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Bellefonte Church Celebrating 175 Years

by and on October 24, 2019 4:30 AM

St. John Lutheran Church will hold a 175th Anniversary Celebration on Nov. 3 at the church at 216 N. McAllister St., Bellefonte. This is one of several activities to mark this historic occasion.

The members of the congregation have been delivering pictures to the church that demonstrate how the church played a part in earlier times and in their own lives. Pastor Will Osman has designed and arranged a hymnal display in the narthex which depicts 175 years of music in the Lutheran Church.

More memories will be shared in November and December. The congregation has been asked to share their reflections, explain what the church means to them and tell stories about growing up in St. John, if applicable. The comments will be placed in the newsletter.

The Lutheran Church was established in Centre County in the 1790s, but it took until 1844 to establish a Lutheran congregation in Bellefonte. The reformed church and the Lutherans had worshiped together for a time, but on June 30, 1844, under the direction of Rev. Louis Gustavus Eggers, the Lutherans formally organized the “Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of the Borough of Bellefonte,”

According to “A History of Saint John Lutheran Church, Lutherans Come to Centre County and Bellefonte” by Mervin S. Lucas. The Lutheran and the reformed congregations together built a frame building for their church. The church was dedicated on Jan. 15, 1845. The building was used jointly for 25 years.

Several church buildings followed, mostly as a result of fires in Bellefonte. The fourth and present structure was built in August 1970. The organ was dedicated in 1973.

Sunday, Nov. 3, St. John Lutheran will hold the 175th anniversary celebration in worship. The Rev. Michael Rhyme, bishop of the Allegheny Synod, will be preaching at the 9:30 a.m. service.

The Reverend Will Osman of St. John Lutheran Church in Bellefonte holds a commemorative plaque for recognition of 175 years by Allegheny Synod, ELCA. Photo by Connie Cousins/For The Gazette

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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