Evangelical Church

The beginnings of the Evangelical Church in Fredericksburg can be traced to January 4, 1844 when on that date Jacob and Elizabeth Wenner, by indenture donated a tract of ground to Peter Boltz, John Faber, and John Strohm, all of whom acting as Trustees and Wardens of the Evangelical Association.  After the property transfer on this ground there was erected a plain brick building that had two doors in front, facing to the south.  This church structure was also known as the Evangelical Meetinghouse and it stood on the northeast corner of Center and Locust Street on the outskirts of town.  Adjoining the church was a graveyard where many of the early members of the church lie buried. In 1875 the church underwent changes and was completely remodeled by having the front of the building turned towards the west.  The building committee consisted of John Faber, David L. Bicksler, and Jonas Beckley.  That same year the church was dedicated with Rev. Charles Fehr of the Evangelical Church of Allentown, PA officiating.

Rev. B.J.Smoyer-circa 1895

Rev. B.J.Smoyer-circa 1895

The remodeling was done to increase the seating capacity of the church for the due purpose of accommodating a larger audience of worshipers relating to the opening of the Schuylkill Seminary just west of town.  Those students and their faculty advisers as a general rule would attend the church as part of their college education.  The church now officially was partnered in part with the Seminary which would come to Fredericksburg in 1886 bringing hundreds of students and their visiting families.  The school was also a means to bring better pastors to the newly remodeled church.

In the early part of 1894 the church and ultimately the school started to see a steady decline of students and church attendance. Their occurred an unfortunate difference among the ecclesiastic heads of the Evangelical Association with Bishop Rudolph Dubbs and Bishop John J. Esher dividing the church membership into two warring factions, which ultimately met with disaster for both the school in 1902 with its removal to Reading, PA and with the decline of church membership and the eventual decision to sell the church property. Some of the church leaders who served Fredericksburg included Rev. B. J. Smoyer, Rev. David Lentz, Rev. Charles K. Fehr, and Rev. Oscar G. Romig.

Rev. Charles K. Fehr-circa 1890

Rev. Charles K. Fehr-circa 1890

On February 27, 1907-at the East Pennsylvania Conference of the Evangelical Association a meeting held at Shamokin, PA and a  resolution was passed to sell the church and other property in Fredericksburg. Pursuant to that resolution, Milton F. Werner, Jacob Darkes, and Samuel W. Miller-all Trustees of the Evangelical Church sold the church property to John G. Light, J.H. Bicksler, John H. Brandt, and Ephraim Peffley-all Trustees of the United Zion Children Church in July 1909.  This new church was a sect of the German Baptist Church.

 

Rev. Benjamin F. Smoyer Photograph from Evangelical Missions: Part 1: The missionary principle and practice of the United Evangelical Church and Rev. Charles K. Fehr from History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania-Volume 2