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1955 - 1980

History of Emmanuel Lutheran Church

The present Emmanuel Lutheran church building was dedicated September 25th 1955. Pastor Shannon challenged the congregation to wear out the new church in Christian service. There are many things still needed and many more dreamed of, but we are so very thankful for what we have. We are especially grateful to the churches of all denominations who, when we were without a church home, furnished us with places t worship, places to hold Sunday Church School, places to hold meetings and to plan our future. Thirty-seven congregations, in addition to their prayers, made contributions to our rebuilding funds. 


With the new church building there came many firsts, a list of a few of them may be of interest. On June 4th 1955 the first wedding, when Nancy Lee Hermann, daughter of William S. and Madeline was married to Luther Snook, Jr. The ceremony was performed by the bride’s uncle, Dr. R. F. Steininger, assisted by the bride’s pastor the Rev. James Shannon. 

The bridesmaids were Beverly Metten and Helen Hassinger, the organist Sue Zimmermann and the soloist was Vonnie Runkle. On June 25th 1955, Matthew Shannon, Daniel Weber, Daniel Reigle, Marilyn Ritter, Robert Witmer and Roxanne Stuck were baptized. The first confirmation class service was on September 18th 1955. The members were Dale Bingaman, Edwin K. Charles, John Churlick, Curtis Diffenderfer, Verturia Edelman, Michael Hermann, Aldis Klavins, Dale Schenck, Dianna Snyder, James Straub, Judy Troutman, William Vought and Michael Winey. The first funeral from the church was that of Mrs. Georgena M. Sharadin, held September 29th 1957.


The two manual organs, made by the Esty Organ Company of Brattleboro, Vermont, was purchased at a cost of $12,400. This organ was installed and dedicated June 10th 1956.


New hymnals were purchased in 1958. We then sent our old hymnals, which had been given to us by a Sunbury congregation, to a Mission Church.


A few years later memorial gifts allowed the installation of the beautiful stained glass windows above the altar.


The total cost of the New Emmanuel Church Building, including the organ was $201,868. We received $64,0000 from the fire insurance, $88,000 from members and friends, $5,000 was borrowed, interest free, from the Central Pennsylvania Synod and a mortgage for the balances was divided between Swineford National Bank and The First National Bank of Middleburg. This debt was paid off by the members of Emmanuel in ten years. On October 23rd 1966 at the burning of the mortgage ceremony, Pastor George Birk declared Emmanuel Church free of debt.


The days of building our beautiful edifice and the paying off of the debt were at times a load almost too much for the pastor, council and congregation to bear. There was never enough money and there were hundreds of ideas still to be consummated. Prayer, faith and sacrifice brought us through.


We can now meet our benevolence and since the fire in 1952 we have raised and paid into synod over a quarter of a million dollars.

We bought the Snyder property adjacent to the church. The barn and garage were torn down to furnish additional parking space. The house was renovated to be used for our youth center and on numerous occasions the second floor was rented out for emergency living.

Some years later the brick house was given to the Amish for clearing it from the grounds.


Shortly after Pastor Lupolt came to serve us, the congregation decided to purchase the burned out bakery which stood to the north of the church. This land was graded and developed into the lovely, useful parking lot we have today.


The furnishings in the lounge were memorial gifts. The youth department bought all the chairs and bookcases for their rooms.


The Sunday church school made sizable contributions toward the church debt. The ladies of the church or L.C.W. have supported a missionary for many years and have also made and given blankets to all the New Born in the congregation. Two pianos were bought.

One was a memorial gift for the sanctuary and the other was purchased by the church school to be used in the social hall.

The church choirs have grown in number to four; Senior, Youth, Junior and Cherub. They have been gowned by memorial gifts

and unselfish seamstresses.


The granddaughters of the architect of the church which burned, gave to our congregation the triangle park east of out property.

This gives our church building beautiful setting. It, and other grounds have been further beautified with the planting of twenty-five

memorial trees.


A library was started and today we have over 2,000 volumes which have been donated or purchased by the library committee.

A special section of the library has been set up in the primary department of the church school.


In 1978 the silk-mill house and lot to the south of the church was purchased. It was bought primarily to furnish us with the needed land in case of expansion. Many volunteers painted, papered and put in new floors. Electric heat was also installed. The property is now being paid off by the rent we receive. It has been rented to the Ho family, one of the many refugee families our church has helped to sponsor.


Our Church Parsonage enjoys a new furnace, insulation, new siding, new roof and a rebuilt porch. The church interior has been painted twice since being erected. New stucco has been replaced on all the gables. In 1979 a new roof was put on the entire church building.

The most recent improvement has been the installation of heat control. This includes the placing of three electric fans in the ceiling of the sanctuary to keep the congregation cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. A rear entrance to the social hall was built by the Sunday church school.


Our church building has served the Middleburg area well, being used at one time or another by the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts, the Cub Scouts the 4-H Club and annually by the Middleburg Women’s Club for the presentation of the Christmas Musicale. The Nutrition Center for central Snyder County used the kitchen facilities and social rooms for a number of years prior to their obtaining their own home.

Gifted Children classes were conducted in the church school rooms for six years. The Senior Citizens used the social hall once a month for their regular meetings and programs. In 1976 Emmanuel Church served as headquarters for the reception of our guests from Middleburg, Holland. In other words our building, built twenty-five years ago seldom stands idle.


It may be interesting to note that in 1955 we had 302 active members. Of this number 116 are deceased, 89 transferred and 97 are still on the active roll.


To our Pastors and Councilmen, both former and present, we are grateful for all the hard, but we hope rewarding, work you have given to Emmanuel. May God bless our future.



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