Church History

 

A Brief History of

 

Pine Street Evangelical Lutheran Church

(Adapted from various articles and histories of the area.)

It seems that occasional sermons were preached to a few people around Danville in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.

In 1803 Lutheran and Reformed worshiped in Mahoning Township under the Rev. Johann Paul Frederick. From 1810 to 1816 the Rev. J. F. Engle conducted services. The Rev. Mr. Kistler was pastorship of all churches in Columbia and Northumberland counties. In 1820 the Rev. Kessler Doeled and the Rev. Kistler helped to develop a "Community of Lutherans". In 1828 Lutheran and Protestant Episcopalians lay the cornerstone for a building, which was dedicated in 1929 as an Episcopalian Church.

In 1830 (the date that we can assume is most accurate) is when the Rev. Jeremiah Shindel organized the scattered Lutheran members into a congregation at the Courthouse. Rev. Shindel left in 1836 to accept another position.

In 1843 the Rev. Elias Schwartz began his service in Danville. Sometime in 1844 a building was built and dedicated under the name of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Danville, later St. John’s Lutheran Congregation. The Rev. F. Ruthrauff and M. J. Alleman serve the congregation. In 1850 the Rev. P. Willard was Called and during his first communion 142 attended. In 1854 the congregation swells to 370 members and a new larger house of worship is needed. One group proposed building an English Lutheran Church on the same site. This greatly upset the German speaking elements. The congregation decided to build on a new property. One group sought to build on one side of the Canal (North side) and another on the other side (South side) of the Canal. In 1856 the majority faction purchases a lot on Pine Street near Lower Mulberry Street. Pastor Willard resigns and on September 1, 1856 Pastor M. J. Stover began to serve the North Ward (Pine Street).

This account is according to the most authentic records written by the Rev. Stover (pastor from 1856-1860), who was here at the time of the cornerstone laying on May 4, 1858. It appears to be the basis for the story of "Pine Street" Evangelical Lutheran Church as recorded in the two volume history of Columbia and Montour Counties printed in 1915. (Check at the town library.) If you stand on the sidewalk in front of our church and look up, you will see a block that reads, "English Evan. Lutheran Church erected A.D. 1858".

In 1859 Trinity Lutheran Church was organized and located on the South side. Therefore, in 1859 there were three Lutheran Churches in Danville, St. John’s German Lutheran Church, Pine Street Lutheran Church and Trinity Lutheran Church. In 1860 the Rev. Eli Hulper tried to reunite Trinity and Pine Street but failed.

There were four different pastors from 1861 to 1874 when the Rev. Martin Shindel began his Call of 32 years. The Rev. Lloyd Walters served 1906-1909. Under the ministry of the Rev. J. H. Musselman from 1909-1919 there was extensive remodeling done. The Rev. David Burnite served from 1919-1922. In July of 1922 the Rev. Walter E. Brown began his 32 year ministry. During his time is when extensive remodeling took place due to fire damage and the church was rededicated. Also during Pastor Brown’s ministry, the property at 407 Pine Street was purchased and used as a parsonage until 1968.

Under the ministry of the Rev. Robert E. Picking, who was Called to Pine Street in 1955, the church purchased the property at 409 Pine Street to use for education purposes. It was dedicated as the Schwartz Building until 1971 when it was rededicated Luther House. In 1958 Pine Street celebrated its centennial with special services. In 1965 Pastor Hans B. Jentsch was Called and served until October of 1967 when he suffered a heart attack and died in February of 1968. The Rev. Herbert D. Cressman was Called in 1968. During his ministry a new parsonage was purchased at 11 Maple Ave. and the first floor of the church building was remodeled and a new pipe organ was purchased. In 1976 the Rev. Ray E. Jones began his ministry of 14 years. The church was in financial difficulty when Pastor Jones resigned. The Rev. Deane Shively served as Interim until the Rev. Edwin K. Rehrauer began his ministry in May of 1990. Under his leadership the church managed to come back to good standing. Major renovations were completed on the Luther House. After Pastor Rehrauer decided it was time for him to move on, the Rev. David R. Hauck served as Interim until the Call of the Rev. Jeffrey G. Bohan in 1997. During his pastorate we had to do major repairs to the steeple/bell tower because the beams were rotting (some are still there since the fire in 1946) and water was leaking onto the santucary ceiling. He resigned in June of 2004. Rev. Melody Sell, whose strong leadership in taking us through major renovations to the organ and sanctuary, served as Interim until Rev. L. Keith Pittsnogle was called in 2005 and now serves as pastor and spiritual leader of Pine Street to present day.

 

 

 

 THUMBNAIL SKETCH OF PINE STREET EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH

Late 1700's Lutherans met at the Courthouse.

1803- Lutherans and Reformeds worship in Mahoning Township under Rev. Johann Paul Frederick.

1810-1816-Rev. Kistler served all Columbia and Northumberland County Churches.

1820-Rev. Kessler Doled and Rev. Kistler served Lutherans.

1828-Lutherans and Protestant Episcopalians lay cornerstone for a building.

1829-Building is dedicated as an Episcopalian Church

1830-Rev. Jeremiah Shindel took the congregation to Courthouse.

1836-Rev. Shindel leaves, accepting call to Lehigh County.

1843-Rev. Elian Schwartz begins his service in Danville.

1844-1845-Evangelical Lutheran Church was dedicated. It was later renamed St. John's Lutheran Church. The building is now the Junior High School Shop.

1846-1848-Rev. F. Ruthrauff and M. J. Alleman serve the Congregation.

1850-Rev. P. Williard called and during his first communion 142 attended. Also purchased a lot for a cemetery.

1854-Congregation at 370 embers, had outgrown its building. German speaking members were upset when building an English Lutheran Church was proposed.

1855-Congregation decided to build on a new property. One group sought to build on the North side of the Canal and another sought to build on the South side of the Canal.

1856-Majority faction purchased a lot on Pine Street. Pastor Willard resigned and on September 1 Pastor M. J. Stover began to serv the North Ward (Pine Street).

May 4, 1858-Cornerstone laid.

1859-Trinity Lutheran Church was organized and located on South Side. There were now three Lutheran Churches in Danville. St. John's German Lutheran Church, Pine Street Lutheran Church, and Trinity Lutheran Church.

1860-Rev. Eli Hilper tried to reunite Trinity and Pine Street but failed.

1861-Rev. P. P. Lane called

1864-1866-Rev. E. A. Sharretts

1866-1870-Rev. George Rhodes

1870-1873-Rev. Uriah Graves

March 1, 1874-Rev. Martin Shindel began and served for 32 years.

August 1906-1909-Rev. Lloyd Walters

1909-1919-Rev. J. H. Musselman called and extensive remodeling was done.

1919-1922-Rev. David Burnite

July 30, 1922-Rev. Walter E. Brown began his 32 year ministry here.

1946-Fire damage necessitated extensive remodeling. The property at 407 Pine Street was purchased and used as a parsonage until 1968.

1955-Rev. Robert E. Picking installed as Pastor at Pine Street

1957-Education building at 409 Pine Street was purchased and dedicated as the Schwartz Building. In 1971 it was rededicated Luther House.

1858-Pine Street celebrated it's centennial with special services.

1965-Pastor Hans B. Jentsch accepted call of Pine Street and congregation debt was reduced to $600.00 However, in October 1967 Pastor Jentsch suffered a heart attach and died on February 19, 1968.

1968-Rev. Herbert D. Cressman was elected to the pastorate of Pine Street. A newly purchased parsonage at 11 Maple Avenue became the Cressman's new home. During Pastor Cressman's Pastorate the first floor of the church building was remodeled and a new pipe organ was purchased.

1976-Rev. Ray E. Jones assumed pastorate of Pine Street. Pastor Jones served as pastor for 14 years. The church was in financial difficulty when Pastor Jones resigned and accepted a call in a church nearby.

1990-Rev. Edwin K. Rehrauer began his ministry at Pine Street on May 1, 1990. He was selected mainly because of his administrative qualities. Because that was what was needed at the time, his abilities and a strong council managed to begin the church back to good standing. During his partorate, major renovations were completed on the Luther House. He left Pine Street on August 31, 1996.

1997-Rev. David R. Hauck of Washingtonville Lutheran Parish was Interim Pastor from September 1, 1996 though February 16, 1997 when Pastor Jeffrey G. Bohan was called.

1997-Rev. Jeffrey G. Bohan accepted the call of Pine Street on February 16, 1997. During is pastorate major repairs were done on the steeple/bell tower because of water leaking onto the sanctuary ceiling. When the Amish construction crew began repair work on July 24, 1997, they found extensive rotting to the beams and had to do more repairs than first expected. Some of the beams that were burned in the 1946 fire still remain in place. Pastor Bohan resigned in June 2004.

7/2004-Rev. Melody Sell served as Interim Pastor during the pastoral vacancy. Under Pastor Sell's strong leadership we forged through major renovations to the pipe organ and sanctuary.

2005-2015-Rev. L. Keith Pittsnogle began his call at Pine Street. During Pastor Keith's tenure two green space areas were created: one along Pine street, includes a gazebo, that is for sitting and enjoying God's creation and another along the back alley and Lower Mulberry that is for community gardening.  Also during this time period an exterior restoration project was completed which involved removing plexiglass covers from the stained glass and replacing with tempered glass that will not fade; also repair and painting of the Church and the adjoining houses used for Sunday School and Offices.  Pastor Keith resigned as of 6/30/2015.
7/1/2015-The Rev. Dr. Lois Martin has agreed to serve as our Interim Pastor during this time of vacancy.

 

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October 21, 2017

WORSHIP TIME

 

God's Mission for Pine Street Lutheran Church
Is to share our faith, hope, and love through prayer, discipleship, ministry, and worship.

 

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