December 27, 2012

Little Angels

First E&R Junior Choir - Christmas, 1960
Mrs. Richard Vitz, Director
(back row, left)

October 22, 2012

Book of Remembrance




In May 1983, the Ladies Aid Society began the endeavor of creating a "Book of Rememberance" as a eulogy dedicated to their departed sisters in Christ.


                                                                                                                         It is noted, for nearly a decade Carolyn Arnett neatly compiled information in the 40-page album which includes obituaries clipped from newspapers, funeral cards, and thoughtful summaries written from a personal perspective.  

Carolyn recently went to be with our Lord in her Heavenly home on October 6th, age 94. 

This "Book of Remembrance" she completed on behalf of the Ladies Aid Society years ago serves not only as a special tribute, but also a vital resource of historical documentation.  

"Lest we forget..."


October 5, 2012

Windows of the Soul

      One of the most beautiful features of our church building are the ornate stained glass windows. Numbering around 30 windows, they are mostly located in the Sanctuary and adult Sunday School area.
      The windows were installed when the building was erected in 1887. We have been told they were made in Germany and shipped to America--although this fact has yet to be verified.
      In 2003, the window restoration project began at a total cost of roughly $90,000. During the following year, each window was systematically removed and refurbished by a specialized company located out of town. It was disheartening to see plywood temporarily replacing the lovely panes!



      These pictures display a view of of subtle hues from outside the building. However, the windows inside reflect brilliant colors and symbols of Christianity.                                          
      Roy Coon (our "Historian Emeritus") has researched the symbolic meanings, which will be featured in future articles.

July 2, 2012

God Bless America

Of The

This is to certify that the accompanying flag was flown
over the United States Capitol on April 20, 1994,
at the request of the Honorable Michael G. Oxley,
Member of Congress. 

This flag was flown for the First Evangelical & Reformed Church (UCC).

Signed by: George M. White
Architect of the Capitol


June 17, 2012

Champions for Christ

     For many years our members have enjoyed fellowship through sports, participating in Church Leagues/YMCA/YWCA. This bounty of trophies display outstanding achievements in Basketball, Softball, Bowling, Golf, and various events.  

Although we cheer for our talented teams earning these earthly rewards...
we've got the ultimate Spirit, knowing true Victory in Jesus!
First Reformed Church Men's Softball Team - 1930   
                                   Back Row (left to right)- Harold Schaublin, Fred Tschanz, Bernard Wolf, 
                                          ______(?) ______(?) Walter Wolf
                                   Front Row- ______(?) _____(?) Max Casey, Edmund Zapp, _____(?)

June 1, 2012

Dutiful Daughters

    One of the many early societies in our church was The King's Daughters,  
formed on October 11, 1890 as the Sunday School class of Mrs. F.G. Steuber met in her home intending to organize a Mission Band. This group later joined The National King's Daughters (established 1892); paying annual dues, supporting worthy charitable causes both locally and across the country. 
    Pictured below are First E&R Daughters who served our Heavenly Father. 

    Front Row (left to right)-
     Millie Ward, Clara Zimmerman-Means, Bertha Hoffman, Anna Waltz
    Second Row-
     Mamie Zimmerman, Barbara Schulz-Deaubler, Miss Hattie Ramseyer, Eva Dickman, Mayme Remalay
    Third Row-
     Susan Hocker, Anna Klein, Amelia Griebling, Katherine Armbush, Sophia Deaubler-Reed,
     Katherine Feighert, Anna Sonntag
     (photo courtesy Mrs. E.L. Snook) 
     We have several pocket-sized booklets in our archives dating from the late 1920's thru mid 1950's documenting the activities and social programs of their monthly meetings; various Committees such as Membership, Kitchen, Entertainment, Sewing; tending to the sick and needy. During the winter months they provided flowers each week to beautify the sanctuary for the worship service.  

The National King's Daughters Motto
"Look up, not down,
Look forward, not back,
Look out, not in,
Lend a hand."

                                                         -Edward Everett Hale

(Although it is not certain when this group of ladies disbanded at our church,
The International Order of the King's Daughters and Sons is a thriving global organization.)  

May 22, 2012

1887 Cornerstone


      The small rectangular structure built in 1866 was no longer adequate to serve the needs of the growing congregation.   
      On May 30, 1887, an attentive crowd gathered to witness the laying of the cornerstone of the new German Reformed Church which was about to be erected.

     The consistory instructed specifications for the vault: six inches wide, eight inches deep, and twelve inches long...inscription  "nur in Deutsch" (only in German).
     This historic stone can still be plainly seen located on the southeast corner of our building, with the engraved abbreviation


      Notice of the ceremony published in the Lima Courier (May 25, 1887), translated from German as follows:

     The cornerstone of the German Reformed Church will be laid next Sunday at 2 o'clock. Several good speakers have been invited to take part in the festivities. The choir has been diligently practicing several numbers. The Building Committee will give a detailed report of what remains to be done.
     We invite everybody to help us in the laying of the cornerstone for a Temple of Peace.

In behalf of the congregation,
E. Cantieny
(Secretary of the Congregation) 

April 18, 2012

Play a Melody

     A melodeon (also known as a cabinet organ or American organ) is a type of 19th century reed organ with foot-operated bellows, and piano keyboard. Due to their compact size these musical instruments were often used in small churches, substituting spralling pipe organs. First manufactured in the United States around the year 1812 until the Civil War era they were relatively inexpensive, easy to transport, and required minimum maintenance. But most importantly, perfectly served the purpose accompanying choir anthems and congregational hymns.  
     Pictured below is the the lovely rosewood melodeon measuring 23 x 47 inches formerly owned by  Anna Herold Zimmerman and Margaret Herold Sullivan, which had been loaned to the church for use in the first building. The  Jewett & Goodman melodeon was purchased in Lima about 1862, which was carried weekly to the German Reformed Church from the home of Lewis and Anna (Herold) Zimmerman.
     On October 17, 1955, Mrs. A.N. Bruzelius presented the piece to the Allen County Museum where it was on display for many years. At some point in time the melodeon was moved next door to the The MacDonell House, a gorgeous fully-furnished Victorian mansion. Nestled in the sunny nook of an ornate sitting room, how wonderful our little melody-maker coming from humble beginnings has found such an elegant home!                     

I Have a Song That Jesus Gave Me
I have a song that Jesus gave me,
It was sent from Heav'n above;
There never was a sweeter melody,
'Tis a melody of love.

In my heart there rings a melody, 
There rings a melody with heaven's harmony;
In my heart there rings a melody;
There rings a melody of love.  

                                                                                              Words & Music: Elton M. Roth, 1924     


Allen County Museum & The MacDonell House
620 & 632 W. Market St.
Lima, OH 45801
Phone: 419-222-9426

March 29, 2012

Faith Confirmed

     Since our earliest beginnings, Confirmation is considered a sacred rite of passage for young men and women. At about 13-years of age, they begin a thorough 2-year instruction in the Bible, the Heidelberg Catechism, and church history.  
     The Heidelberg Catechism dates back to 1563, developed in Germany. But it has been translated into all European languages, as well as some African and Asian. The document consists of 129 questions and answers.
     After completing their studies, the Confirmands stand in the presence of God before the congregation; answering random questions from memory, asked by their teacher. This review traditionally occurs on Palm Sunday. Embraced by the Church body, our newest members receive their first Sacrament of Holy Communion on Easter Sunday.   

Confirmation Class
Easter Sunday ~ April 12, 1903

Front Row (left to right) -
Leonard Schanbel, Irvin Clausing, Nina Schulz, Charles Klein, Rev. Paul H. Land, Otto Rhoda, Winnie Rhoda, John Weller. 
Back Row -
Ethel Schaub, Otto Aue, William Kissel, Mary Bacher, Karl Renz, Clarence Frey, 
Charles Tiemeyer, Minnie Heil, Walter Haege.    


"Was is dein einiger Trost im Leben und im Stebern?"
(What is thy only comfort in life and death?)

"Dass ich mit Leib und Seele, beides im leben und Sterben, nicht mein, sondern meines getreuen Heilandes, Jesu Christi eigen bin..."
(That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour, Jesus Christ...)

February 24, 2012

E&R Historical Society

     Founded in 1863 as the Historical Society of the German Reformed Church, the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society was established in 1934 when the Reformed Church in the United States merged with the Evangelical Synod of North America.  
      The Society is housed on the 2nd floor of the Philip Schaff Library at the Lancaster Theological Seminary.
      A vast collection of historical holdings from affiliated churches around the country includes minutes of Boards & classes; liturgies, publications, and congregational records from the 1700's to present.
      A treasure trove of resources & helpful assistance for researchers.

      Throughout the years our church has submitted materials to this Society, and will continue to preserve our history in these archives. 

555 W. James St.
Lancaster, PA   17603
Phone: 717-290-8734
 (With appreciation to the E&R Historical Society for courtesy of photos & permission to link with their website)     


February 23, 2012

Cleanliness Next to Godliness

"...We will not neglect the House of the Lord..." (Nehemiah 10:39)

     Henry Stutzman was never forefront in our congregation. He never served on the Consistory, taught a Sunday School class, or sang in the choir. But Henry took great care of the Lord's House as our custodian from 1938 to 1945.  
     Henry was small in physical stature, softspoken with a slight German accent; a gentle spirit with a sweet smile. Brought to America as an infant, he was born in Baden, Germany. 
     Rolls first show Mr. & Mrs. Henry (Mary) Stutzman as members in 1926. Although he was a foundry worker, he & his wife tithed generously. Mary died in 1932.  
     On January 1, 1938, Henry Stutzman became our custodian, and the church literally became his home. His "apartment" consisted of a cot-sized bed, a small radio on a little table, and a comfortable chair in the furnace room area. His little bit of cooking was done in the church kitchen. It was assumed the galvanized tub hanging on the wall of the furnace room doubled as his bathtub and sink, for he and his clothes were always clean and neat. 
     His "apartment" was cool in the summer and warm in winter, where Henry was always there to stoke the old coal furnace. Besides sweeping, dusting, scrubbing and general cleaning, Henry planted flowers around the church and parsonage in the spring. And shoveled snow in the winter. He was perfectly content taking care of God's House. His annual salary was $90.
     Rev. Paul Graeser and his family lived in the parsonage next door, along with other church members in the neighborhood. Often they would cook "extra" for dinner, then invited Henry. Being a shy man, he would usually politely decline their offers. Taking the left-overs back to his place, Henry preferred eating alone.  
     The children adored Henry and were thrilled watching him ring the church bell. He would pull the rope, then hang on as it lifted him high off the floor. The children laughed...and so did Henry! 
      Henry worked until his death on February 14, 1945. He was 63. 
      With tears in his eyes, Rev. Graeser officiated the funeral which was held in the church that Henry loved. 
      Henry Stutzman rests peacefully in Memorial Park Cemetery.  
(from an article written by VaLaire Orchard; 2008)  

February 2, 2012

Sabbath Studies

     Sunday School at First E&R Church has always been a stronghold of learning about the Good Book. On August 7, 1873 the German Reformed Church was host to a district Sunday School Festival, with six German Sunday schools of Allen County and several English schools participating. Approximately 1000 people paraded to the old fairgrounds on Bellefontaine Avenue where they enjoyed a picnic, before returning downtown for a concert at the City Hall located on Main & High Streets. 
     During the Pastorate of Rev. C. Pluess, the Sunday School flourished under the leadership of Superintendent Jacob Moser. 
      One visiting Pastor who attended the event, wrote the following account featured in a periodical of the Reformed Church of the United States: 

"Taken as whole, it was the grandest Sabbath school festival we ever witnessed, its success evidently attributable to the untiring exertions of Mr. Moser, the Superintendent, and his co-workers in the school. We were very much gratified that where twenty years ago we preached to a few scattering Germans only occasionally, now we have a German congregation able to make such a display...May the Lord Bless the Lima Sabbath school and congregation!" ~ J. Klinger

     See below a photo of the Sunday School Cabinet (Officers & Teachers) circa early 1930's, under the Pastorate of Rev. Reuben J. Schroer. 

Front Row (left to right) -
Hilda Snook Wolf, Martha Schaefer, Mrs. Lillian Gerstenlauer,
Mrs. Salome Niemeyer, Mrs. Katherine Mumper, Mrs. Oscar Alstetter,
Dorothy Rhoda McNett, Mrs. Inez Herold;
Second Row -
Miss Sophia Hoff, Mrs. Norma Kessler, Miss Clara Greding, Mrs. Holtkamp,
Mrs. Carl Rhoda, Miss Ella Eysenbach, Mrs. R.J. Schroer, Mrs. Zeits;
Third Row -
Mrs. Lillian Heinrich, Lee G. Van Blargan, Bernard Wolf, Clarence Frey, Jr.,
Clarence Frey, Sr., George Urich, Mrs. Mary Perry.

January 27, 2012

Consistory History

     Annual congregational meetings of First E&R Church are held in January.
At this time we review highlights of the past year, discuss new business, and elect nominees to the Consistory (Church Board); primarily consisting of Elders, Deacons, and Trustees.           

"Consistories of Yester-year"
100th Anniversary Booklet ~ 1963 
(click on image to enlarge) 

     These photos are an example of "Chairmen of the Board" since women were not permitted to serve as Officers of the Church. It wasn't until 1971, women were nominated for positions on the Consistory. Although they were not elected, this marked a significant step in the history of our Church. Eventually by the early-1980's, women were elected to serve as Deacons and Trustees. Over the past few decades, a multitude of ladies have dutifully fulfilled these offices.
    The most reverent office of Elder remains reserved for men.  
    To serve on the Consistory is regarded as a great honor and privilege. We respect all these leaders following in the footsteps of our founders.

January 17, 2012

"Hail Mary"...!!?

     Rather out of the ordinary regarding our staunch German Protestant history, but this is for the benefit of sports fans in the final throes of football season. 
     Rev. Tillman W. Hoernemann was our 10th Pastor, with the distinction of serving the second longest ministerial term at our Church 1914-1929. We will pay our due respects in a future post. But thru his Pastorate, our Church connected with one of the greatest coaches of all time!       

Paul "The Fox" Hoernemann
       Paul "The Fox" Hoernemann, was the son of Rev. & Mrs. (Bertha) Hoernemann. Born in Lima, he was a teen-ager when his father left our Church to assume a position in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Paul was a 1938 graduate of Heidelberg College (founded in 1850 by the German Reformed Church), where he would return as Head Football Coach 1946-1959. During his 14-year career he lost only 18 games (his overall record being 102-18); consisting of 16 & 17-game winning streaks and two undefeated seasons. While he was Coach, the Heidelberg "Student Princes" won the Ohio Conference in 1948, 1952, 1954, and 1956. The Ohio Conference later established the Hoernemann Trophy, awarded to the best defensive lineman. And during those days, an article featured in Sports Illustrated listed Coach Hoernemann #7, topped by the infamous Knut Rockne from Notre Dame leading the roster.   
      In 1997, Paul "The Fox" Hoernemann was posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  
     To my knowledge it is a mystery how he earned his nickname. But I'll make the call, and say it was due to his cunning coaching expertise!   

January 5, 2012

Ladies to the Rescue

     On January 3, 1867, a group of women met at the home of Rev. & Mrs. William H. Fenneman. Among these ladies were: Lizzie Naas Badertscher, Adeline Frail, Marie Rothe, Katherine Schnug, Rosa Schnug, and Katherine Stueber. 
     The cornerstone of the new building at Wayne & West Streets had been laid the preceding August, and construction had begun. 
     The women were determined to form an organization within the Church to raise funds covering the debt, bring Spiritual enrichment, and encourage good works.   
     A Constitution was written on that day, their mission accomplished.  
     This group would be called "Der Frauen-Verien" which translates to The Ladies Aid Society. Formed 4-months before the dedication of the first building, this is the oldest  organization in our Church. 
     The Ladies Aid Society remains active to this day; holding regular monthly meetings, promoting worthy projects, and supporting Spiritual growth. We greatly appreciate the devotion of these virtuous women.  

"She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy." 
~Proverbs 31:20 (NIV)