Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

 

 

 
1827 - 2002

ANNIVERSARY BOOKLET
"175 YEARS OF CHRISTIAN TRADITION"

ST. JOHN'S UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
POWHATAN POINT, OHIO

CELEBRATED ON APRIL 21 AND OCTOBER 6, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The St. John’s United Church of Christ is located at 51736 German Ridge Road in the northeast corner of Monroe County, Ohio.  The mailing address is Powhatan Point, Ohio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


THE  175TH  ANNIVERSARY

OF

ST. JOHN’S

UNITED  CHURCH  OF  CHRIST

 

 

   As we gaze upon the path we have come, as well as the

joys and blessings of the past, our thoughts find

expressions in these words:  “Hitherto hath the Lord

helped us” as stated in 1927 at the 100th anniversary

celebration.  And now, as we look into the unknown future,

we know not what lies before, yet this we do know:  That

we, as a congregation, have a mission to fulfill, have a

part to do in the blessed work of witnessing to the world

for Christ!

 

 

CONTENTS

 

History of St. John’s in pictures
History of St. John’s to 1927

St. John’s at its 100th Anniversary

The History of St. John’s from 1927 – 1977

St. John’s at its 150th Anniversary

History of St. John’s 1977 – 2002

Ministers Serving St. John’s

Members in the year 2002

175th Anniversary Celebration

     Pictures of Ministers

     Pictures of Members by Years

     Organizations

Acknowledgments

 

This anniversary booklet donated to the

members of St. John’s UCC by Starling

and Linda Zink in memory of their parents,

Paul and Irene Zink, Charles Gasser and

in honor of Lucile Gasser.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 1

 

St. John’s Evangelical Church, 1844

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 2

 

St. John’s Evangelical Church, 1889

 

 

The following table describes Photo # 2

 

1889 – St. John’s, Switzer

Names of those in Photo # 2

 

Reading from left to right:  The confirmation Class

 

1

Will Jenni

 

2

Rev. Carl Berges

man to the left of steeple -

3

Clara (Bigler) West

Charles Bigler of Charles Lehman

4

George Kocher

 

5

Albert Maury

men against the church – right

6

Will Loew

left to right:

7

Alice (Blattler) Thomas

1.     Alex Kocher

8

Will Kriechbaum

2.     Edwin Swegard

9

?

 

10

Reuben Fankhauser

front lady with white shawl -

11

Mary (Lehman) Isaly

Mary Zesiger

12

Louis Ramser

 

13

Ruben Lehman

in front to left:  Mary Kocher

14

Lawrence Berges

 

15

Will Swegard

other lady with white shawl -

16

?

Mrs. John Bigler

17

Emil Bey

 

18

George Jennewein

 

19

Charles Jenni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photos # 3

 

(no caption)

 

 

Photos # 4

 

St. John’s and the first parsonage shortly after it was built.

 

 

Photos # 5

 

(no caption)

 

Photos # 6

 

St. John’s Cemetery as landscaped for 100th Anniversary (1927)

Photos # 7

 

(No Caption)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos # 8

 

(No Caption)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Photo # 9

 

St. John’s United Church of Christ

(Evangelical and Reformed)

Powhatan Point, Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos # 10

 

St. John’s, Dec. 1977

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos # 11

 

The New Parsonage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos # 12

 

St. John’s Fellowship Center- 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos # 13

 

Fellowship Center- 2002 (view from cemetery)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 14

 

St. John’s United Church of Christ – 2003

(Photo by Ruben Datkuliak)

 

 

 


HISTORY OF ST. JOHN'S - GERMAN RIDGE


Among the many immigrants who came to this country more than a century ago, was a group of happy Swiss people. Soon after they had placed their foot on American soil, they set forth, with great anticipations as to the possibil­ities of the future, to seek a spot in this blessed land of ours, which most nearly resembled the land from whence they came. Seemingly, the romantic hills and mountains of the southeastern section of the state of Ohio, where the "Beautiful Ohio" winds its way, appealed to them most of all. Determined to make good they built their little log cabins, a task not without difficulties and then undertook the herculean task of clearing the timber-covered hills, to procure ground for cultivation. Their aim, however, was not merely to gain materials, but also spiritual wealth. Aware of the fact that mater­ial wealth alone does not satisfy the craving of the soul, they opened their hearts and homes to such, who proclaim the Gospel of Jesus.

According to a report read at the seventieth anniversary of this congre­gation, and from which many of the historical data here recorded are taken, Rev. Wagner, an itinerant preacher, was the first who, in the year 1827, visited the various families that had settled in this section of the state-- also known as the Switzerland of Ohio--and preached to the people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The good seed of the word did not fall upon stony ground. On the contrary, the hearts of his hearers proved receptive for the good seed of the Word, and as a result, some twenty-five to thirty families united and purchased four acres of land from Jacob Lehman, upon which was erected their first small House of Worship. Small indeed! The dimensions were 30 feet long and 14 feet wide, height not given. It was a primitive log house, with pews made out of rough lumber. Of those who worshiped therein, all are now sleeping in the quiet church-yard, the sleep that know­eth no awakening until the Master call­eth, save two, Dan Steiner of Pitts-burgh, PA, and Philip Fankhouser. Upon the later is bestowed the privilege of being the oldest member of St. John's Evangelical Congregation. As we gaze upon this jubilant congregation, we realize more than ever before, what a source of blessing yonder log cabin was to the members of this community.

The congregation, then indeed small, not only grew internally, spiritually, but also numerically. Several years after the erection of the first church another group of immigrants came from Switzerland who also settled here. This caused not only an increase in popula­tion, but also an increase in the mem­bership of the congregation. Rev. Kueper, who gave his inaugural sermon on July 26, 1829, was then in charge of the constantly growing flock. The time he served as pastor of this con­gregation is not known. He was suc­ceeded by Rev. Renier. Due to the fact that the early history of this congre­gation was not recorded, but carried on by word of mouth until the year 1841, the writer is not able to state how long the latter served here as pastor. In the year 1841, Rev. Alexander Schwartz was called, and for eight years labored diligently, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus, which is a power of God unto sal­vation. Having led the congregation on-ward and forward for eight years, he re-signed in October of the year 1849. How long the flock was without a shep­herd cannot be stated. Nevertheless in the course of time Rev. John Baumberger took charge of the congregation, and continued the good work, already begun. Good work indeed! Because during the short period of approximately twenty-three years, the congregation had so greatly increased in number, that the little log church, around which clust­ered many sacred memories, seemingly no longer was spacious enough. Con­scious of the fact that the congre­gation was rapidly growing in spite of all difficulties and hardships, the enthusiastic members called a meeting on March 2, 1851, and decided to build a larger church; the material to be brick, and the dimension: length 42 feet, width 34 feet, height not known. The resolution was carried out within the next year. On November 15, 1852, the newly erected brick church was dedicated to the honor and glory of God. It is needless to say, that this was a day of joy and thanksgiving for the pastor and members, to whose sacri­ficial spirit the building stands as a memorial.

The following year, April 9, 1853, Rev. John Baumberger, under whose lead­ership the congregation had erected the new brick church, resigned, and

the following June, Rev. Rahn took char­ge of the congregation. His stay was brief. After seven months he again de-parted. For the next six months the congregation was without a pastor. On June 12, 1854, Rev. A. Binder was unan­imously elected, but sadly the fact must be admitted, that his stay was even more brief than that of his pred­ecessor. The congregation which faced these difficulties bravely, was able on January 1, 1855, to secure Rev. Con­rad Kraus for its pastor. During his stay the following improvements were made: The parsonage--the time when built not known was remodeled; further-more, a new communion set was purchased for twenty dollars, and the old consti­tution was revised and accepted by the congregation on May 10, 1857, as auth­entic. The new year 1858 again brought about a change when Rev. Kraus, who had faithfully labored for three years, re-signed. The congregation again in need of a pastor appealed to the "Association of the West." Rev. Frederick Weisgerber, who was sent by the Association, was e­lected on May 9, 1858, and served until May 1861. He was succeeded by Rev. Rieder, who ministered here from 1861-1865. The eleventh pastor, who took charge of this congregation in the spring of the year 1865, was Rev. J. B. Jud.  During his stay the following note-worthy facts can be recorded: That in the year 1868 the congregation became a member of the "Evangelical Associa­tion of the West," as the Synod was then called, and the first member upon whom was bestowed the privilege of rep-resenting the congregation at the con­ference held the same year in Mansfield, Ohio was Nicholaus Walter. Moreover, in the same year, the congregation also erected a five-room parsonage. Here we may also insert that during the pre­vious year, the first barn was built. In the fall in 1870, Rev. J. Jud acc­epted a call from a congregation in Lippe, Indiana, and Rev. W. Walter be-came his successor. The latter, cons­cious of the fact that a service is greatly enriched by song and melody, introduced the "German Evangelical Songbook," and in order to make the singing still more inspiring, the con­gregation purchased a new melodeon, to lead the congregation in its song wor­ship. After several years of faithful service Rev. W. Walter resigned and in the twelfth month of the year 1878, Rev. J. Bodmer took charge of this con­gregation. During his stay the well near the parsonage, was dug, which has quenched the thirst of many, and even today giveth freely to all that thirst and desire to drink thereof. Beside the congregation purchased a plot of ground, joining the church property, from Mr. R. Siebert for the sum of two hundred and ten dollars. Having labor­ed diligently for almost 4 years, Rev. Bodmer resigned in November 1882, and Rev. P. Schilling became his successor.

     A stupendous task was confronting the congregation, circumstances demanded a new and more spacious House of Worship. Seemingly, the little brick church had served its time. Unhesitatingly, the courageous members and their worthy pas-tor, Rev. P. Schilling, undertook the task. In a meeting on May 8, 1883, it was decided to build a new brick church, considerably larger than the present. Plans having been made, all efforts were then put forth to carry them out. Many of the members lent a helping hand wher­ever needed, until a stately brick church with a seating capacity of approximately three hundred and fifty, was erected, which church, even today, is our sacred place of worship. During the latter part of the summer of 1884, the building was completed and in the month of Novem­ber, of said year, it was dedicated to the worship of the Triune God. The feel­ings which undoubtedly permeated the heart of pastor, members and friends of St. John's Evangelical Congregation on this occasion, as they gazed upon a fin­ished task, may be expressed in these words of the One Hundredth Psalm: "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness, come before his presence with singing. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him and bless his name."

     Rev. Schilling, who had served the congregation for two years, and under whose leadership the present House of  Worship was erected, resigned in the fol­lowing year. The congregation then el­ected Rev. Jr. Berges as their pastor and under his leadership the enthusiastic members continued making improvements. The church being completed, the members now started to remodel the house. To the parsonage, erected in the year 1868, were added four rooms, one of which was to be used for confirmation instruction; moreover, the interior of the church was papered, and the church debt was liquid­ated.

The year 1894 again brought about a change in leadership. Rev. Berges, who had served the congregation for nine years, was succeeded by Rev. C. Loos, present pastor of Christ Evangelical Church, Erie, PA, and also president of the New York District. Having comp­leted his studies at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO, entered this, his first field of labor, in the spring of 1894. During the time Rev. Loos ministered here, the congregation was privileged to celebrate its seventieth anniversary. On August 8, 1897, the jubilant congregation assembled thrice for services of praise and adoration. All the former pastors who were still living were present, with the exception of Rev. P. Schilling. They were: Rev. J. Jud, Rev. W. Walter, Rev. J. Bodmer, and Rev. J. Berges. In the morning ser­vice on August 8, 1897, Rev. J. Jud delivered an impressive discourse based on Psalm 74:2: "Remember thy congregation which thou hast gotten, which thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of thine in­heritance," and the pastor loci, Rev. C. Loos, read the history of St. John's Evangelical Congregation. In the after-noon services, the congregation again assembled in large number, was address­ed by the two pastors Walter and Berges. The former delivered an inspiring dis­course based on John 15:1-8, and the latter based his address on the Epistle text for that Sunday. "As the twilight of eve dimmed the sun's last rays" the congregation once more assembled for worship. At this time Rev. J. Bodmer delivered an invigorating discourse ba­sed on Psalm 103: "Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name," and Rev. Dietze, a nei­ghboring pastor, delivered an appropri­ate sermon, based on Psalm 23: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." On Monday afternoon Rev. Berges and Bodmer again addressed the congregation, and in the evening service of said day, which marked the end of this joyous fes­tival, the Revs. Jud and Walter once more spoke. After this glorious event was passed, Rev. Loos served the cong­regation for eight more months, until March 30, 1898. Here we may also add, that in 1897, the Pennsylvania District Conference was held at St. John's Evan­gelical Church for the first time.

      Rev. C. Kette]hut, now pastor of St. Peter's Evangelical Church, Dubois, Indiana, then became the successor of Rev. Loos. Since the old church melo­deon had served a considerable number of years, the pastor, soon after his arrival, started to solicit pledges among the members for a new organ. The following served on the committee: Rev. C. Kettlehut, J.P. Fankhauser, and J. J. Schnegg. Finally a new Vocalion Organ was purchased from Baldwin and Co., Cin­cinnati, Ohio. Organ dedication was held May 1, 1899, at which occasion, Rev. 0. Breuhaus delivered an appropriate ser­mon.

In the fall of the year 1899, a start-ling incident, both for pastor and cong­regation occurred. "Twas on the twelfth day of September, a never-to-be-forgotten day, when the pastor and his family be-came aware of the fact that the barn, near the parsonage, was enveloped by smoke and flames. All efforts to exting­uish the fire were in vain. In a few moments the barn was like a seething fur­nace. Since the building was only about thirty-five feet away from the parsonage, this, too, started to burn, and in spite of the many members, who had hurried thither to help, the parsonage, too, was soon burnt to the ground. The loss was exceedingly great, both for congregation and pastor. The former lost two build­ings, and the latter nearly all of his house-hold goods. Since the flames spread so quickly, not even the church-book was saved. All records up to the year 1899 were destroyed by fire. The pastor, Rev. Kettelhut, however, was able to secure from his predecessor, Rev. Loos, a report which the latter had writ-ten for the seventieth anniversary, con­taining the most important facts, concer­ning the previous history of the congre­gation, and in this way could restore in part the early history of St. John's Evangelical Congregation.

Though the disaster was great, never­theless the terror stricken congregation and their pastor did not lose heart. Two days later, September 15, 1899, the chu­rch council met for the purpose of making resolutions concerning the erection of a new parsonage, and barn--It may also be of interest to state here that on the following Sunday, September 17, 1899, the congregation celebrated their plan­ned annual mission festival; and the words of sympathy, spoken by the follow­ing pastors: Rev. W. Schaefer, G. Gret­zler, Rev. Ulhorn, who were invited to speak on this occasion, were especially appreciated by the congregation. The following Monday, September 18, a meet­ing of the congregation took place in which the resolutions proposed by the church council, were taken into consid­eration. In this meeting, the congre­gation decided to erect, if possible, that same fall, a new two-story parson-age on the same place where the previous one had stood; moreover, it was also decided to build a barn, the latter, how-ever, to be a considerable distance far­ther away from the parsonage than the previous one had been. The following were appointed to serve on the building committees for the parsonage: J. P. Frankhauser, F. Kindelberger, Charles Bigler, W. Simon, Jacob Fankhauser; for the barn: John Bigler, Sr., J. Schnegg, Sr., and Jacob Buri. Several of the members donated much of the rough lumber needed for the parsonage and barn, thus


making the erection of said structure possible at a considerable lesser cost. The barn was finished that same fall, but the parsonage was not completed un­til the following June. On June 19, 1900, the newly erected parsonage was dedicated. For all those who were for­ced to pass through the troubled waters of the previous year, this was a day of great joy. On this happy occasion the pastors: R. Ulhorn and Chr. Christian­sen addressed the many who during the past year of trouble, experienced God's guiding hand, and had now assembled to participate in the dedicatory services.

After this year of unexpected occurr­ences had passed into history, the con­gregation was gradually restored to a normal bliss. lealizing the need of a revision of the old constitution, a committee was appointed in the annual meeting, held January 1, 1901, upon whose shoulders this task was bestowed. The following members served on this committee: Rev. C. Kettelhut, Gottlieb Franz, Jacob Forni, John Nicholaus, and Philip Fankhauser. In the following month the revised constitution was pre­sented to and accepted by the congre­gation, and the same was published in both the English and German language.

Rev. Kettelhut, having served the congregation faithfully for four and one-half years, and during whose time the congregation had some of the most trying experiences, resigned November 23, 1902. Immediately following the service a congregational meeting was held in which it was decided to urge Rev. Kettelhut to withdraw his resigna­tion and remain. Since the latter, how-ever had already accepted a charge, his dismissal was finally granted.

After the congregation had been with-out a pastor for eight months, Rev. G. Gerhold, present pastor of St. Peter's Evangelical Church, Frankfort, Ill., took charge of the congregation. Soon after his arrival English services, held every other Sunday evening, were introduced. In the spring of the year 1904, the congregation for the second time entertained the Pennsylvania Dis­trict Conference. The following year the interior of the church was renova­ted; the church also was greatly beau­tified by the two art windows, presented by the Sunday School, which were placed into the niche. Two other noteworthy incidents during Rev. Gerhold's capable leadership were: The organization of the Ladies' Aid Society in 1906, and the confirmation of the first English class. The following were privileged to be mem­bers of the first English confirmation class: George Schnegg, William Nicho­laus, Carl Dotta, Henry Dotta, Frank Nippert, Lewis Winzenried, Eulea Seamon, Clara Schnegg, Adina Seamon, Arminta Walter and Beulah Walter.

     Rev. Gerhold, now having served the congregation for almost four years, tendered his resignation on April 15, 1907, and Rev. O. Lauxmann, present pastor of Friedens Evangelical Church, Marshalltown, Iowa, became his success-or. The latter preached his inaugural sermon on September 1, 1907. In the fall of the same year, undoubtedly due to Rev. Lauxmann's influence, the Sunday School joined the "Sunday School Union" of the Pennsylvania District. Moreover, seeing that individual membership prov­ed profitable in congregations, efforts were put forth in 1908 to introduce in­dividual membership.-- Another point of interest to be recorded is: The organization of the "Young People's League" in the year 1910. The following year marks the close of Rev. Lauxmann's successful ministry here at St. John's. The congregation, again without a pas-tor, applied for a student at Eden Theo-logical Seminary. Rev. Wm. Hausmann, present pastor of St. John's Evangelical Church, Wheeling, WV served during the summer months of 1911.

In the fall of the year 1911, the congregation again was able to secure a permanent pastor. Rev. Theo. Beckmeyer began his ministry here September 1, 1911. In the summer of the year 1912, the congregation again entertained the Pennsylvania District Conference. The same fall, the St. John's Young People's League at Jenni School was organized with an enrollment of about forty mem­bers. Seeing that it was somewhat diff­icult for the coming generation to un­derstand the German language, it was decided in the annual meeting of the congregation held on January 7, 1913, that English services should be conduct­ed once a month on Sunday morning. The first of these services was held January 19, 1913. On this day, the congregation was also privileged to hear Rev. Ernst Schmidt, then secretary of our missions in India, speak to them. A very impres­sive service was held.

In March of the year 1913 disastrous floods occurred all along the Ohio Valley and elsewhere, causing a loss of about $200,000,000. The waters of the flood covered the greater part of Pow­hatan, forcing many from the lower sto­ry of their homes into the upper story; and finally compelling them to leave their homes by way of boat. Realizing that many of those dwelling in the flood zone were greatly in need of sup-port, the members of St. John's Evan­gelical Church presented a gift of $202.00 to the general treasurer of the Evangelical Synod of North America, Rev. H. Bode, for the relief of the flood sufferers.

     On November 12, 1914, Rev. Beckmeyer left St. John's Congregation to continue his work at Elmore, Ohio. From Nov. 12, until August 1, 1915, the congregation was without a pastor. During the Chris­tmas season Student George Hegely of Central Theological Seminary, helped out; and on Good Friday and Easter the congregation enjoyed the services of Rev. Fred Baltzer. On August 1, 1915, Rev. P. Krusius, PH.D., now the head of an institution at Halle a.d. Saale, Ger­many, was elected as pastor of this con­gregation. June 1, 1916, marked the tenth anniversary of the Ladies' Aid Society. On this occasion Rev. Gerhold, during whose time the Ladies' Aid Society was organized, and Rev. Krusius, the pastor loci, addressed the assembly. In­spiring services were conducted, both in the afternoon and evening. During Rev. Krusius' time, the Cradle Roll Department of our Sunday School also was int­roduced, with an enrollment of twenty-eight. Rev. Krusius, a man of keen int­ellect, having served this congregation for two years, was then called to be professor at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Ill., and in answer to this call left August 27, 1917. (Here the writer would like to insert that the picture and greeting of Rev. Krusius failed to arr­ive in time.)

From August, 1917, until July 1918, the congregation was again without a permanent pastor. Rev. A. E. Kitterer, then pastor of Immanuel Church, Clar­ington, Ohio, served as pastor whenever proper arrangements could be made. On Sunday, July 14, 1918, the congregation unanimously elected Rev. Kitterer as pastor of St. John's Evangelical Church, and found in him, a capable leader. Dur­ing his ministry, not only an internal but also external growth of the congre­gation was noticeable. Large sums of money were raised for benevolent causes, as well as for local improvement. App­arently there was a hearty cooperation between the members and pastor, since without it, such achievements as were made, would have been extremely diffi­cult. In March of the year 1919 the congregation decided to install a "Delco Light Plant," providing the necessary funds could be raised.

An attempt was made and the results were amazing. In a short time the sum of $1,217.00 were on hand, which was used to pay for the Delco and for the papering and varnishing of the inter­ior of the church. For Synodical Bud-get and Memorial Library considerable sums were given. In the same year, the Sunday School also had a campaign, the result of which was, that the en­rollment was greatly increased.

In the following years the congrega­tion again proved very active. Benevo­lent causes were heartily supported, and at home, the following improvements were made: Two furnaces, one for the church and one for the parsonage, were installed in 1920, the parsonage was painted, and the Young People's League purchased a De Vry steropticon machine. Besides, in 1921 and 22 the plot of ground, lying between church and parson-age, which heretofore had been marred by wagon wheel and horse hoofs, was tra­nsformed into a beautiful lawn. Cement sidewalks leading from the parsonage, and from the road to the church were laid, a white fence was erected in front, and the rest of the yard was clothed with a green garment and beautifully decorated with sweet-smelling flowers, bidding ev­eryone welcome. Then, too, in the year 1922, a neat looking bathroom was built in the parsonage, a costly dark green carpet was purchased by the Ladies' Aid Society for the church, and an individ­ual communion set was purchased.

It is not necessary for the writer to add words of praise concerning the good work done by both pastor and con­gregation during these last four or five years. The facts related above, speak for themselves! Rev. Kitterer, now pastor of Trinity Evangelical Chur­ch, Cleveland, Ohio resigned in the summer of 1923, and preached his fare-well sermon to a large congregation, on August 19, 1923.

Since Rev. F. W. Pfitser, who had been elected as pastor of St. John's Evangelical Church, Powhatan, refused to accept the charge, Rev. H. G. Sch­uessler, one of the 1923 graduates of Eden Theological Seminary was then sent by the Evangelical Synod of N.A. to fill the vacancy. On August 26, 1923, the latter was installed by his predecessor, and ever since was priv­ileged to labor here. Words fail to express the warm welcome which the members of St. John's congregation granted to Rev. Schuessler at his arrival. In a few weeks, the faces which at first seemed strange, became familiar and soon hands were firmly clasped in the one cause of furthering God's Kingdom at home and abroad. In the annual meeting, held on January 8, 1924, the congregation decided to pur­chase the "Evangelical Hymnal" provid­ing the other organizations of the church would give their aid. The vari­ous organizations of the church, con­tributed liberally and in a short time, enough money was raised to purchase a considerable number of Evangelical Hym­nals. Moreover, during the course of the year, the congregation also purch­ased a new pulpit for the church, bro­ught up $784.00 for Synodical Budget and for New Eden the sum of $622.00 --A special feature of the year was a concert, given by the Church Choir, con­sisting at that time of twenty-four mem­bers. That it is an easy task for the Swiss people to sing, was proven on the night of the concert, when such well known numbers as "Sing Alleluia Forth" by Dudley Buck, "The Lord is My Stren­gth" by Caleb Simper, and many others were well rendered.

A few other noteworthy achievements of the recent past are the painting of the exterior of the church in 1926, papering and varnishing of the interior of the church, and the painting of the parsonage in the spring of 1927. These achievements of recent date bring us in-to the torrid zone of the centennial year.

 

St. John's at Its 100th Anniversary

At this time a few facts may be re-corded concerning the various organi­zations of our Church. One praisewor­thy fact about St. John's Evangelical Sunday School is this, that not only the children, but also many aged attend Sunday School regularly. In fact the oldest member of our church, Philip Fankhauser, who for many years also has served as Sunday School Superintendent, at present is teaching the largest class in our Sunday School. The main Sunday School, of which Mr. A. F. Walter is superintendent, has an enrollment of 150, divided into eleven classes, of which seven are organized classes. Due to the fact that some of our members live a considerable distance from the church, a branch Sunday School is also being conducted at Jenni School, of which Mrs. Mary Nippert is superintend­ent. The latter also being superintend­ent of our Cradle Roll Department, which has an enrollment of 26 babies.

The Church Choir at present numbers sixteen active members, and two passive members. Every Sunday morning our ser­vices are beautiful and enriched by two anthems. Occasionally the male quartette also makes some musical contributions.

The Young People's League, of which Miss Louise Lehman is president has 25 members enrolled. Unless something un­usual intervenes, the members of the Y. P. League meet every other Sunday eve­ning for worship and prayer. -- At Jenni School, too. Young People's League is held occasionally, and conducted by Mrs. Mary Nippert.

Last, but not least, due recognition must be given to the Ladies' Aid Society of our church and especially to its cap-able president, Mrs. Clifford Isaly. At present the society has forty-two members. Even though the society is not as large as that of many other churches, neverthe­less, in service, it undoubtedly sur­passes many other societies, which numer­ically are larger. Regular meetings are held monthly, however, frequently the members meet for special work. Due to their untiring efforts during the past three years enough funds were rai­sed to make it possible for them to have the interior of the church papered and varnished, and the parsonage paint­ed in the spring of the centennial year. Whether these improvements would have been made without their help is very questionable. May God, therefore, rich­ly bless the work of their hands.

At present the congregation as a whole numbers 252 individual members. From a little group numbering about 25-30 families, this congregation has in-creased to its present splendid member-ship.

Having climbed the Rock of Ages for a full century as a group of believers in Christ, we, who are privileged to see the centennial year, certainly have reasons once more to turn our faces backward. As we gaze upon the path we have come, as well as the joys and bles­sings of the past, our thoughts find ex­pression in these words: "Hitherto bath the Lord helped us." Then, too, con­scious of the innumerable blessings, which God bath bestowed upon this con­gregation during the past, we cannot re­frain from turning our faces heavenward, asking Him, who has guided all the way, henceforth also to be our guiding star and to lead the way. -- And now, as we gaze into the unknown future, we know not what lieth before, yet, this we do know: "That we, as a congregation, have a mission to fulfill, have a part to do in the blessed work of kingdomi­zing the world for Christ!"

 

The History of St. John's Since 1927

During the years since the 100th anniversary, St. John's has continued to be a stable and reliable feature of this community. There are not many achievements or changes in the life of the church that were recorded during the 20's and 40's. But considering the kind of years they were it is more than enough that the church maintained a significant and vital witness during those years.

In 1927 the system of financial sup-port for the church was changed to a trustee system. The trustees of the four districts were responsible for collecting dues from the members. Dues were decided upon and recorded depend­ing on an individual's ability to give. This system continued into the 60's. Shortly after this, in 1930, the cons­titution was revised. Also, during this time there were many improvements to the cemetery, and the future of the cemetery was provided for by donations to a permanent fund for operating ex­penses. These things occurred during the pastorate of Rev. H. G. Schuessler.

On July 19, 1931 the Women's Guild, then called the Women's Union, observed their 25th anniversary. Ada Warner was president at that time. During these years important annual events were the Sunday School picnic and the Women's Guild Bazaar held in Bigler's Grove. Entertainment was often provided by our own Switzerland Band.

In 1934, while Rev. Schuessler was still pastor, St. John's Evangelical Church became St. John's Evangelical and Reformed Church following the mer­ger of the Evangelical Synod of North America with the Reformed Church in the United States. And so it was that St. John's was fortunate to be part of a larger church which dared to begin to overcome hundreds of years of Christian schism.

Shortly after Rev. Hilmer Grunwald came in 1937 the community benefited from rural electrification (1938). The progress in the community spurred dev­elopments in the church. The first portion of the present church basement was excavated in the late 30's. The total excavation waited till the 50's. In addition a new organ was purchased (our present one), and landscaping in­cluding shrubbery was done.

In 1942 Rev. Grunwald left. Rev. Fred Zimmerman came in 1943 to stay for 11 years. Two items that are well rem­embered from his stay were the dedica­ting of the stained-glass windows on Nov. 20, 1949, and the publishing of the first church paper, "Our Witness". Another item, fabulous Christmas Eve Pageants were directed by Rev. Zimmer-man. The church was always filled to capacity for these productions.

     During these 50 years the church was blessed with stable ministerial lead­ership. St. John's ministers have with few exceptions stayed for many years. Rev. Schuessler and Rev. Zimmerman are examples of this continuity in pastoral leadership.

St. John's has had a long history of support for missions and the larger church. In 1954 the church began the practice of setting aside the 2nd off­ering of each month for the work of the larger church, including mission. The practice continues today.

In 1954 the Pioneer Larger Parish was formed. At that time it included 14 churches from three counties. In 1957 three more churches joined the Parish from Washington County. Prob­lems with distance made the creation of a second parish necessary, and with the merger of other churches this left the Pioneer Larger Parish with six churches in Monroe County in 1964. The Parish is active to this day. One of the many things it did in those early years was the creation of a Rural Development Committee.

     Rev. Fred Zimmerman who was with St. John's at the time of the creation of Pioneer Larger Parish left St. John's in 1954. His ministry was followed by that of Kirby Jenquins, who only stayed  at St. John's for approximately one year. As he was leaving, the E & R church and the Congregational Christian churches were on the verge of forming  the United Church of Christ.  The action was completed and announced on June 25, 1957. Again the church had participated in another great merger.

In 1958 St. John's called Rev. Bernice Buehler to be pastor. She was the first woman pastor of St. John's and she had been one of the first three women graduated from Yale Divinity Sch­ool with a B.D. degree. Miss B's love was Christian education. She streng­thened the program here greatly-- int­roducing the congregation to the new UCC curriculum and team teaching. Al­ong with this concern for education was the concern for more space to con-duct classes. In 1958 the church began an expansion of the church basement which was completed and dedicated in 1960. This new area provided class-rooms and a kitchen.

There were other improvements which came about during the time Miss "B" served as St. John's pastor. These in­cluded the remodeling of the chancel in 1961 and the rebuilding of the church tower in 1963.

The structure of the work of the chu­rch was not ignored while the building was being renovated, and so the consti­tution of St. John's was revised in 1964.

After eight years of service Miss “B” left St. John's in June of 1966. Her service to the church was followed by that of Rev. Kenneth Heasley in April of 1967. With the idea of a pastor with a family in mind it became clear that the old parsonage was not adequate and a new one was built and the dedicated in 1967.

During the seven years that Pastor Heasley was at St. John's the church and the parish became involved in many community endeavors such as the region-al health planning council and the development of a rural water system for Switzerland Township and neighboring areas. Both of these efforts have had a profound effect upon the quality of life in our community and the county. We can be thankful for the pastoral and lay leadership of St. John's which help­ed to see these projects through. Also, during this time the constitution of the church was revised again. About this same time a Senior Citizens group was formed. This group has added a new dimension to the life of the church in recognizing the needs and gifts of the senior members of our community.

Pastor Heasley left St. John's in September of 1974. During the time be­tween his leaving and the coming of Rev. Richard Vaught in July of 1975 the Pioneer Larger Parish was busy creating a new way of utilizing the leadership of its ministers. The Parish with the help of Rev. Paul Olm, our Association Minister, developed a concept of shared leadership so that the ministers of the parish could share their gifts not only with their individual churches but also with the other churches of the parish. Each minister was asked to specialize in a certain area of the church's work so as to be a resource for the whole parish. This plan became a reality in the summer of 1975 with the coming of four new ministers to the parish.

During the last couple of years there has been some necessary work done to the church buildings -- new siding on the steeple and a new roof on the Christian Education Building (formerly the old parsonage). However for the church and community one of the most important e-vents was the completion of the water system in 1976. While this work has not contributed any new dimension to the church's facilities, it neverthe­less revealed their continuing support and generous giving that this was all done without any campaign and without any sacrifice to the programs of the church.

Within the life of the church other changes were taking place in these most recent years. The UCC curriculum which had served us so long needed replacement. So a new concept of Christian Education was tried in relation to the Sunday Sch­ool. This learning center style of edu­cation was begun in the fall of 1976. Also, during this time the long history of St. John's generous giving toward Our Christian World Mission was recognized. For a number of years we have given an amount equal to 25% of our budget for the larger work of the church. Because of this the church was allowed to re-late itself directly to a mission vent­ure. In 1977 St. John's took on a Sec­ond-mile project with the VanSant miss­ionary family in Indonesia. This is quite an honor for a smaller church. Rev.  Vaught told the congregation in 1977, "St. John's is one of the very few churches of its size supporting a full-time minister that has been able to be such a generous giver for the larger work of the church."

St. John's At Its 150th Anniversary

In comparing St. John's 1977 with St. John's 1927, it is difficult to comprehend all the change which has taken place in the world around us in that time. However, you do get some sense of what has happened by looking at a picture of the congregation at that time and looking at the people of the congregation today. I wonder if those who are doing this task in 2027 will have the same difficulty. While there is always change to note in the progress of 50 years, it must also be observed that this last 50 has seen immense change. During these years progress has often been synonymous with change. Will we continue to think so in the future?

Through all this change the Church has stood proclaiming the timeless and changeless Word of God. Yes, the chur­ch has been taxed to proclaim that Word in a way which is meaningful to differ­ent people in a different time, but it has and is doing so. It will continue to do so as the Church has done for nearly 2000 years.

St. John's has responded to this new time with new programs to better empow­er its witness. It continues to witness to the faith and nourish its members.
We still have a strong adult education program with four different classes. The Sunday School has continued to use the learning center style of Christian Education. There is more cooperation between teachers and students in this style and lessons are reinforced by activities and projects related to the subject.

The church responds with special pr­ograms to meet the needs of its people in life's different states. A past ex-ample of this is our Senior Citizen's group. Today we are looking more to-ward young adults to see if we can be of more service to them. But other programs continue year after year. The Women's Guild still provides fellowship and a creative outlet for the women of the church. The Youth Fellowship also fills an important need even though there are so many programs for youth to-day. The continuing programs of the church are still enabled by a full-time minister, but the expanding work of the church is better maintained by six comm­ittees which branch out from the Council.

But the real thrust of Christ's work in the world today is mission, and St. John's is heavily engaged in mission and common efforts with fellow Christians. St. John's strong support for mission (we have given an amount equal to 25% of our budget for many years) is an ex-ample for our fellow churches. And be-cause of this the United Church of Chr­ist has allowed St. John's to become directly related with mission work in Indonesia. This year St. John's compl­eted its first Second-mile project with the Van Sants and it has decided to con­tinue the Second-mile venture.

St. John's in the Pioneer Larger Parish helped to set goals for the com­ing years and reaffirmed the value of shared leadership through our ministers. Also, through the parish the church does such things as supporting work with the mentally retarded in our county.

And through the minister the church is participating in county 4-H program­ming; the Powhatan Ministerial Associ­ation; the Monroe County Ministerial Association, which provided a medical assistance fund for the poor in the county and set up an alcoholism seminar for a five-county area; the Social Act-ion Committee of the Eastern Ohio Asso­ciation of the UCC; the Health, Higher Education and Welfare Committee of the Ohio Conference of the UCC, and the Belmont-Harrison-Monroe Drug and Alcohol Council.

In these ways the church is respond­ing to the work of God which tells us to nurture ourselves for the work of the Gospel in the world. We are invol­ved in God's work; in our church, in our local community, with sister chur­ches of our denomination and ecumeni­cally, in the larger work of the United Church of Christ in Ohio and our nation, in Indonesia and all over the world through Our Christian World Mission.

We have been blessed over the years and today, and we are striving to be a blessing to others.

Our 150th Anniversary Celebration

The anniversary committee composed of Mark Forni (chairman), Lenzy Darrah, Eula Darrah, Marjorie Baumberger, Jerry Forni, and Rev. Richard Vaught planned the anniversary program. The first event was a rally day scheduled for June 5. It was a very fine day even though the rain prevented us from eat­ing outside. Many people came a long distance. The greatest distance was traveled by Mrs. Barney Trace from Booneville, Arkansas. Also present were Mrs. H. G. Schuessler and Rev. Bernice Buehler.

During the morning we had worship with music by the choir. Then the Wom­en's Guild prepared a fine meal for everyone who was there. In the after-noon we heard some great music from Jerry Forni and Rusty Atkinson, saw two short plays put on by the Youth Fellowship, and a slide show prepared by Rev. Vaught. All in all it was an enjoyable day.

On Sept. 18 we had the second part of the celebration. This was a morning and evening format. In the morning, during worship, Rev. Bernice Buehler and Rev. Kenneth Heasley, former pas-tors, greeted the congregation. The evening plans included a beautiful meal prepared by the Women's Guild. At this meal flowers were given to celebrate our many 50 and 70-year members.

This was followed by an evening service. The service was highlighted by the singing of the Choir and Rusty Atki­nson and Jerry Forni. But the main e-vents were addresses by Rev. Keene Le-bold and Rev. Paul Olm. Rev. Lebold is presently the associate executive director of the Ohio Council of Church-es. But a few years ago he was serving Immanuel UCC in Clarington, and helped to launch the Pioneer Larger Parish. He spoke to us about importance of Chr­istian cooperation. The Rev. Paul Olm, who is the Association Minister of the Eastern Ohio Association, spoke to us concerning the challenges facing the church in the future. It was a fitting conclusion for our celebration.

Another aspect of the celebration was a beautiful anniversary plate. A great many of these plates were sold. The proceeds from the plates were used to help pay for this booklet.

 

St. John's History From 1977 - 2002

The last 25 years have seen many changes at St. John's, the country and the world, but St. John's did not lose faith and continued in the Christian Tradition.

In November of 1977 a new cross for the steeple was given in memory of Clarence and Carrie Forni by their children. In 1980 the sanctuary and church basement were redecorated. A new stained glass window in the back of the church above the double doors was given in memory of Stella Fankhauser by her family.

St. John's continues to take part in many events including those of the Pio­neer Larger Parish and the Eastern Ohio Association.

A Bell Choir was formed in the summ­er of 1981 under the direction of Rev. Vaught, much to the delight of the con­gregation. The two-octave bells were given by the family of J.D. & Mary Cald­well. Later another octave was added. In September a new organ was given by Oma Nippert. The Hammond organ had served its purpose for over 40 years and decided it was time to quit.

In 1982 Pastor and Karen Vaught went on Sabbatical leave to the Phillipines, and church services were held by lay people.

St. John's, under the direction of Rev. Vaught, continues to take part in the meetings to help the unemployed of Monroe County. Monroe County had one of the highest percentages of unemploy­ment in the state of Ohio at that time.

In November of 1983 the painting of the outside of the church was complet­ed. The unemployed of the church were hired at $4 an hour to do the job.

In 1984 a new stained glass window was installed in the belfrey, and the congregation continued the tradition to have an outdoor service each summer.

On October 14, 1984, a special ser­vice commemorating the 100th anniversary of the present church building was held with past ministers and guests invited to attend. A covered dish meal was held following the service and a short program followed.

In April of 1985 two flowering crab-apple trees were planted in front of the parsonage and a new guard rail was installed in the parking lot. The new cabinet at the rear of the church, made by Curtis Miller, was installed.

In April of 1986 a new and wider walk from the parking lot to the church was built. Padding for the pews was given by a member in 1987.

Pastor Vaught tendered his resignat­ion on January 11, 1988 to accept the position of pastor at the UCC church in Ridgway, PA. His last sermon was held on February 21. Rev. John Bruce, re-tired UCC minister from Lewisville, OH, then became our full-time interim pas-tor.

New Bibles for the pews were given as a memorial to Albert Baker by Emma Baker and the Bible racks were made and installed by Waldo Forni. His beauti­ful carpentry work is appreciated by all.

In 1990 ceiling fans, in memory of Gilbert and Vera Dangel, were installed in the sanctuary and given by their family. These fans were a great help to cool the sanctuary during the hot summer months.

We welcomed Rev. Jeanne Vetere on January 15, 1991 as our new full-time pastor. Dick Crothers installed a new PA system, and talk began to surface about the need to build a new building for use for larger groups and events. Our present facilities were very limit­ed, and we were in dire need of more room. Ground was broken on March 26, 1995 with honored guests Rev. Joann Broten from the Eastern Ohio Associa­tion; Heber Piatt, Monroe County Comm­issioner and Jerry Forni, president of St. John's Council and co-chairman of the New Building Committee. Committee members were Ila Darrah, Joyce Dunn, Lenzy Darrah, Judy Reynolds and Dave Corwin. Much of the work of this new building was done by the talented mem­bers and friends of the congregation. This debt-free building was dedicated on April 26, 1998. The money raised by pledges, gifts, donations, memorials and the German Ridge Jamboree. The many hours that members and friends gave to work on the building saved us thousands of dollars.

The first German Ridge Jamboree was held in July 1992 and continues to be held the fourth Saturday of each July. The money from this event is now used for the upkeep of the Fellowship Center (the name for the new building complex).

The old parsonage, now used as the Education Building for Sunday School classes and small meetings, was remod­eled to become a part of the Fellowship Center. The second floor is used for storage, the first floor for Sunday School classes and meeting rooms and the basement has become the new kitchen.

A ramp on the left side of the church entryway, donated by the Paul Dangel Fam­ily in memory of Donalda Dangel, was dedicated on March 27, 1991. This ramp has enabled many to attend church who found it difficult to manage the front steps.

At the annual meeting of the congre­gation in January 1992 it was voted to alternate communion to be given in the pews every other communion Sunday with going up front on the alternate Sunday.

In 1993 Easter Sunrise services beg-an by holding most of the services on the hilltop above the church. Women's Guild serve donuts, hot chocolate and coffee to those attending.

Lucile Gasser resigned on January 1, 1994 as organist for the congregation after serving for 43 years. She then served an additional two years as pianist for the choir and still serves as pianist for a Sunday School class.

Waldo Forni made cowtiunion cup hold­ers for all of the pews since communion will now be served in the pews every other time.

St. John's members pledged $15,600 towards the United Church of Christ's "Make a Difference Campaign" with its goal set at $9800.

Rev. Vetere resigned as pastor in June of 1994 to further her education. In October of 1994 Rev. Richard Olsson was hired to become our interim minis-ter.

In 1995 a lighted church sign was installed near the road in front of the parsonage. It was given by Carol and John Galavich in memory of Lawrence Kreichbaum and in honor of Marie Kreich­baum. Louis and Alfred Nippert donated the foundation, all labor and brick in memory of their mother, Wilma Nippert.

Rev. Steven Shanaman was hired as our full-time minister, and his first sermon was held on September 3, 1995.

In August of 1997 he was asked to resign due to a major conflict, and he did so on August 28 of that year. Rev. John Bruce became our interim minister for the second time on October 5, 1997 and served us until June 1, 1999. Various lay people and ministers filled the void until July 1, 2002 when Rev. Richard Wilson became our interim minister.

The Fellowship Center has proven to be a great asset to St. John's as it provides a place for many activities and a place to bring the community to­gether. Fish Fries are held during Lent. The money from this event curr­ently goes for the Cemetery Fund (Per­petual Care).

St. John's hosted the Eastern Ohio Association fall meeting on November 11, 2000 and served a full meal to around 200 people with ease, something we could not have done without the new Center. We received much praise for this event from the Eastern Ohio Association and those who attended.

Beginning in 1999 a new cement drive-way from the parking lot to the left side of the church was begun. A large memorial in memory of Andrew and Ethel Ladyga was given to start this project. Many other memorials and gifts were also given as the project progressed. The driveway was finished in 2000 going around the back of the church and down past the education wing of the Fellowship Center and back to the parking lot. This has been a great addition to the church because it has enabled many peo­ple to attend church who were unable to walk up to the church from the park­ing lot. It is used every Sunday and for other occasions.

In February of 1998 the sanctuary was redecorated. While this project was going on, church services were held in the Fellowship Center. We are plea­sed with the bright new look of the sanctuary. The walls and ceiling were painted an off-white with gold trim, a nice change from the gold walls of the past.

 

Our 175th Anniversary Celebration

On April 21, 2002, St. John's cele­brated the first of two Sundays of cele­bration of our 175th anniversary. This was held in conjunction with our sister churches (The Pioneer Larger Parish) consisting of Immanuel UCC, Clarington; St. Paul's UCC, Woodsfield; Trinity UCC, Lewisville and Zion UCC, Hannibal. Rev. Richard Plant, Associate Association Minister, gave the sermon and conducted communion. Special music was furnished by Carol Galavich and Darlene Crothers. The combined choirs, under the direction of Rev. Donald Hitchcock, Zion & Imman­uel minister, presented two fitting anthems for our enjoyment. We honored two special people at this service: Frances Lehman for being a member the most number of years (77) and Lucile Gasser for being the eldest member (92). They were presented flowers and a cert­ificate of recognition. A covered dish meal followed this Anniversary Service in the Fellowship Center.

On October 6 we held our second Sun-day of celebration with 225 people attending. Past ministers attending and conducting the service were: Rev. Fred Zimmerman, Rev. Kenneth Heasley, Rev. Richard Vaught and Rev. Jeanne Vetere. Rev. Zimmerman gave the in­spiring message and was in charge of communion assisted by the other minis­ters. Rev. Bernice Buehler was unable to attend due to ill health but sent her good wishes and congratulations. Those who had been members for 50-71 years and the newest confirmation class were honored. They each received a certificate and a red carnation corsage. The choir gave a beautiful rendition of the fitting anthem "Let Us Celebrate" under the direction of Karen Datkuliak. Carol Galavich and Darlene Crothers pre­sented organ and piano duets. The Bell Choir, directed by Susan Schnegg, pre­sented their special music for the celebration.

The entire morning service and most of the afternoon program were video taped by a professional photographer. VHS tapes and DVDs were made available. An afternoon program followed the home-cooked meal served by the Women's Guild at noon to over 200 people. Memories of St. John's were given by past ministers, interim ministers, lay people and guests, namely: Rev. Fred Zimmerman, Rev. Ken Heasley, Rev. Richard Vaught, Rev. Jeanne Vetere, Rev. David Schwab, Eastern Ohio Association minister; Rev. John Bruce; Rev. Keene Lebold; Rev. Richard Wilson; Mr. Dick Carl and others. The choir sang a couple of numbers with a special rendition of "One Step". Our men's group sang several numbers with "Come to the Church Out in Switzer" being everyone's favorite. Words to this song were written by Rodger Burgess to the tune of "Church in The Wildwood."

Commemorative glass bells made by Fenton Glass Co. were made as a 175th anniversary keepsake and sold for $20 each. Laminated anniversary programs were given to everyone attending the

service on April 21 and October 6.

All church members were honored by groups on Sundays following the Octo­ber 6 event. All children were also honored with a certificate and gift at the Christmas Eve program and later.

During our Anniversary year we lost three members: Frances Lehman, Hilda Milosavljevic and Edna Miller. Three babies were baptised: Lauren Elaine Christman, daughter of Dean and Dian Christman, Jenna Beth Tucker, daughter of Russell and Amy Tucker and Heath Andru Rosen, son of Travis and Taffany Rosen. There were two weddings of mem­bers: Kati Cook and Stephen Miller and Nathan Lehman to Tonya Lee Beckley.

During late 1999 and early 2000 the organ, carillon and PA system were de­stroyed by lightening. Due to good in­surance all were successfully replaced. An electronic piano was also purchased for the Fellowship Center.

Many generous and beautiful memori­als have been given to the Memorial Fund, New Building Fund, Cemetery Fund and other funds over the past 25 years. Of note is the replacement of the church roof from the Mildred Brown fam­ily and friends. A sizable gift from Ruth Gikler will enable us to make sev­eral improvements to the church build­ing in 2003.

Our Christmas Eve Program, which be­gan in the 1920s, is still a popular service. It takes many talented people from the children to adults to present this enjoyable and meaningful program each year. The program ends with a candlelight service and is well attend-ed.

St. John's generously supports most of the programs of the United Church of Christ and those of our county, commun­ity and surrounding areas.

God has richly blessed St. John's and we are proud to celebrate "175 Years of Christian Tradition."

The following members served on the anniversary committee doing the plann­ing and overseeing the year-long anni­versary celebrations: Larry Darrah,

Christine Crowell, Joyce Dunn, Eleanor Groves, Ila Darrah, Michelle Mozena, Millie Mozena, Judy Reynolds, Dennis Bigler, Marjorie Baumberger, Rev. Richard Wilson, Interim Pastor, Linda Zink and Starling Zink, Chairman.

 


MINISTERS SERVING ST. JOHN'S

1.

Rev. Wagner ...................................................................... 1827 - how long not known

2.

Rev. Kueper ....................................................................... 1829 - how long not known

3.

Rev. Renier .................................................................................... how long not known

4.

Rev. Alexander Schwartz  ……………………………………………………1841 - 1849

5.

Rev. John Baumberger ……………………………………………………………….1853

6.

Rev. Rahn ……………………………………………………………………1853 - 7 mo.

7.

Rev. Anton Binder .............................................................. 1854 - how long not known

8.

Rev. Conrad Kraus  …………………………………………….1855

- 1858

9.

Rev. Friederich Weisgerber ……………………………………..1858

- 1861

10.

Rev. Rieder ............................................................................

1861

- 1865

11.

Rev. J. Jud .............................................................................

1865

- 1870

12.

Rev. W. Walter .......................................................................

1871

- 1878

13.

Rev. J. Bodmer .......................................................................

1878

- 1882

14.

Rev. P. Schilling .....................................................................

1883

- 1885

15.

Rev. J. Berges ........................................................................

1885

- 1894

16.

Rev. C. Loos ..........................................................................

1894

- 1898

17.

Rev. C. G. Kettelhut ...............................................................

1898

- 1902

18.

Rev. G. S. Gerhold .................................................................

1903

- 1907

19.

Rev. O. W. Lauxmann ............................................................

1907

- 1911

20.

Rev. Theo Beckmeyer .............................................................

1911

- 1914

21.

Rev. Paul Krusius ...................................................................

1915

- 1917

22.

Rev. A. E. Kitterer ..................................................................

1918

- 1923

23.

Rev. H. G. Schuessler .............................................................

1923

- 1937

24.

Rev. Hilmer Grunwald .............................................................

1937

- 1942

25.

Rev. Fred Zimmerman ............................................................

1943

- 1954

26.

Rev. Kirby Jenquins ................................................................

1956

- 1957

27.

Rev. Bernice Buehler ...............................................................

1958

- 1966

28.

Rev. Kenneth Heasley .............................................................

1967

- 1974

29.

Rev. Richard Vaught ...............................................................

1975

- 1988

30.

Rev. John Bruce, Interim .........................................................

1988

- 1991

31.

Rev. Jeanne Vetere ..................................................................

1991

- 1994

32.

Rev. Richard Olsson, Interim ..................................................

1994

- 1995

33.

Rev. Stephen Shanaman ..........................................................

1995

- 1997

34.

Rev. John Bruce, Interim .........................................................

1997

- 1999

35.

Various pulpit supply ..............................................................

1999

- 2002

36.

Rev. Richard Wilson, Interim ..................................................

2002

-

 

 


ST. JOHN'S UCC 2002 MEMBERSHIP

Following are the members of St. John's in this 175th anniversary year:

 

 

years as

member

 

years as

member

 

 

Howard Bigler

65

Harold Lehman

49

 

 

Evelyn Brunner

71

Richard Lehman

49

 

 

Eula Darrah

63

Charles Meyer, Sr.

44

 

 

Ila Darrah

63

Julia Meyer

44

 

 

Lenzy Darrah

65

Orphie Meyer

44

 

 

Elvira Datkuliak

63

Hilda Milosavljevic

44

 

 

Ray Fankhauser

63

Radic Milosavljevic

44

 

 

Earl Forni

69

Victor Mozena

45

 

 

Ila Forni

67

Esther Nippert

44

 

 

Waldo Forni

63

Carol 011om

46

 

 

Lucile Gasser

66

James 011om

43

 

 

Ruth Gikler

71

Ron 011om

43

 

 

Frances Lehman

77

Janet Pavich

45

 

 

Dorothy Schnegg

67

Judy Reynolds

40

 

 

Ethel Ramser

60

Elda Rubel

49

 

 

 

 

Neil Rubel

41

 

 

Louise Bauer

59

Donald Schnegg

45

 

 

Nora Marie Bednarczyk

58

Elizabeth Stouffer

49

 

 

Eugene Dangel

55

Linda Zink

46

 

 

Paul Dangel

58

Starling Zink

49

 

 

Elmer Datkuliak

54

 

 

 

 

Ralph Fankhauser

55

Gary Baumberger

39

 

 

Vernon Forni

58

Dennis Bigler

31

 

 

Virginia Imhoff

50

Jeanne Brenning

31

 

 

Don Isaly

53

Betty Brown

32

 

 

Paul Kindelberger

59

Biddle Brown

32

 

 

Edna Miller

54

Ruth Ann Cook

34

 

 

Gloria Miller

50

Pam Corwin

33

 

 

Richard Miller

50

Ilona Crabtree

37

 

 

George Schnegg, Jr.

58

Glenn Darrah

34

 

 

Mildred Schnegg

50

Kathie Darrah

31

 

 

Floyd Stine

54

Karen Datkuliak

34

 

 

 

 

Ronald Datkuliak

34

 

 

Marjorie Baumberger

46

Dennis Dietrich

34

 

 

Andy Bednarczyk

44

Naomi Dietrich

38

 

 

Brian Bigler

40

Ralph Dietrich

38

 

 

Jean Bigler

45

Sandy Dietrich

33

 

 

Irene Dangel

42

Mark Forni

34

 

 

Larry Darrah

42

Eleanor Groves

35

 

 

Tom Darrah

40

Janice Kindelberger

30

 

 

Joyce Dunn

46

Judy Ladyga

32

 

 

Allan Fankhauser

42

Marsha Leasure

34

 

 

Dale Fankhauser

49

Barbara Lehman

36

 

 

Lena Fankhauser

49

James Lehman

34

 

 

Paul Forni

49

Laura Lehman

33

 

 

Phyllis Forni

47

Charles Meyer, Jr.

35

 

 

Carol Galavich

45

Robert Meyer

33

 

 

John Galavich

43

Lila Milosavljevic

33

 

 

Paul Ladyga

45

Millie Mozena

32

 

 

Gary Lehman

45

Debra Schnegg

31

 

 

Susan Schnegg

36

Nathan Lehman

17

 

Linda Stenger

31

Ernie Loy II

15

 

 

Linda Miller

19

Greg Baumberger

24

Charlotte Moore

19

Donald Brennen

22

Roy Moore

19

Mary Jo Burgess

21

Michael Mozena

19

Rebecca Burgess

21

Michelle Mozena

15

Rodger Burgess

21

Darlene Price

17

Dian Christman

21

Nancy Reynolds

19

Bill Cook

22

Terri Reynolds

19

David Corwin

25

Taffany Rosen

15

Doug Crall

24

Darren Schnegg

19

Marilynn Crall

25

Todd Schuler

15

Christine Crowell

24

Christine Smith

13

Harold Dietrich

28

Fred Smith

13

Amity Fankhauser

21

Michael Stack

10

Henry Fankhauser

26

Tom Stack

19

Richard Fankhauser

28

Amy Tucker

17

Terry Fankhauser

29

Ashley Vaught

15

Wayne Fankhauser

24

Joan Weigand

15

Jerry Forni

29

 

 

Jodi Forni

21

Patsy Baker

8

Karen Frank

26

Alexa Bigler

4

John R. Lehman

26

Tim Cook

7

Debbie Loy

21

Matt Corwin

7

Ernie Loy

21

Darlene Crothers

4

Deanna Meyer

28

John Crothers

1

Susie Meyer

24

Katrinia Crothers

1

Curtis Miller

29

Richard Crothers

4

Doug Nippert

29

Judy Darrah

7

Jennifer Paul

21

Levi Datkuliak

3

David Schnegg

21

Derek Dietrich

7

Debbie Stack

29

Dixie Dietrich

1

Jana Tefatiller

21

Jason Dietrich

7

Lorrie Yablonsky

21

Jeff Dietrich

7

Randal Zink

24

Kim Dietrich

7

 

 

Leland Haught

2

Beverly Anderson

19

Louise Haught

2

Marlene Anderson

11

Lisa Isaly

2

Larry Baumberger

15

Jenny Knight

7

Nancy Baumberger

15

Bart Lehman

7

John Burgess

19

Shirley Loew

4

Ben Cook

10

Beau Martin

7

Reuben Datkuliak

10

Kati Miller

7

Casey Dietrich

10

Jeff Price

6

Keith Dietrich

10

Mike Prince

7

Cindy Fankhauser

11

Paula Prince

7

Jeannie Fankhauser

15

Joy Steiner

7

Dennis Galavich

19

Russell Tucker

3

Barbara Huggins

19

Lawrence Wade

4

Marcy Janus

19

Sue Wade

4

 


Allan Weigand                 4

Shelia Wiseman               3

Jackie Zink                      3

 

David Datkuliak              1

Kodi Downing                  1

Miranda Fankhauser      1

Jessica Forni                   1

Shane Stack                     1

 

The following members died during the anniversary year: Frances Lehman, Hilda Milosavljevic and Edna Miller

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 15

 

FORMER MINISTERS CONDUCT 175TH ANNIVERSARY SERVICE – Oct. 6, 2003

left to right: Jeanne Vetere, Kenneth Heasley, Fred Zimmerman, Richard Vaught

 

 

Photo # 16

 

GUEST MINISTERS ATTEND 175TH ANNIVERSARY SERVICE – Oct. 6, 2003

 

left to right:

back row:                 Donald Hitchcock; Richard Wilson; John Bruce; David Schwab, Assoc. Minister

front: row:                 Jeanne Vetere, Kenneth Heasley, Fred Zimmerman, Richard Vaught, Keene Lebold

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 17

 

ST. JOHN’S MEMBER FOR 77 YEARS AND ST. JOHN’S ELDEST MEMBER

 

77-year member, Frances Lehman, (sitting) and eldest member, Lucile Gasser (aged 92) and active

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 18

 

ST. JOHN’S MOST RECENT CONFIRMATION CLASS

 

left to right: Shane Stack, Jessica Forni, Miranda Fankhauser, David Datkuliak

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 19

 

60 – 71 YEAR MEMBERS

 

left to right:

back row:                 Waldo Forni, Lenzy Darrah, Ila Forni, Elvira Datkuliak, Ray Fankhauser, Howard Bigler, Ila Darrah

front: row:                 Eula Darrah, Earl Forni, Ethel Ramser, Lucile Gasser, Dorothy Schnegg, Ruth Gikler, Evelyn Brunner (sitting)

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 20

 

50 – 59 YEAR MEMBERS

 

left to right:

back row:                     Paul Dangel, George Kindelberger, Gene Dangel, George Schnegg, Vernon Forni

front: row:                     Elmer Datkuliak, Edna Miller, Nora Marie Bednarczyk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 21

 

40 – 49 YEAR MEMBERS

 

left to right:

back row:                     Donald Schnegg, Victor Mozena, Andrew Bednarczyk, Larry Darrah

third row:                      Paul Forni, Neil Rubel, Dale Fankhauser, Harold Lehman, Richard Lehman, Starling Zink

second row:                  Elizabeth Stouffer, Elda Rubel, Linda Zink, Joyce Dunn, Judy Reynolds, Lena Fankhauser, Esther Nippert, Jean Bigler

front: row:                     Marjorie Baumberger, Orphie Meyer, Irene Dangel

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 22

 

30 – 39 YEAR MEMBERS

 

left to right:

back row:                     Judy Ladyga, Sandra Dietrich, Ruth Ann Cook, Karen Datkuliak, Susan Schnegg, Barbara Lehman

front row:                 Naomi Dietrich, Ralph Dietrich, Eleanor Groves, Janice Kindelberger, Millie Mozena, Dennis Bigler

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 23

 

20 – 29 YEAR MEMBERS

 

left to right:

back row:                     Debbie Stack, Randy Zink, Henry Fankhauser

front row:                 Christine Crowell, Dian Christman, Amity Fankhauser

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 24

 

10 – 19 YEAR MEMBERS

 

left to right:

back row:        Terri Reynolds, Charlotte Moore, Amy Tucker, Beverly Anderson, Fred Smith

front row:       Michelle Mozena, Roy Moore, Reuben Datkuliak, Joan Weigand, Nancy Baumberger, Christine Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 25

 

1 – 9 YEAR MEMBERS

 

left to right:

back row:     Levi Datkuliak, David Datkuliak, Russell Tucker, Allen Weigand, Dick Crothers, Shane Stack, Larry Wade

front row:     Lisa Isaly, Kati Miller, Jessica Forni, Shirley Loew, Darlene Crothers, Jackie Zink, Sue Wade

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 26

 

PROPERTY COMMITTEE

 

left to right:

back row:     Gene Dangel, Henry Fankhauser, Ron Datkuliak, Andy Bednarczyk, Paul Ladyga, Jerry Forni, Reuben Datkuliak, Dick Crothers

front row:     Ray Fankhauser, Fred Smith, Victor Mozena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 27

 

CHURCH COUNCIL

 

left to right:

back row:             Paul Ladyga, Larry Wade, Debbie Stack

middle row:            Terri Reynolds, Shane Stack, Elizabeth Stouffer

front row:              Ronald Datkuliak, Fred Smith, Starling Zink, Randal Zink

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 28

 

ANNIVERSARY COMMITTEE

 

left to right:

back row:     Starling Zink, Marjorie Baumberger, Judy Reynolds, Joyce Dunn, Michelle Mozena, Christine Crowell, Larry Darrah

front row:     Ila Darrah, Linda Zink, Eleanor Groves, Millie Mozena

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 29

 

SEARCH  COMMITTEE

 

left to right:

back row:     Larry Wade, Carol Galavich, Judy Reynolds, Darlene Crothers

front row:     Laura Lehman, Michelle Mozena, Joyce Dunn, Starling Zink

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 30

 

JAMBOREE  COMMITTEE

 

left to right:

back row:                Starling Zink, Dick Crothers, Ila Darrah, Lena Fankhauser, Jerry Forni, Victor Mozena

front row:                     Shirley Loew, Millie Mozena, Jessica Forni, Jodi Forni, Judy Reynolds


 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 31

 

WOMEN’S  GUILD

 

left to right:

back row:              Darlene Crothers, Shirley Loew, Laura Lehman, Judy Reynolds, Terri Reynolds

middle row:            Carol Galavich, Judy Ladyga, Linda Zink, Susan Schnegg, Ila Darrah, Marjorie Baumberger, Joyce Dunn, Mildred Schnegg

front row:              Chris Smith, Nora Bednarczyk, Lucile Gasser, Eula Darrah, Eleanor Groves, Millie Mozena, Ruth Gikler

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 32

 

SPIRITUAL  LIFE  COMMITTEE

 

left to right:

back row:              Jodi Forni, Jessica Forni, Shirley Loew, Darlene Crothers

front row:                 Christine Smith, Millie Mozena, Judy Ladyga


 

 

 

Photo # 33

 

CEMETERY  COMMITTEE

 

Gene Dangel and Ila Darrah

 

 

Photo # 34

 

MEMORIAL   COMMITTEE

 

Eula Darrah, Eleanor Groves, Chair.,  Linda Zink

 

 

 

 

Photo # 35

 

CHOIR  MEMBERS

 

left to right:

back row:              Laura Lehman, Elvira Datkuliak, Terri Reynolds, Susan Schnegg

middle row:            Carol Galavich, Judy Ladyga, Linda Zink, Elizabeth Stouffer, Ila Darrah

front row:              Judy Reynolds, Chris Smith, Millie Mozena, Amity Fankhauser, Elmer Datkuliak, Howard Bigler, Donald Schnegg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 36

 

BELL  CHOIR  MEMBERS

 

left to right:

back row:              Reuben Datkuliak, Terri Reynolds, Judy Ladyga, Susan Schnegg, Carol Galavich, Sandra Dietrich

front row:              Karen Datkuliak, Judy Reynolds, Linda Zink, Ruth Ann Cook, Kati Miller, David Datkuliak, Amity Fankhauser

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 37

 

MUSICIANS  (organists – pianists)

 

left to right:

back row:              Carol Galavich, Darlene Crothers

front row:              Eleanor Groves, Lucile Gasser, Amity Fankhauser

 

 

 

 

Photo # 38

 

SUNDAY SCHOOL CHILDREN & TEACHERS

 

left to right:

back row:              Ayla Isaly, Dian Christman, Debbie Stack, Michelle Mozena, Jennifer Isaly

third row:              Hayley Campbell, Cody Isaly, Taylor Zink, Amber Logston

second row:           Allen Christman, Alex Fankhauser, Ella Mae Campbell, Mason Campbell, Cole Isaly

front row:              Brandon Tucker, Trey Isaly, Ericka Logston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 39

 

ADULT  SUNDAY  SCHOOL CLASS  (meets in church)

 

left to right:

back row:              Starling Zink, Carol Galavich, John Galavich, Lenzy Darrah, Randy Zink, Vic Mozena, Jackie Zink, Dick Crothers, Bobbi Campbell, Judy Reynolds

front row:              Linda Zink, Lucile Gasser, Eula Darrah, Ruth Gikler, Nora Marie Bednarczyk, Millie Mozena, Eleanor Groves

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 40

 

ADULT  SUNDAY  SCHOOL CLASS  (meets in Fellowship Center)

 

left to right:

back row:              Andy Bednarczyk, Mildred Schnegg, Darlene Crothers, Dale Fankhauser, Paul Dangel

front row:              Shirley Loew, Elmer Datkuliak, Elvira Datkuliak, Ila Darrah Terri Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 41

 

ST. JOHN’S  YOUTH  GROUP

 

left to right:

back row:              Abby Mellott, Miranda Fankhauser, David Datkuliak

front row:              Jodi Forni, Advisor; Meagan Mellott; Jessica Forni; Shane Stack; Jerry Forni, Advisor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 42

 

GERMAN  RIDGE  Jamboree – 2002

 

Photo taken Summer 2002

 

 

 

 

Photo # 43

 

LENZY  DARRAH

 

Lenzy Darrah taught Sunday School for 50+ years

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 44

 

OFFICE  WORKERS

 

Millie Mozena,    Linda Zink

Newspapers       Bulletins

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo # 45

 

GERMAN  RIDGE  Jamboree – 2002

 

Carol Galavich,    Karen Datkuliak

Pianist                   Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

175th Anniversary Committee Members: Larry Darrah, Christine Crowell, Joyce Dunn, Eleanor Groves, Ila Darrah, Michelle Mozena, Marjorie Baumberger, Judy Reynolds, Dennis Bigler, Millie Mozena, Rev. Richard Wilson, Interim Pastor; Linda Zink and Starling Zink, Chairman.

 

Rev. Fred Zimmerman helped structure the program for October 6, 2002. Reuben Datkuliak, member and Fred VanDyne – Photographers

 

Eleanor Groves compiled and wrote the history from 1977-2002.

 

Dennis Bigler arranged and organized the videotaping of October 6th church service and celebration by ESV Teleproductions, St. Clairsville.

 

Michelle Mozena was responsible for the commemorative anniversary bell made at

Fenton Glass, Williamstown, WV and children's keepsakes made at MACO Workshop, Woodsfield.

 

Joyce Dunn and Christine Crowell - laminated keepsake programs, April 21st and October 6th, 2002

 

Judy Darrah - drew sketch of St. John's for anniversary bell.

 

Marjorie Baumberger, Christine Crowell, Joyce Dunn, Larry Darrah, Starling and Linda Zink - picture selection for anniversary booklet

 

Eleanor Groves and Linda Zink researched members' names and years of membership.

 

Rev. Richard and Eleanor Wilson designed and printed membership certificates.

 

Joyce Dunn designed the cover page for this booklet.

 

Linda Zink helped organize and typed the anniversary booklet.

 

Ila Darrah was in charge of Women's Guild who served noon meal, October 6, 2002.

 

Millie Mozena directed the Spiritual Life Committee in decorating tables for the meal, Oct. 6.

 

Starling and Linda Zink - arrangement and format of this booklet

 

St. John's Congregation - support and cooperation for yearlong celebration