Church celebrates 125 years

REEDSVILLE – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Reedsville will host special worship and fellowship on Sunday in celebration of the congregation’s 125th anniversary.

The Rev. Carla Volland, current pastor, said plans for the church began in 1889 with a budget of $7.16.

Church documents from the late 1920s state that the cornerstone for the original building was laid on June 22, 1890. For two years, the church remained under construction and the congregation met in rented space at a Methodist church. Rev. Harold Newtown Follmer was the first pastor.

Since its conception, the church has been led by 14 permanent pastors and two interim pastors.

“It shows the spirit of the church,” Volland said about the church’s pastoral history. Two of the former pastors had appointments of about 30 years.

Though the original church building is still utilized today, administrative assistant Karen Kilmer said the building underwent two significant additions since its construction in the early 1890s. According to church records, the congregation experienced great growth in the 1920s, at which time the basement was dug out from under the church by hand. This renovation added Sunday school rooms and a kitchen. In 1997, a second addition included the construction of fellowship hall.

Today the church has more than 100 active members with an average weekly attendance of 70, Volland said.

Worship services are held at 10:40 a.m. weekly on Sundays, preceded by Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. Holy Communion is celebrated weekly, and all Christians are invited to participate. Summer worship is offered at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays, according to a welcome packet provided by the church.

In addition to regular worship, Volland said the church offers a variety of social and learning opportunities for its members. Youth programs, including church nursery and Vacation Bible School are available for children. Marys and Marthas, a women’s group, meets on the first Monday of each month for Bible studies, devotions and other activities. The church also boasts an active Meals on Wheels program, Volland explained.

The congregation also has a music ministry, including handbells, senior choir and a Christmas cantata choir. The handbell choir rehearses from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and provides an anthem on the first Sunday of each month. They participate annually in the Mifflin-Juniata Arts Council Handbell Festival, the welcome packet states. The senior choir practices from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays and sings a variety of music in both traditional and contemporary styles.

Additionally, the church operates the Reedsville Lutheran Church Nursery School for 3- and 4-year-old children. Classes are available from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 to 2:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for 3-year-olds. Four-year-olds meet from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 to 2:45 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“We want to be in this community for the community,” Volland explained.

In celebration of the church’s 125th anniversary, Bishop Robert Driesen will preach at a service set to be held at 10:40 a.m. Sunday at the church, located at 201 E. Logan St., Reedsville. Kilmer said a potluck luncheon will be held after the service. Guests are encouraged to bring a dish made from a recipe that is handed down from an older generation. A special program by members of the congregation will be held after the luncheon. Volland said the program will feature skits celebrating highlights of the past 125 years.

An offering of $7.16 per church member is encouraged on Sunday in recognition of the church’s humble beginnings.

For more information about programs offered by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Reedsville, call the church at 667-6312.