History of First Church

In the thirteenth year of the baby known as Cumberland history1County, (the precise date is not known), six lots were purchased at 142 to 154 South Hanover Street. A log church was erected and ground concecrated as "a last resting place for their dead." The church at that time was known as the "German Reformed Church." The Germans loved to sing but there was no organ or choir until 1840. John Conrad Bucher was the first pastor and his first sermon containing a date was March 20, 1763. He is interred in the old Reformed Cemetery in Lebanon.

A second church was erected around 1807 on the site of the old Dickinson College gym, now known as the Weiss Center for the Performing Arts. Believe it or not, the cost of the building was covered by funds from a public lottery! $9,000, more than enough, was raised. The first Sunday school in Cumberland County flourished here-the second oldest in Pennsylvania.

In 1828 a third location for the congregation was selected on the southeast corner of High and Pitt Streets under the guidance of the Reverend John S. Ebaugh. Harmony within the congregation left much to be desired and this building was sold to the Methodists at a nice profit. With the proceeds of the sale a new church was built on West Louther Street, just across from the west end of the present post office. Reverend Henry Aurand served as pastor during these tumultuous times for an annual salary of $300! The building was remodeled in 1879.

By 1914 the congregation, with Reverend Coblentz the pastor, had outgrown its home. A deed dated April 3, 1918, indicates that the present site was purchased for a new home on North Pitt Street.

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