St. Johnís Observes Its 200th Anniversary

Top Quote ST. JOHNíS OBSERVES ITS 200TH ANNIVERSARY. Learn and celebrate the rich history of this all-inclusive church. End Quote
  • Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle, PA (1888PressRelease) April 13, 2024 - St. Johnís United Church of Christ, Lewisburg, a community of faith that proudly strives to serve its members and the people of Lewisburg and beyond, is celebrating its 200th anniversary! Festivities kicked-off earlier this year on March 10th, with the hanging of a beautiful 200th Anniversary quilt in the churchís Narthex created by the St. Johnís Quilters, Knitters and Knotters. This was followed by a worship service that featured a special, thought-provoking sermon offered by Penn Central Conference Minister, Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, and a congregational meal.

    St. Johnís bicentennial celebrations will continue until October. Each month, the church will focus on a major aspect of its long congregational life. Corresponding activities are planned, such as presentations, picnics, sales, and displays. Two major events are scheduled for June and October. The first, on June 23rd, will be an afternoon Festival of Music performed by the various musical groups who use St. Johnís, including the Buffalo Valley Singers. Food will also be available. Then on October 20th, the congregation will conclude its anniversary observance with a 3 PM Worshipful Celebration of St. Johnís, followed by a catered congregational dinner at the Silver Moon Banquet Hall in Lewisburg. With the exception of the catered dinner, the general public is invited to attend all other anniversary events.

    St. Johnís was founded in 1824 by nine members of the Driesbach Church who were adherents of the Reformed Church tradition. These first congregants met in an old log school house located at the corner of St. Louis Street and S. Third Street in Lewisburg, which was also used by Lutheran worshippers. Rev. Yost Henry Fries served as the first pastor. In 1832, the Lewisburg faith community decided to separate from the Dreisbach Church and became an independent congregation. The churchgoers chose to name their congregation, the ďGerman Reformed Church of LewisburgĒ (1832-1847).

    It was during the pastorate of Rev. Harbaugh (1843-1850), known for his famous hymn, ďJesus, I Live to Thee,Ē that the congregation again changed its name and built a church solely for its use. That building was erected on Third Street in Lewisburg and the congregation became known as ďThe First Reformed Church of LewisburgĒ (1848-1902). In 1902, the congregation tore down that church building and constructed a new one. The building was completed in 1903 and dedicated in July of that year with the new name, ďSt. Johnís Reformed Church.Ē In 1961, the congregation renamed itself, ďSt. Johnís United Church of ChristĒ in recognition of its affiliation with the newly formed denomination, the ďUnited Church of Christ.Ē Then in November of 1989, the congregation relocated to its present facility at 1050 Buffalo Road, Lewisburg, in order to better serve the people of Lewisburg and community organizations.

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