United Methodist Church

The Fredericksburg United Methodist Church came about from an outgrowth of the endeavors of many circuit preachers who traveled the area more since the 1870’s being called the Evangelical United Brethren Church.  Prior to the time that a building was available to meet in regularly, the local members gathered in home and businesses of the persons associated with their local congregation some of which included the Jacob W. Grove mill just south of town.

Rev. John Light-circa 1870

Rev. John Light-circa 1870

The gathering of the members in homes throughout the region continued until 1876 when the trustees of the church decided to purchase a plot of ground from John Krall, situated on the southeast corner of Center and Walnut Streets in Fredericksburg for the sum of $1,200.00 cash consideration.  The plot of land was located on a site where the coach factory of John Krall operated for a number of years in which the member first met after the purchase. The first pastor to serve the congregation from 1876-1879 in their new location was Rev. John Light-known throughout the region as “Tanner” John Light.  After his ministry the leadership fell to Rev. John Binkley who in 1879 with the assistance of Rev. George Lentz, John Weller, Joshua Light, John Long, and Justice of the Peace Samuel Rickert who all acted as trustees of the church they raised the old coach works which had served them faithfully the last three years and built a new structure at a cost of $3,000.00.

In 1915 the church underwent remodeling with a vestibule being constructed among other work and both the interior and exterior of the building were newly repainted.  Nearly thirty ministers have served the congregation since its inception. Some of these ministers have included; Rev. George Lentz, Rev. John Binkley, Rev. Grant N. Miller, Rev. Harry B. Suskey, Rev. Wayne T. Gregory, Rev. Ronald L. Bickart, Rev. A. Phillip Strickler, Rev. Frederick C. Lowery, Rev. Frederick J. Zimmerman, and Rev. Kenneth L. Beale Jr..

During the leadership of Rev. A. Phillip Strickler in 1953 the congregation elected to purchase the adjoining property and to build additional Sunday School classes were needed.  The church at this time was physically located at 120-122 North Center Street in town. Later by June of 1961 under the leadership of Rev. Harry B. Suskey the congregation elected to build an annex onto the additional property as yet additional classrooms were required by the members of the church.

On October 6, 1963 the annex building then called the Christian Education Building was dedicated to the youth and moves them toward greater learning toward Christian service, with then Rev. Frederick C. Lowery conducting the dedication ceremonies.  Later in July of 1975 the member of the board and trustees of the church purchased the James Heister property located down the street at 114 N. Center Street-two home below their property to be used as a parsonage as required by the church.

Shortly afterward in the late 1960’s changes were made within the confines of the church headquarters as the church assumed a new name and thereafter was called the Fredericksburg United Methodist Church which name is still being used today.  The location in town continued to be used until 1993 when the property was sold to John L. Holsinger and later it was sold in 2003 to Michele R. Miller who for the past ten years has operated the building as the Noah & Company Daycare &Preschool building since that time.  At the time that the church building was sold the church purchased property a couple of miles south of town off of Rt. 343.  The property was purchased from Kenneth J. Fahnestock and a new church edifice was eventually erected to serve the ever growing congregation.  Today the church is under the leadership of Rev. James McNair.

 

United Brethren Church-circa 1908

United Brethren Church-circa 1908

 

 

 

Photographs of Rev. John Light courtesy of Landmark history of the United Brethren church-published in 1911.