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