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Sts. Stephen & James-Baltimore

St. Stephen’s and James Evangelical Lutheran Church-Baltimore

 

Sources:

History of Baltimore City & County; John Thomas Scharf, 1881, J.B. Lippencott & Company, publishers, Philadelphia PA.
History of Baltimore, 1729-1898, SB Nelson, Publisher
Frederick Schneider, Deacon, St. Stephens & St. James Church 
Sts. Stephen & James' Evangelical Lutheran Church-Installtion of Pastor, September 9, 1962
St. Stephen's Lutheran Church Anniversary Bulletin 1849-1949
Centennial History of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Maryland 1820-1920, Wentz

 

The church was founded by Rev. Mr. Schieth (another source indicates that it was founded by a Rev. Meister, a German Reformed minister) in 1849 and was formally organized by Rev. Arthur O. Brickman.  It was called the 'German Evangelical Lutheran St. Stephen's Congregation.  The congregation initially worshipped on Light Street, between West and Ostend Streets.  They bought a building in 1852 that had been erected by the ‘Good Samaritan Congregation’ at the northwest corner of Hanover and Hamburg Streets.  The Good Samaritan congregation dissolved itself and most of the congregation associated with St. Stephen’s.  The congregation joined the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Maryland, which was connected with the General Synod of the Lutheran Church of the United States.  The Sunday School was established in 1852 and in that same year a parochial school was opened.  The schoolhouse was built next to the church. The school grew and had to be enlarged in 1854, the same year the first organ for the church was purchased ($380).  In 1861 under the guidance of the Rev. L.F. Zimmerman, the pastor and a small group of followers left the church and formed St. Luke's United Church of Christ.  The school closed in 1877 when German was introduced into the public schools.  St. Stephens continued to thrive after the break, however, under the guidance of their new pastor, Rev. F. Ph. Hennighausen.  In 1884 a new church building was built at a cost of $40,000.   English services were introduced in 1893 and became the only language for all evening services in 1899.  Dr. Rev. Hennighausen resigned in 1916, but served as Pastor Emeritus until his death on April 10, 1922. 
 
St. Stephen and St. James merged in 1962 with Pastor Lowell Thompson as pastor.  He came to St. Stephen in 1961 from Gettysburg Seminary.  The churches had agreed to share pastors during the summer while each pastor vacationed.  The parish of St. Stephens worshiped with their brothers at St. James during August 1961 and St. James at St. Stephen's during August.  The pastor for St. James, the Rev. Valentine P. Weissert, unexpectedly died on the last day of his vacation.  This led to the two churches discussing merger and eventually merging.  St. James was located on the northeast corner of  Hanover and Hamburg, directly across Hanover Street from St. Stephen. The original footprint is now a parking lot for Shofer’s Furniture.   Pastor Lowell Thompson is still their only pastor after all these 50 years.  St. James had been founded around (1894) as an English-speaking congregation. At one time it had been called: St. James Ev. Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. [This information was provided by Deacon Fred Schneider at Sts. Stephens & James, 2011]
 
During a visit to St. Stephen's and James on November 5, 2012, we were able to take quite a few photographs.  Our many thanks to Fred Schneider for the information and 'walk through'. 
 
St. James
St. James was established in 1884 as a Bible School.  The church was born from these roots.  It was first located at the corner of Hanover and Hill Streets and then Armstrong and Denny Hall on Light Street, where it remained until 1889, when it moved to Wacker's Hall on Hamburg Street near Hanover Street.  It's first worship service as a house of worship was held on November 27, 1892.  The Rev. C.A. F. Hufnagel was authorized to supervise the work and became the first regular pastor.  The first communion was held on June 6, 1894 when it became the 'Saint James Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession'.  The Rev. Walter E. Tressel was called as its Pastor on July 6 of the same year.  Their Ladies Aid Society was organized in 1894.  Sometime between 1904 and 1920, the Luther Memorial Church of Cross and Cleveland Streets merged with St. James.
 
Fred Sneider was kind enough to send a few additional photos that were uncovered at the 50th Anniversary celebration.   The photos are from 1950.
 
Pastors of St. James
Rev. C.A. F. Hugnagel                              1892
Rev. Walter E. Tressel                              1892
Rev. G. W. Mong                                      1899-1903
Pastor Rexrode                                          1903-1904
Rev. E.L.S. Tressel                                    1904-1920
Rev. George P. Schmidt                             1921-1930
Rev. Cecil Loy Propst                                1930-1941
Pastor Valentine Weissert                          1941-1946
Rev. C.A.D. Freseman                               1945-1946
Pastor Valentine Weissert                          1946-1961

 

Pastors of St. Stephen’s

Rev. Mr. Schieth/Rev. Mr. Meister              1850

Rev. Arthur O. Brickman                            1850-1852

Rev. T.H. Mengert                                      1852-1854

Rev. C.F.W. Hoppe                                     1854-1861

Rev. L.F. Zimmermann                               1861-1864

Rev. F. Ph. Henninghausen                         1864-1916
Rev. Christian Pieper                                  1917-1921
Rev. John C. Twele                                     1921-1924
Rev. Rudolph F. Krauch                              1924-1929
Rev. E. T. Finck                                          1929-1932
Rev. Justus H. Liesmann                             1933-1941  (military leave)
Rev. T. Painter Hanson                                1944-1947
Rev. Ross Forcey                                         1948-1951
Rev. William M. Brown                              1951-1955
Rev. C. Edgar Koehnlein                             1956-1959
Rev. Dr. Abdel Ross Wentz                          Supply
Rev. Lowell S. Thompson                            1962-

Church Records are available at the Maryland Archives in Annapolis:
MSA SC 4547 Film M1476 and M1477

Baptism Certificate (contributed by C. Michel):

A baptismal certificate from Evangelical St. Stephan's Kirche dated 31 Mai 1885.  It is the certificate of baptism of Friedrick Albert Johann
Loeffler and is signed by Pastor Heinnighauser.

 

 

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