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History of Zion's Union Church, Perry Township, Pennsylvania

This information appeared in Morton Montgomery's 1908 edition of The History of Berks County, p. 1379.

Surnames: HAUSIHL, KERSCHNER, STARR, MICHAEL, HERZEL, WACK, DIEFFENBACH, HERMAN, SCHAEFFER, BERKEY, LEBERMAN, APPEL, LEINBACH, BARTHOLOMEW, SCHUMACHER, KRUG, MOELLER, LEHMAN, KNOSKE, ENGEL, IAEGER, MILLER, GABLE, KLINE

Zion's Church, Perry Township, formerly of Windsor township, stands on the hillside surrounded by the cemetery, about one-half mile from Windsor Castle and about three miles from Shoemakersville. In 1760 a movement to erect a house of worship in this immediate vicinity was begun, and in 1761 or 1762 the first log church was built.

The Lutherans of this community were originally connected with the Moselem church, which was and still is an exclusive Lutheran church. But because of certain misunderstandings they withdrew from the Moselem congregation, joined hands with the Reformed people of this community and organized a union church. This step was taken when Rev. Bernhard Michael Hausihl, Lutheran pastor, was pastor at Reading and served Moselem and other churches, 1759-1763.

It is said that Mr. Conrad Kerschner, a man well educated for the time, went to Philadelphia and obtained from the Colonial authorities a grant of land originally donated by William Penn for church and school purposes in this vicinity. The tract originally comprised 40 acres. The land was secured and the site selected opposite the organist's home to build the first church, which was built of logs. It is impossible to give the dates of the cornerstone laying or consecration of the first church, or of the second, or of the third. It is indeed a pity that there are no records of these events. However, it appears that the first church was soon found to be too small, and a larger stone structure was built about the year 1774.

The congregation then decided to build the third church of brick, and for some reason or other selected this elevated site in preference to the one below. For this purpose additional land was purchased. The brick were burnt on the church's own land. The dimensions of the church were not given. The exact date of the cornerstone laying is not given, but it is supposed in May, 1804, therefore the present church has stood for more than a century, while the organ is seventy-five years old, and John Starr, one of the organists, served for thirty-six years.

The Reformed pastors beginning about 1661 are as follows: Philip Jacob Michael; Henry Herzel; Rev. Wack; Rev. Henry Dieffenbach; Rev. Carl Herman; Abraham Schaeffer (not ordained); Rev. Abraham Berkey; Rev. Carl G. Herman; Rev. J. S. Herman; Rev. L. D. Leberman; Rev. R. S. Appel; Rev. Elmer Leinbach; Rev. Joshua S. Bartholomew. The Lutheran pastors, beginning in 1759, are as follows: Rev. Bernard Michael Hausihl; Rev. Daniel Schumacher; Rev. John Andrew Krug; Rev. H. Moeller; Rev. Daniel Lehman; Rev. John Knoske; Rev. F. Engel; Rev. G. F. I. Iaeger; Rev. T. T. Iaeger; Rev. O. D. Miller; Rev. Z. H. Gable; Rev. H. C. Kline. The combined membership of this church is between 600 and 700 souls.

[Supplied by Rev. H. C. Kline.]


Gillis Sampler

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 21:07:51 EDT

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