St. Michael’s Lutheran Church-Perry Hall Maryland
Source: Church Website: http://www.stmichaelperryhall.org
The Perry Hall neighborhood was settled by German farmers and was initially a rural setting. The original name of the community was ‘Germantown’, until Perry Hall became incorporated in 1775. The closest Lutheran church at that time was in Kingsville. The Perry Hall settlers wanted something closer and on March 7, 1859 started a Lutheran congregation. The constitution was written and adopted on April 19, 1859, the name of the church, St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, however, Article 1 of the church Constitution states ‘The German Evangelical Lutheran St. Michael’s Congregation of Baltimore County’. The signers: Michael Goeller, Heinrich Mohr, Conrad Seibel, Alan Reiselbach, Leonard Seitz, Nicholas Stauber, Johann Schroeder, Nicholas Hines, Johann Freier, and Justus Heinrich Mendel. The early services were held in the homes of members.
There was also a cemetery called ‘God’s Acre’. The first funeral was held in 1861.
The first pastor was Rev. Meyer from St. Matthew’s. St. Michael’s for sometime shared pastors with Zion Lutheran-Stemmers Run and Magnolia (Trinity) in Joppa. In the early days the services were held only once per month and as it became apparent that the congregation was too large to meet in homes, it was decided that a church should be built. Michael Goeller deeded an acre of land for $5.00 at the present site on Belair Road. An additional acre was added later.
The plans for the church began and were completed while the country was in chaos and in the thick of the ‘Civil War’. The cornerstone of the stone building was laid in 1862 and the building completed in 1863. The congregation continued to grow during this time.
On March 1, 1865, the Song and Sunday Organization was formed. The purpose was to teach reading, writing and religion. The classes were taught in German. An annual contribution of $3.00 was required and it was payable quarterly.
The church was remodeled and improved in 1880 and rededicated on August 22 that year. A large schoolroom was added at the rear of the church. The Ladies’ Aid Society was organized in 1880.
In 1882, St. Michael’s was still being served by pastors from the Evangelical Synod of North America and still being served on a part-time basis…again mostly from Zion Church-Stemmers Run, services being held every two weeks. Regular services on a weekly basis began in 1887 with Sunday afternoon services.
In 1889 another ½ acre was purchased and a parsonage and horse and buggy shed were built. There were other outbuildings and also an expansion of the cemetery. The church services continued in German and at this time new German farmers from Pennsylvania were moving to the area.
In 1904 Rev. O.E. Swinehart came to serve St. Michaels. This was his first call. The farmers in the congregation provided he and his family with seasonal fruits and vegetables and meats at butchering time. During his tenure, the first Luther League began. He also held ecumenical services with St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church of Fullerton. He served until 1916. In 1916 Rev. Kittel was installed as St. Michael’s pastor. He served until 1918.
During the tenure of Rev. J.H.W. Hoerr, it was decided by the congregation that a new church was needed and the cornerstone was laid on September 20, 1925. The new church was dedicated on July 4, 1926.
It was also at this time, around 1924, that the last German services were conducted. Prior to this time, services were conducted in German on the first Sunday of the month and English the remaining Sundays.
In 1942, St. Micheal’s was greatly impacted by WWII. Waste paper was collected and money earned applied to the church debt, evening services were held for defense workers and Wednesday evening prayer services for the Nation began and continued throughout the war.
The 50s saw rapid expansion as people moved from Baltimore City to the suburbs. The new pastor, at that time, Rev. John Houck, began the monthly ‘Messenger’. The church grew and so did the Sunday School with average enrollment in 1953 at 274. The County police department began deploying a police officer to direct traffic in front of the church on Sunday mornings. In 1954 expansion plans began to expand the cemetery space, a new education building and expansion of the summer programs.
In 1956 a third service was added to service the rapidly expanding congregation. At the end of the 50s, there were 672 confirmed members, 1097 baptized members and 463 in the Sunday School.
In the early 60s, it was again time to think of a new church and under the leadership of Pastor Evan Bartell construction began in the fall of 1964. The building was dedicated on October 2, 1966. A new organ was also installed at that time. An assistant pastor, Rev. Philip Williams began his service in 1967 and served until 1969. Pastor Klein was called (a childhood member of Grace Lutheran in Hamilton) and accepted the call and served St. Michael’s until his retirement in 1995.
The Perry Hall Ministerium began in the early 60s and St. Michael’s pastors have always been active participants. This with the Perry Hall Pastoral Counseling service and the Co-Op Nursery school (housed at St. Michael’s) were organized and some continue today.
Some accomplishments in the New Millennium:
Sons of St. Michaels entering the ministry:
Frank Lampe III, ordained in 1956
Ralph Meyers, ordained in 1962
Harry F. Biles, III, ordained 1973
The Pastors of St. Michael’s
Church Location & Contact Information:
9534 Belair Road