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Township, Lancaster County, Pa

"Churches of Today and Yesterday in Southern Lancaster County" by Fellowship of Solanco Churches, Raymond Dunlap, George Herbert, & Richard Yates , Sr. printed 1968

With the support of interested citizens of Eden Township, the Rev. J. V. Eckert, who had been the pastor of the nearby parish, formed an organization which was known soon as Mt. Eden Evangelical Lu- theran Church. The first services were held by him in 1876 in the stone schoolhouse known as the Bowery School. This building still stands across the street from the present church. In May, 1878, the cornerstone of the church was laid on a plot of ground given by Mr. Levi Rhoads of Bird-in-Hand, who owned the farm of which it had been a part. Pastor Eckert, the Rev. J. A. Cooper, Methodist, and the Rev. W. G Cairnes, Middle Octorara Presbyterian Church, were present at the laying of the cornerstone. The building was completed in the early fall, but severe equinoctial storms caused the east end to collapse. The damage was repaired and the church was dedicated on May 11, 1879. Pastor Eckert, the Rev. Cairnes, and the Rev. S. E. Herring were present at the dedication. The building committee con-sisted of the pastor and Messrs. Benjamin B. Myers, Jacob Eckman, Joseph Wimer, and Samuel A. Keen. The cost was $2,000. The pulpit occupied the central position in the chancel. The building is brick and seats 150 people. It is 35 by 43 feet. The original cemetery was one-half acre. There were about 15 charter members at the time of the dedication.

On March 2, 1879, the congregation organized by electing a coun-cil consisting of Joseph Wimer, James Creswell, Jeremiah Keen, David Haverstick, Benjamin B. Myers, Jacob Eckman, and Samuel A. Keen. The small congregation was not long in paying off the debt of the church and on March 24, 1883, final settlement was made. On February 11, 1887 the congregation made application for a charter which was granted by the court of Lancaster County on February 14, 1887. Pastor Eckert lived in Lancaster and served the congregation for 19 years, until his death in 1896. From 1896 to 1902 the Rev. G. W. Christ served as pastor for the sum of $100.00 per year, leaving May 15, 1902. From 1902 to 1909 the Rev. T. M. Traub, the Rev. Charles Knox, the Rev. John W. Ault (Reformed), and the Rev. R. W. Hufford served as pastors.

Then for seven years there were no regular pastors. Services were held occasionally by non-Lutheran pastors. For several years before 1914 no services were held at all. In that year Dr. S. D. Daugherty, Missionary Superintendent of the East Pennsylvania Synod, revived the congregation and held services a number of times himself. Sup-plies also conducted services, among them having been O. O. Leidig, Martin P. Hocker, A. C. Cooper, Malon S. Miller, and C. M. Coffelt. The Rev. C. M. Coffelt was elected pastor in 1916 and the com-municant membership increased. He ministered to the congregation a little over a year.

For four years the Rev. W. R. Knerr, the pastor of St. Michael's Lutheran Church, Strasburg, acted as supply pastor. In 1918 a little over an acre of ground was purchased to enlarge the cemetery.

In 1921 Rev. Knerr became the regular pastor, as the congregation united with St. Michael's Church to form the Strasburg Parish of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania.

In 1922 the Rev. G. William Millar began his pastorate of two years. He was succeeded by the Rev. Charles E. Rudy who served as pastor about a year.

From 1927 to 1931 the Rev. William Weicksel was the pastor. During his period extensive alterations were made. A basement was dug under the church and additional room for a Sunday School was provided. The interior of the church was completely redecorated. The dedication was held on June 16, 1929, in connection with the Fiftieth Anniversary of the building of the church.

In 1931 the Rev. Alvin H. Stoner was called to serve the parish. Due to the generosity of the members and some friends of the con- gregation a number of changes were made. A memorial altar and cross were placed against the east wall and the pulpit moved to the Gospel side of the chancel. Chancel paraments in the liturgical colors were acquired as gifts or memorials. Eucharistic candles were given as a memorial and three-branched candelabra were presented as the congregation's memorial to Pastor Weicksel. Societies of the church presented solid walnut offering plates. Electric lights were installed and the walls resurfaced. Clergy vestments of cassock, surplice, and stoles were introduced. Pastor Stoner resigned January 1, 1948.

On February 1, 1948, the Rev. Hans B. Jentsch became pastor, serving through April, 1951. The Rev. Hiram H. Sipes served as supply pastor from September 16, 1951, to April 1, 1952, at which time he became pastor. During his tenure the congregation began raising funds for a new building and adopted the new Service Book and Hymnal, being one of the first churches to do so. Additional ground was purchased to bring the acreage to its present size. Pastor Sipes resigned on October 1, 1963.

On March 1, 1964, the Rev. Alfred M. Strang became pastor. Dur-ing his pastorate a dossal curtain was made far behind the altar and a new altar cross was presented as a memorial. In January of 1966 the first steps were taken for the separation of the Strasburg parish with Mt. Eden and St. Michael's again becoming separate parishes. This separation became effective June 1, 1966. Pastor Strang having been called to serve St. Michael's, Mt. Eden called the Rev. Berwyn H. Russell, Jr. as pastor. He began his work on the effective date of separation. Since the beginning of his pastorate, plans have been ad-vanced for the construction of a new building, the present church being no longer adequate. The anticipated start of construction is 1967 or early 1968. On February 12, 1967, the Eightieth Anniversary of the chartering of the congregation was celebrated with a service of rededication and the beginning of an intensive study of the life of the congregation in conjunction with the 450th Anniversary of the Reformation.

Mt. Eden is a member congregation of the Lancaster District of the Central Pennsylvania Synod of the Lutheran Church in America. It is located on the May Post Office Road in Eden Township and has a congregation of 287 baptized members with an average attendance of 130. The time of services is 11: 00 AM. with communion scheduled for the first Sunday of each month and on festival days.

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