History of St. Paul’s
The roots of St. Paul’s church date back to 1783, when King George granted an indenture for a tract to build a church for two existing congregations – Reformed and Lutheran. On May 16, 1784, the St. Paul’s Union Congregation was established, and the Trexlertown church was finished and consecrated on April 17, 1785. Since the area was populated mostly with German immigrants, the services were held in German. The original building stood for 138 years.
The name St. Paul was chosen in memory of the great missionary who carried the Christian Gospel to the Mediterranean world, as a reminder that we have the responsibility to witness to and from the Trexlertown area. It was decided by lot that the name Reformed should precede the name Lutheran, but that in all matters the two congregations should be equal in responsibility and in honor.
In 1879, five years before the 100th anniversary of the union church, a steeple was erected on the church, an 1100 pound bell was installed in the steeple, and a sexton’s house was rebuilt adjacent to the cemetery. On Whitsunday (Pentecost) 1884 the centennial of the union church was celebrated.
In the 20th Century, services in English were begun, and the German language was heard less and less. In 1922 both Reformed and Lutheran congregations agreed to demolish the old church building, which they had outgrown, and erected a new stone building on the same site. The new church was begun in 1923 and completed and dedicated with a week of services in 1925. In 1926 there were 425 communing members and 215 Sunday School members in the Lutheran congregation.
Until 1965, the two congregations had alternated Sundays. But in that year, every-Sunday services by each congregation were instituted; one congregation had services at 8:00AM, and the other at 10:15AM. The union choir therefore disbanded and for the first time the question was asked whether the union church ought to disband. A study of the issue was begun in 1967 and ultimately, votes were taken by both congregations. The motion to dissolve the union was defeated in 1972.
In August 1982 representatives of both congregations began to meet as a committee to study the union situation. An equity figure of $250,000 was agreed on by members of both congregations. The proposal was made for the union to be dissolved and for the Lutheran congregation to sell its share to the UCC congregation. The cemetery would remain a union cemetery.
In 1983 both congregations voted to dissolve the union church. The UCC congregation agreed to buy out half of the agreed-on equity, and thus St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Trexlertown began a new life as a mission congregation. In 1984, the 200th anniversary of the union church was celebrated.
In 1984 a site on Route 222 west of Route 100 at Grim Road (now Weiler’s Road) was chosen for construction of a new Lutheran edifice. Ground was broken for the new St. Paul’s on April 28, 1985, and construction began in the summer. The first service was held in the yet-unfinished sanctuary on Christmas Eve 1985 in the presence only of the Christ-child’s manger. Plans were made to move into the new building on the First Sunday in February 1986.
|John Casper Diehl (Dill)||1784-1806|
|Henry A. Geissenhainer||1806-1814|
|George Wartman (Wertman) and John Doering||1814-1837|
|Jeremiah Schindel (Schindler)||1837-1859|
|B. E. Kramlich||1859-1900|
|I. B. Ritter||1900-1906|
|David C. Kaufman||1907-1955|
|Carl A. Borger||1955-1967|
|James L. Henderschedt Jr.||1967-1972|
|Joseph L. Evrard||1973-1981|
|David P. Kidd||1983-2002|
|Laura L. Stoneback||2003-2017|