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Jerusalem Western Salisbury
3441 Devonshire Road
Allentown, PA 18103
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As the committee is working diligently to plan events for this milestone anniversary, I thought it might be interesting to look back to 1991, when the church celebrated its 250th Anniversary. It is my belief that in many ways, that Anniversary celebration year laid the groundwork for our present Shared Ministry, the sharing of resources and ministries that we have had at Jerusalem Western Salisbury for over 15 years.
In 1991, the Lutheran pastor was the Rev. Carl Schmoyer and the interim UCC pastor was the Rev. Labert Altemose. The congregations had a separate council and consistory and also a third independent board, the Joint Board, to run things for the (as it was called then) Union Church. There were separate church services for the Lutheran and UCC congregations, alternating between 8:00 am and 10:30 each week. There were separate committees and individual UCC and Lutheran Junior and Senior Choirs. All of that is history of course, but none the less important to note in order to understand what happened that year.
According to the records of the 250th Anniversary Committee given to me by EthelMae Murushak, the 250th Anniversary Committee first met on Tuesday, August 22, 1989. The members of the Joint Planning Committee were Troy Schneider (General Chairperson), Ruth Chapman, (Co-Chairperson), Anne Hunsicker (Secretary/Treasurer), Rev. Labert Altemose (UCC Pastor), Rev. Carl Schmoyer (Lutheran Pastor), Arlene Brobst, Donald Heffner, Ray and Stella Himmelberger, EthelMae Marushak, Paul Mohr Sr., Hilda Moyer, James Peters, Octavia Reichelderfer, Sherrill Repp, Mary Rodenbach, Norman Schaffer, Arlene Snyder, and John Timmins.
From that first meeting, the committee set out to make the anniversary year memorable. The committee decided that they would have at least one event for members of both congregations each month. There would be joint or combined services for all religious holidays, at which the Joint Choir would sing (except for Pentecost, which would have been too difficult to schedule because of the separate confirmation classes at the time.) The committee would also spearhead two publications, a joint church pictorial directory, and a cookbook called "Cooking for the 250th Anniversary" (in conjunction with the Ladies Aid Society).
250th Anniversary Parade held on April 14, 1991, with John Timmins (in Revolutionary War uniform), Rev. Labert Altemose, Joshua Fink (with drum) and Rev. Carl Schmoyer (Neighbors, The Morning Call, April 25, 1991)
The committee also planned a whole slate of events for the 250th Anniversary Year designed to bring all members of the two congregations together. Here is a list of events for the year:
December 31, 1990 – Joint Worship service and "Firing of Muskets in Usher in the Anniversary Year."
February 10, 1991 – Joint Worship Service with Dr. Mahlon Hellerich, Emeritus Archivist of the County of Lehigh as the Speaker.
April 14, 1991 – Official Anniversary Day with parade from the Lenni Lenape Museum to the Church, followed by Joint Worship Service with a sermon by Rev. Dr. Conrad Raker and a luncheon.
May 5, 1991 – Joint Worship Service followed by the Anniversary Picnic and car show.
June 23, 1991 – Senior Saints "Olde Fashioned Hymn Sing"
July 20, 1991 – Band Concert by the Allentown Marine Band.
August, 1991 – Youth Program
September 8, 1991 – Joint Harvest Home Worship Service with Rev. Harold Weiss, Bishop of the Lutheran Northeast Penn Synod preaching, followed by a cake and coffee social.
October 5, 1991 – Anniversary Concert by Barry Snyder, pianist and son of the congregation.
October 27, 1991 – Joint Church Service with a Confirmation Class Reunion at 2:00 pm, followed by the Anniversary Banquet at the Northampton Community Center at 4:00 pm.
November 10, 1991 –Joint PA German Worship Service with Cliff Benner portraying Rev./Patriot Soldier Peter Muhlenberg.
December 1, 1991 – Joint Worship Service with Rev. Donald Overlock, UCC Penn Northeast Conference Minister preaching, followed by a cake and coffee social.
December 31, 1991 – Joint Worship service and "Firing the Muskets to Usher Out the Anniversary Year."
My reflections of the year were that this slate of events showed the congregations that we could work together and that is was fun to be together at the church. I believe that we are indebted to the work of the 250th Anniversary Committee for their vision of new future for our church, even though they may not have realized it at the time of the planning of the year long celebration.
The 275th Anniversary Committee is drawing on the inspiration of the 250th Anniversary Celebration and planning events that - it is hoped - will be memorable and have a lasting impact on the congregations. All of our events are planned for both our church members and our community.
I have appreciated the positive responses to my articles. If you have a curiosity about our church and its history, please contact me through the church office or at Finkyx@aol.com.
Joshua Arthur Fink, Historian