Carbon County - Jerusalem Union Lutheran and Reformed Church, Trachsville - 1849 - 1983

 

The following historical account of the Jerusalem Union Lutheran and Reformed Church, Trachsville, Carbon County, Pennsylvania is from the book:

 

History of the Wilkes-Barre Conference; Prepared by its Pastors as a Memorial in Honor of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States 

 

Published by Report Publishing Company, Lebanon, PA, 1898, pp. 66-69. (Accessed online, Google Books, 11 October 2012.)

 

Jerusalem Church, Trachsville, Carbon County, Pennsylvania

 

"The historical facts of the Jerusalem Church are few; not that it has no history, but because it is too difficult to obtain the correct data. The historical events have not been recorded and the old people who were familiar with them are no more. However, we obtained as much information of its history as we could under the circumstances.

 

In the year 1845, the people, both Lutheran and Reformed, living in the upper part of Towamensing township, Carbon county, and also some of the inhabitants of Ross township, Monroe county, felt the need of a place of worship in their own vicinity. Some of the leading men, men most interested in religious matters, and who were concerned about their own spiritual welfare, the welfare of their neighbors and especially that of the coming generation, called a meeting to discuss the matter, viz., the building of a house of God. At this meeting it was decided to build a church, and the place for it selected. It is situated about three-fourths of a mile from the little village of Trachsville, in Upper Towamensing township, Carbon county, Pa., on the road leading from Trachsville to Little Gap and Millport. They bought four acres of land which should be used for the new church building, a school-house and a cemetery. The size of the church should be 36X40 feet. This land was bought from Mr. John Smith, a Reformed, for ten dollars an acre. They elected four men as a Building Committee – two Lutherans, viz., Messrs. George Beer and John Greenzweig, and two Reformed, Messrs. John Smith and Daniel Eckhart. The cornerstone of this new church was laid on Ascension Day, June 1st, 1848. On this occasion Rev. F. W. Meendsen and Rev. E.A. Bauer officiated. The people in this vicinity, previous to this time, belonged to St. John’s Church, Lower Towamensing, St. Matthew’s Church, Kunkletown, and Salem Church, Monroe county, Pa.

 

This congregation was never a mission. It did not hold religious services in halls or school-houses, but from the beginning it was connected with a parish and in that way had its pastor. Recently it belonged to the Pleasant Valley charge. In 1896 it united with St. John’s Church, Lower Towamensing, in the formation of a new parish. Services are conducted in two languages, German and English, but more German than English.

Jerusalem Union Lutheran and Reformed Church

 

The Church Council consists of deacons, trustees and elders, elected by ballot. There is no regular or set time for meetings of the vestry, which meets whenever occasion requires. The pastor is the presiding officer at all meetings. All male members who have reached the age of eighteen years and are communicants, and have paid towards the support of the church, have a right to vote. The congregation stands in organic connection with the Ministerium of Pennsylvania.

 

It has had ten or eleven regular pastors who served from one to 13 or 14 years. There was only one among the whole number that served the latter time. The first pastor was Rev. E.A. Bauer, who served it about six years. It is believed that Rev. Meendsen succeeded him as a supply for a short time. From 1855 to 1868 Revs. Hornberger, Schmaltzl and Groh were its pastors, and from 1868 to 1874 Revs. Struntz and Weaver were in charge. Then came the Rev. A.M. Strauss, whose pastorate extended from 1874 to October, 1888; it was longer than that of any of his predecessors. He was followed Sept. 15, 1889, by Rev. S.B. Stupp, who resigned in 1893. On April 2, 1893, the Rev. A.C. Wuchter assumed his duties as pastor and relinquished them in 1896 in order that the congregation might become part of a new parish.

 

The present pastor, Rev. Harrison E. Moyer, began his labors on Oct. 28th, 1896. The congregation, although it has lost many members through the organization of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, of Kresgeville, Pa., many of whose people formerly worshiped here, has still a membership of two hundred and fifteen, and is in a flourishing condition. Two of its young men are studying with a view of entering the ministry. There are services every Sunday, the Lutherans alternating with the Reformed. The Lord’s Supper is celebrated twice a year, and confirmation takes place every other fall. Rev. A.M. Strauss organized a distinctively Lutheran Sunday-school, which was permitted during the pastorate of Rev. S.B. Stupp, against the expressed will of the congregation, to become a union school. Many of the leading members were greatly dissatisfied and insisted upon the establishment of a purely Lutheran school, which was effected in February, 1897. It has a membership of almost two hundred and uses the literature of the General Council. The congregation gives it proper support.

 

The first house of worship was a log building 36X40 feet; this gave way in 1891 to a frame structure, which seats four hundred, and has a tower, but no bell. The current expenses of the congregation are very moderate – about $300 per annum. The benevolent contributions during the year amount to $40. The estimated value of the church property is $4,000."

 

Today the Jerusalem United Church of Christ remains a vital, active congregation which continues to serve the community. The church has its own website, JERUSALEM UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, or may be reached at 610-681-4412 for more information. GSP has made attempts to contact the church to try to determine if any of the original records still exist and if they remain in the custody of the church, but unfortunately, we couldn't get an answer to our question. If you find this information, please let us know.

 

The work of transcribing, compiling and indexing the baptism, marriage and burial records of the Jerusalem Union Lutheran and Reformed Church was carried out and prepared by the following persons:

 

Dale E. Berger

Paul Buralli

Paul Eckhart

Mrs. Calvin Flory

Trudy Slaven (GSP Volunteer)

Frances S. Smith (GSP Volunteer)

 

This collection is available only to members of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.

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