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Frederick Lutheran Church

Frederick Lutheran Church 1920

Source:  Centennial History of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Maryland 1820-1920, Wentz

There are many published pieces about this historical church. 

The Evangelical Review of April, 1856, Rev. George Diehl-onset to 1837
The Lutheran Quarterly of October, 1883, Rev. B. M. Schmucker. D.D,
Rev. Luther Kuhlman, DD-History published in 1905

From them we gather the following facts :

The pioneers of Lutheranism in this region travelled from Pennsylvania along the line of travel through Lancaster, York and Hanover (Conewago). The original settlement begun about 1730-1732 had its nucleus somewhere near the Monocacy about ten miles north of Frederick. Here was located the mother church of all the Lutheran congregations subsequently established in this general region. The Frederick church is a daughter of the Monocacy congregation.  The oldest record book in possession of the congregation is stamped on the back "Gemeinde Monakes" that is the congregation of the Monocacy and the most precious historic relic in their possession is the English Constitution contained in this same book, prepared and written by Muhlenberg.

It is known that a congregation was in existence in 1741, that a house of worship was bought or built in 1743 and that Rev. David Candler was the first pastor, not resident here, but from New York. This fixes the organization not later than 1743 and perhaps before that date. Of this first pastor we know only that he resided near Hanover, and such was his devotion  that at first he gathered the people in his own home, that his field extended from York to Frederick, that he died in 1740, and is buried at Conewago. It is probable that he was a spiritual son of the Rev. John Casper Stoever, whose center of operations was that Lutheran stronghold, York, Pa.

Candler was followed by Rev. Nyberg, a Swede. It is the testimony of Muhlenberg that he had charge of the Monocacy congregation, and that without doubt he occasionally preached here. It was a sorry day when Nyberg made his entrance into this valley. He was at heart a Moravian, and so lax was his sense of honor that in 1745 or 1746 he tried to carry the congregation over to the Moravians. In this reprehensible attempt he did not succeed, though the congregation was split, the Moravian party locating at Graceham, while the Lutheran portion retained the old church.

In 1746 or 1747, a Rev. Nicke, also a Moravian, and apparently sent by the Moravian authorities at Bethlehem, undertook to feed this flock. The flock would not recognize him and following one sermon sent him on his way.  This attempt was followed by two ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’.  The first was a ‘supposed’ Lutheran minister by the name of Carl Rudolph, who, in Georgia was almost hanged.  He was accepted at Monocacy but soon ‘showed his true colors’ as a thief and drunkard.   He was sent on his way.  The second was a vagrant, whom "Muhlenberg terms Empiricus Schmidt." He undertook to administer both to the bodily and spiritual ills of the people. He, however, found few supporters. Still another of this same ilk, Streiter by name, caused them no little distress in 1751.

From 1747-1749 this congregation received occasional ministry from Rev. I. H. Schaum and Rev. Valentine Kraft. The latter of these moved to Frederick, was an old man and infirm, very poor, and was granted, by the wardens of the English church, an allowance of ten pounds annually as charity. He died in 1751.

Members and officers of the church often corresponded with Rev. Schaum.  They trusted him and they appealed to him for counsel and assistance for their spiritual needs.  There is testimony that Rev. Mr. Hausihl came to Frederick as early as March 20, 1752 and that his labors extended to 1758. He was the first resident pastor and the story of his life is most interesting.

In 1758 after repeated and urgent requests, Muhlenberg again visited Frederick. He met with the members of the Lutheran Church there, but steadfastly refused to let them extend a call to him. In 1762 Rev. J. C. Hartwig consecrated the ne\v church building that had taken the place of the one erected in 1743.

After a vacancy of some five years they secured a pastor in 1763 in the person of Rev. J. S. Schwerdfeger, but his tenure was less than one year. He came to Frederick in 1768.  He was raised as an orphan at Neustadt in Bavaria and was a graduate of the University or Erlangen.  As a you man, he fell into the hands of emigrant runners, who shipped him as a redemtioner to Baltimore.  He arrived in Baltimore in 1753. 

The next pastor was the Rev. John Andrew Krug. He came to Frederick from Reading in 1771 and in spite of much opposition from within the congregation succeeded in maintaining himself in office until his death in 1796.

Rev. Charles Frederick Wildbahn succeeded Rev. Krug. He also came from Reading. He served the congregation only a year and a half until June 1798. Upon the resignation of Rev. Wildbahn the congregation extended a call to Rev. Charles Augustus Gottleib Storck of North Carolina, which call was declined.

In 1799. the Rev. John Frederick Moeller, a youth of twenty six years, became the pastor and ministered most acceptably for three years.

When Mr. Moeller went to Chambersburg in 1802, the last pastor of that place came to Frederick. His name was Frederick William Jasinsky. Dr. Diehl gives an interesting and forcible sketch of the man. In 1807 it was agreed that for the sake of the peace of the congregation he should withdraw.

In July 1808, Rev. David Frederick Schaeffer took charge of the congregation. He was then twenty-two years old and only recently licensed. He continued as pastor until nearly the day of his death in 1837. During this long pastorate the congregation blossomed and became a center of influence in Frederick.   Dr. Schaeffer came from an influential family and was prominent in the founding and early history not only of the Maryland Synod but even of the General Synod. During the first sixteen years of the life of the Maryland Synod he was an officer every year except one. Of the first six meetings of the General Synod four were held in his church, and of the first seven meetings he was five times secretary and twice president. He was a teacher of students for the ministry and the editor of the first English Lutheran periodical, the Intelligencer.

Dr. Schaeffer was succeeded by Rev. Simeon W. Harkey, D.D. who filled the pastorate from 1837 to 1850. When Rev. Harkey began his ministry, there were two congregations, with a communicant membership of three hundred, and a Sunday school of one hundred and seventy-five scholars. The number of congregations was subsequently increased to four.  In 1840 the Manor and Mt. Zion congregations were relinquished and in connection with Jefferson formed a new charge. In 1844 the Bethel congregation united with two others, one at Fair View and the other at Rocky Springs, thereby constituting this congregation a separate charge from that time.

Rev. Harkey was said to be an able, devoted, spiritually-minded minister of the gospel. In zeal he was untiring; in preaching scriptural, fervent, direct, persuasive; and in pastoral work sympathetic and helpful. By all he was held in high regard. In the Synod he was easily among the leaders. During his pastorate the present parsonage was completed in 1846, at a cost of $1,995.

Rev. Dr. Harkey resigned in 1850. Two years later he became professor of theology in the University of Illinois, an office that he graced for fifteen years. Upon the retirement of Rev. Mr. Harkey the council began working to find a successor, which met with indifferent success.  A number of ministers were invited to preach as candidates, but most of them declined. Rev. Joseph A. Seiss, then at Cumberland, Md., was extended a call, and it appeared at first as though he would be the next pastor. After some correspondence, however, he felt it his duty to remain where he was.

On December 12,  1850 an invitation was extended to Rev. George Diehl, Easton, Pa., to preach for the congregation with a view of becoming its pastor. He was elected, accepted the call, and was formally installed on August 12, 1851. His pastoral relationship extended over a period of more than thirty-six years, and exceeded in length the service of any other pastor.

His first years were very active and included the large undertaking of a new house of worship.  The corner stone was laid on August 26, 1854, and the new edifice was dedicated on December 8, 1855.  He was President of the General Synod in 1861.

In 1878 the pastor evidently began to weary under some of his burdens, and requested relief from the delivery of the German sermon. Apparently the records do not address how this was answered.  Initially the congregation attempted to secure of provide a younger assistant, however, this wasn’t feasible and Rev. Diehl was terminated on December 31, 1887.

In 1888 St. James Lutheran Church was organized, and as its pastor Dr. Diehl continued his ministerial labors in this city until October 15, 1891, when in the silence of the night his spirit went home to God who gave it.

Rev. Luther Kuhlman, D.D., became pastor of the Frederick church on February 1, 1888, and served for more than fifteen years. This was a period of unparalleled growth not only in the size and property of the congregation, but even more in its spirit and activities. A Sundav school building was erected at a cost of more than $16,000. The main church building was overhauled at a cost of over $5.500. A third story and other improvements were added to the parsonage. The congregation was taught the grace of direct giving.  The chancel arrangements and furnishings were made to accord with Lutheran ideas. The Washington Service was first introduced and later the Book of Worship and the Common Service were adopted. Under the direction of Mrs. Kuhlman, the Woman's Missionary Society was organized, the Young People's Missionary Society, the enthusiastic Junior Mission Band, and the model Primary Department that serviced at one time more than 300 children. 

During Dr. Kuhlman 's pastorate at least seven young men started working toward the Christian ministry, five of them for the Lutheran ministry. Three became faithful pastors and preachers: Rev. M. J. Kline, D.D., of Altoona, Pennsylvania; Rev. A. J. Carty, of Philadelphia, and Rev. G. Z. Stup, of Trenton, New Jersey. In a large way, Dr. Kuhlman's ministry deepened the spiritual life of the congregation, created an appreciation of things Lutheran, and cultivated an intelligent cooperation in the work of the church. He resigned the pastorate September, 1903, to accept a professorship in the Gettysburg Seminary.

Rev. Charles F. Steck, D.D., was pastor from 1903 to February 1, 1910. Two important events marked his pastorate. First, the constitution was revised, 1904, giving women of legal age the right to vote. Second, the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the present church building was observed by a special festival of religious services, December 3-5, 1905.

On July 1, 1910, the Rev. Ulysses S. G. Rupp, D.D., assumed the office of pastor here and under his ministry further improvements were made. In 1911 the duplex envelope system was introduced. A Beginners' Department was organized in the Sunday school in 1912 ; $12,000 was spent to enlarge and improve the Sunday school building so as to accommodate this new department and the growing adult Bible classes. The Sunday school enrollment had reached the mark of 1,200. One hundred fourteen men were given to the country in the World War, and four of these died in France. The Sunday school is observed its centennial in September. 1920.

Frederick Lutheran Church Council 1920
                                                                  The Frederick Lutheran Church Council - 1920


Frederick Lutheran Sunday School Managers 1920

The Frederick Lutheran Church Officer/Managers Sunday School-1920
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