On behalf of myself and the congregation of Emmanuel United Church of Christ, I am proud to say that we are celebrating 150 years of worship and service to our communities, and the world!
Starting in 1845, religious services were held in a school-house on the lot which Emmanuel’s church now stands, Rev Isaac Shellhammer, a minister of the Reformed Church, living in Black Creek Township, came and preached about once every four weeks. He preached altogether in the German language, and his records are in the same language. As the congregation was small, and the people poor, his salary was from $10-$15 per anum. Even though this salary seems small, it was the custom of the day to supplement the payment with goods-often farm produce. He died in 1873, and is buried in the cemetery adjoin a church which is called in honor of his name, the Shellhammer church, in Black Creek Township.
Our history continues throughout the centuries leading to this present day. The cornerstone of our present church was laid November 1868and the church was dedicated Sunday, August 15th 1869. 150 years, and many ministers later, Emmanuel UCC still standing Dorrance, PA, still worshipping, and still contributing to our local and global communities.
In our present time, we see a changing world with churches of all denominations attempting to keep up with this rapid change.
Tod Bolsinger, author of “Canoeing the Mountains” is going to be our main speaker at our Penn Northeast Conference Annual Meeting in November. His above mentioned book deals with this rapid change. A quote from this book which stands out to me is, “For Christian leaders this means that ministry is not only the means to bring the gospel to the world, ministry together is how God makes a congregation into a corps that is ready to continually bring the gospel in new ways to a changing world.” Tod Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory.
After reading this my thoughts turned to the congregation building this church 150 years ago with the “dream of continually bringing the Gospel in new ways to a changing world.”
We can be the fulfillment of that dream and carry on the work of our ancestors. Tell others about the church you attend. We are a full service church because we believe in that dream and will continuing to bring the Good News to our communities and the world.
The world does change rapidly. It was changing in 1869 and continues to change in 2019. We breath in the tenacity and bravery of our ancestors in faith and say that we are ready and able to meet the challenges faced in keeping Emmanuel UCC alive for another 150 years and beyond. May God be with you all,