York Town Square

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Christ Lutheran is oldest York church – but how old?

GSTS69420 II-3This Lewis Miller drawing shows Christ Lutheran Church’s service. (Courtesy, York County Heritage Trust.) Also of interest: People of varying religious groups founded York County and Two York County union churches vestiges of bygone era .
York’s Christ Lutheran Church – the church with the renovated steeple – is one of the two oldest in present-day York County.
No disagreement there.
The first church building went up in 1744.
No disagreement there.
Its replacement – the current South George Street structure – was dedicated on May 1, 1814.
No disagreement there.
But when was the church actually founded?
Some disagreement there… .

Charles H. Glatfelter, retired Gettysburg College professor, addressed varying views on the founding date in his book: “York County Lutherans.”
Some baptisms took place in 1733 by a visited pastor, John Casper Stoever.
But Glatfelter wrote that it is clear after carefully sifting the evidence that an organized congregation did not exist until perhaps as late as 1741. (See more at: York County research topic: 18th-century helicopter could have aided pastor)
Still, dating to 1741, the founding date of York, is pretty old and vies with Hanover’s St. Matthew’s as the oldest of that denomination in the county.
And Glatfelter also points out that for a century, Christ Lutheran was the only church of that denomination in York. (To understand how the second church came about, see 1800s German-English worship debate erupted in York churches.
Its pastors also served congregations planted around York, and they were prominent in regional denominational leadership.
And it was a type of mother church in town, the largest congregation of any church in York.
And now its steeple has been rebuilt to continue contributing to the York skyline for decades to come.

Also of interest:
Lewis Miller drew a famous pictures of Christ Lutheran Church’s steeple, among four dominating York’s skyline in the 1800s. The steeples and construction dates: German Reformed, 1799-1800, no longer standing; Christ Lutheran, 1815; first court house steeple, 1815, no longer standing; second courthouse steeple, 1849, no longer standing.