 Moses Kiefer
  • 1850-1855 Daniel Gans
  • 1855-1860 Samuel H. Giesy
  • 1861-1864 John H. Wagner
  • 1868-1919 J. Spangler Kieffer
  • 1920-1952 Scott R. Wagner
  • 1952-1958 Robert W. Delp
  • 1958-1961 Roy C. Snyder
  • 1961-1981 Arthur L. Grove
  • 1982-1988 Wayne D. Sautter
  • 1989-1990 Richard H. Winters
  • 1990-1993 Nathan A. Miller
  • 1994-1998 Jack Dale Cook
  • 2001-2002 Marianne Unger
  • 2003-2008 Robert C. Royal[36]

Worship

Zion Reformed United Church of Christ holds worship services every Sunday morning and extends an open door to all people who share a common goal to unite Christians together. Communion is served on the first Sunday of each month. All are welcome at the communion table in the United Church of Christ.

The United Church of Christ, established in 1957, is fundamentally rooted to its predecessors, the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches.

Zion Reformed United Church of Christ shares its history with the Swiss, German and English Reformations. The Reformation of the sixteenth century only partially restored the active role of the congregation. Zion Reformed United Church of Christ strives toward the level of individual participation evident in the early church. Zion Reformed United Church of Christ recognizes its responsibility as a church of Pentecost, the church of the Holy Spirit, living between the time of Christ’s birth and Christ’s coming again at the close of history. Prayers and liturgies found in the United Church of Christ Book of Worship include reminders that the church today forms the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church with Christ at its center.

Bibliography

  • Davis, A. Vernon, “Early Hagerstown As Seen by John Gruber” published by Venture Enterprises, Inc. Hagerstown, Maryland, 1976.
  • Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  • Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  • Weiser, Frederick Sheely, “Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church, a Congregation of the United Church of Christ, Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland 1771-1849” (Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series) published by the Historical Society of Carroll County, 1997.

References

  1. ^ Davis, A. Vernon, “Early Hagerstown As Seen by John Gruber” published by Venture Enterprises, Inc. Hagerstown, Maryland, 1976.
  2. ^ Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  3. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  5. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  6. ^ Graff, Sue Patterson, editor, 100th Anniversary of the Chapel Booklet, printed by Oak Printing, Inc., Funkstown, Maryland, 1993. The account of the first building was found in notes from J. Spangler Kieffer (pastor of Zion Church from 1868-1919).
  7. ^ http://www.answers.com/topic/harpers-ferry-national-historical-park-1 “Harpers Ferry National Historical Park” read January 12, 2010.
  8. ^ Graff, Sue Patterson, editor, 100th Anniversary of the Chapel Booklet, printed by Oak Printing, Inc., Funkstown, Maryland, 1993. The account of the first building was found in notes from J. Spangler Kieffer (pastor of Zion Church from 1868-1919).
  9. ^ Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  10. ^ Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  11. ^ Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  12. ^ Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  13. ^ Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  14. ^ Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  15. ^ Church Records - this information was obtained from the document which was placed in the cornerstone of the Reformed Church in Elisabeth Town, August 10, 1774.
  16. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  17. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  18. ^ Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  19. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  20. ^ Church Records - Cemetery Records 1771-2010.
  21. ^ Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  22. ^ Davis, A. Vernon, “Early Hagerstown As Seen by John Gruber” published by Venture Enterprises, Inc. Hagerstown, Maryland, 1976.
  23. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  24. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  25. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  26. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  27. ^ Hueston, Robert F., The Assimilation of German Immigrants into a Pennsylvania German Township, 1840-1900. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 133.1 (2009): 56 pars. 15 Jan. 2010 <http://www.historycooperative.org/cgi-bin/justtop.cgi?act=justtop&url=http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/pmh/133.1/hueston.html>.
  28. ^ Williams, Thomas J. C., “A History and Biographical Record of Washington County, Maryland”, published by John M. Runk & L. R. Titsworth, 1906.
  29. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  30. ^ Church Records - Dr. J. Spangler Kieffer, pastor of Zion Church 1868-1919. In his sermon celebrating the 50th anniversary of his pastorate at Zion, Dr. Kieffer gave a brief account of the church’s involvement during the Civil War.
  31. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  32. ^ Schwartz, Frank and Schwartz, Rachael, “Old Zion - A History of the First German Reformed Church in Hagerstown” published by the Consistory of Zion Church and printed by The Craft Press, Chambersburg, PA, 1970.
  33. ^ Church Records. From church brochure titled “On This Rock” written by Susan Younkins, Administrator, Zion Church, 2004.
  34. ^ Church Records. From church brochure titled “Zion’s Möller Pipe Organ” written by Susan Younkins, Administrator, Zion Church, 2007.
  35. ^ htttp://www.ucc.org read January 13, 2009.
  36. ^ Church Records. From the files of the church administrator.

External links

  • [1] www.ZionHagerstown.org

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message