Church History

Written by church staff on Apr 22, 2013

Celebrating 165 years 1846 – 2011

A small group of German Christians in the Meyersville area gathered for worship under the direction of Dr. Brockhouse, a physician, and then organized a church. Frederick Besel was installed as pastor on November 1, 1846, in the Long Hill School House where the regular church services were held. A church was built on land donated by Caspar W. Meyer and dedicated on July 2, 1848. It was named the German   Evangelical church of Long Hill.   Pastor Besel was succeeded by a series of short pastorates. The four-year pastorate of Rev. Karl Rosenthall (1853-57) was a flourishing time. In 1855, 35 families pledged their support to the church.

old church

Membership in 1875 stood at 99. Festivals were popular as ways of financing the church, with the 1877 festival netting $78.31.

Rev. George Loock began in 1878 a 16-year pastorate marked by many accomplishments: organizing a Men’s society and a Ladies Aid Society; a new manse; and planning for a new church building. Rev. Loock died as a result of an accident in 1894. The new building (our present sanctuary),  costing $2494, was dedicated in 1897. Rev. Arthur Rhino (1894-96), Rev. August Block (1897-99), Rev. Christopher Bauer (1900-05), Rev. Gottlieb Ruesch (1906-10), Rev. Martin Rosenbohm, a son of the congregation (1911-19), Rev. Herman Blashke (1920), and Rev. Max Rost (1921-22) followed. In 1921 electric lights were added at a cost of $200. The church was supplied by Rev. Charles Oehley (1923-27) and Rev. Albert J.E. Manton (1930-34).

Rev. Joseph Irwin began serving in 1934. Membership was 66 in 1937. Services were held in German as well as English until 1946.

In 1946 Rev. William Harper began a lengthy and fruitful pastorate lasting until 1959. In 1949, the church building was raised and enlarged to provide a Conference Room, pastor’s study, nursery, and fellowship room.  A new Manse was built in  1950. The addition of the west wing in 1955 provided classrooms, a parlor, and new offices. This completed the present facilities. Rev. Harper was followed by Rev. William Lehr (1959-64), Rev. George Toole (1964-69), Rev. David Gellert (1969-73), Rev. William B. Doster (1973-77), Rev. Eugene Templeton (1977-79), Rev. David Reichert (1979-85), Dr. Paul Grosjean (1985-Jan. 1995) and Rev. Barbara F. Aspinall (Sept. 1997 – Present).

Lay leadership has been important throughout the whole history of the church. One outstanding name is Frederick Kaemmerer, who was Sunday School Superintendent for 43 years (1866-1909); he provided leadership, conducted worship services, and preached when the church was without a minister. A plaque to his memory greets entrants to the lower hallway. Mrs.Blank was the first organist, playing on a Melodian Organ as early as 1879. Miss Bertha Ortman (Mrs. Harry Allen) played at the dedication in 1897 on the  organ that was in use at the centennial in 1946. In the midst of a community changing from  rural to suburban, we celebrated our 150th Anniversary on November 3, 1996.