Immanuel's History Timeline


May 24 - First baptisms recorded by Rev. Fritch. Twin daughters of Jeremiah and Mary Hill

June 10- Constitution of the Immanuel's Reformed Church of Shillington, PA

Reverend M. L. Fritch, Pastor

November 15- Church building is dedicated; November 19- First Regular Service, Collection $0.79



February 7- Organist election – Benjamin Hemmig unanimously elected organist

April 5- First catechetical class confirmed by Rev. Fritch, 19 members

Congregation votes to remodel church ($650)

The Church Aid Society Formed. Voted to use funds for organ ($300)

April 5 – recorded by deed that two acres of land along the Welsh Mountain Road (now New Holland Avenue) conveyed to Emmanuel Evangelical Reformed and Lutheran Church ($575)



March 16- First mortgage ($2,181.28) recorded against Immanuel Reformed & Evangelical Lutheran Church

Cemetery started



June 22- Church and its property put up for sale by the High Sheriff of Berks County, Alfred Kemp



November 15- Church dedicated

December- membership 80



March 14 - Last regular service at the Union (Reformed & Lutheran) church.

The Lutheran congregation broke away

March 27- Reorganized the congregation and consistory

April 10- New charter written and filed in Reading Courthouse

May 21- New charter approved



March 29- Rev. Fritch received his last salary

Membership 66

Reverend H. Mishler is interim pastor (appears to have served for about one year)

September 9- Rev. Wm. J. Kershner conducts first service as pastor (will remain for 43 years)

Reorganization of churches within the Lebanon Classis



Bell presented



June 3- New organ is dedicated at this day's service ($300).

Organist Benneville Hemmig



Congregation votes to remodel church ($650)

The Church Aid Society Formed. Voted to use funds for organ ($300)

Benjamin Hemmig- Resigned Church Organist; Succeeded by Martin Fritch (son of Rev. M.L. Fritch)



June 1- First part of cemetery purchased (Welsh Mountain Road)



People saw need for electrical lights rather than coal oil or kerosene lamps ($9.42)

Lights installed ($119.48)

First missionary collection



Growth Year

New Front Tower ($3,475)

Building Committee: Enos Messner, John Matz, Howard Ruth


Shillington organized as a borough



Building fund ‘Aid Society' started -- Extensive Building Renovations

Honored Rev Kershner upon the 30 th anniversary of ordination



Ladies Bible Class, Men's Bible Class

Congregation purchased a new Austin Organ

Extension built onto the church for organ blowers ($2800)



Additional cemetery land purchased.

Main auditorium remodeled and basement excavated.



December- Construction to remodel main auditorium and excavate basement ($11,456) Mr. John Matz is instrumental in these improvements.



January- Dedication of Immanuel Reformed Church

Approved radiators for under choir seats, Remodeled auditorium & basement

June 26-Sunday School 50 th Anniversary

June 27- Service for Knights of Matta, Rev. Kershner final sermon, retires due to illness

June- Consistory appointed Mr. Van Devere to preach

September 20- Rev. Kershner died

St. Johns of Sinking Spring & Immanuel are combined into one charge. Consider 40 applicants for minister.

Membership - 300


Rev. Kershner's death left a vacancy in 4 churches: Hain's Wernersville, Yocum's Grill, St. John's Sinking Spring, and Immanuel Shillington. Reorganization of churches within the Lebanon Classis was considered. St. John's Sinking Spring combined with Immanuel. (Sinking Spring – Shillington Charge)



February 20- Rev. Thomas W. Rhoades preached trial sermon- typhoid fever quarantine and bad weather postpones vote- preached at St. Johns and Immanuel

March 13 Rev. T. Rhoads returns to preach; March 20- elected pastor; May 1- Began to serve Immanuel

First action of consistory and pastor was to purchase Mohn property at New Holland Ave & Washington Sts. ($2050)

Outdoor bulletin board; Choir appreciation banquet; Gas installed in kitchen; Bi-monthly newsletter (The Pastor's Assistant)



Pastor's salary grew from $1000 to $1200



January 21- Vote (31.3) to build a parsonage at Chestnut & Broad Streets, Shillington Heights. Land and much of building material donated. Total cost $13,500

John Matz donated land – kept secret many years



Sponsored Boy Scout Group – Fritz Miller

Sponsored Girl Scout Group – Gounder



Immanuel experienced lean years due to the pinch of the depression.

Change in the system of receiving the church's finances when it was decided to purchase ‘duplex' envelopes.

A portable building was acquired from the Shillington schools to meet the overcrowded conditions in the main Sunday School building.

May 28- land was purchased for Part B of the cemetery. Cemetery board: Thomas Rhoads, George Hain, George Matz, John Matz, and William Ruth



Junior building added



Accepted resignation of organist. Changed locks on choir cloak room. Complaints about him steeling from the church.

Ray C. Evans appointed as organist.

October – Sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the church – celebration.

October – After 60 years of serving communion at the altar, the larger attendance called for a more efficient system – was the start of pew communion.


June 26 - In Cleveland Ohio, the Reformed Church in the United States and the Evangelical Synod of North America were united to form the Evangelical and Reformed Church.



A new heating system was installed in the Junior department building ($118)



May 2 – 10 th Anniversary of Rev. T. Rhoads at Immanuel



October 9- It is announced that Immanuel's indebtedness has been liquidated. At the end of this year with all salaries and bills fully met, the treasury balance is $115.51.

October 23 - Note Burning Service was held



May – A motion to begin a new Church Building Program was met with mixed emotions; some feeling the time was right and others not willing to tackle such a large project so soon after paying the long lingering church debt. However a building committee was organized.



September- Chimes for organ dedicated. Purchased by adult Sunday School

Since the merger in 1934 the church was referred to as Immanuel Reformed Church; consistory decided to change the charter and start new name. The charter wasn't changed but new name was used – Immanuel Evangelical and Reformed Church.

At the close of 1940 – Building fund had a balance of $1,893.19.



In spite of the many young members of the church leaving for service, there was an increased enrollment of new members.





By the end of 1942 the Building Fund was $10,025


By the end of 1943 the Building Fund was $15,000 – most of which had been invested in Defense Bonds.



April 9- Consistory holds first discussions relating to the construction of a new worship facility

Blane Fister – first son of congregation to go to seminary



September 17- Consistory meets at corner of Waverly & Lancaster Ave for the purpose of staking-off land desired for new church facilities. Letter sent to County Commissioners for appraisal of land. No deal is made.



May 4- 20 th Anniversary of Rev. T. Rhoads at Immanuel



September- Chimes for organ dedicated. Purchased by adult Sunday School



Ray C. Evans resigned as organist, due to ill health.

Carl Seltzer, then organist at St. John's Church Sinking Spring was elected to succeed Evans. He also continued as organist at St. John's.

By the end of 1951 the balance in the Church Building Fund had reached $73,050.



Seltzer resigned organist duties in Shillington. Mildred Gabriel Moyer elected organist and choir director.

December 17- Land for construction of new church facilities is purchased from Marshall Hughes. By the end of the year, a great deal of sentiment circulated concerning the possible division of the Sinking Spring-Shillington Charge into separate, self-supporting parishes.

Purchase of the church site and additional land for the cemetery reduced the building fund to $68,550.

May 4- 25 th Anniversary of Rev. T. Rhoads at Immanuel



May 1- Division of charge takes place and Immanuel is officially separated from St. Johns. This split was desired by Immanuel for several years – The Reading Synod had been petitioned to divide the charge 5 months earlier. Both churches wished to retain.

July 1- Rev. T. Rhoads decided to accept the offer to be Immanuel's Pastor. 

The land is sold to GM School District for new high school; for $16,000. And new plot is bought for $16,000.

Governor Mifflin School District formed


June 5- Robert I. Rhoads is ordained as Minister of the gospel at a special service

September 12- Muhlenberg Bros. are hired as architects for new church facility.

November 21- Consistory decides to act as the building committee with J. Woodrow Savage and Luther Hantz appointed as co-chairmen of the committee.



March 3- Special Congregational meeting to examine and approve drawings of the proposed interior and exterior of the new church. Drawings were presented by Lee Seibert of Muhlenberg Brothers architects.

March 19- Congregation authorizes purchase of “Bichel Property”. The plot of land adjoining the new church building site ($4,300) the parking lot.

November 3- Congregation authorizes consistory to spend $525,000 for building of a church, church school building, and a social hall.

November 18- Application is made for a construction loan of $225,000 and a mortgage of $150,000 @ 4%.

December 1- Groundbreaking services for new church.



September 14- Cornerstone services for new church building are held with Rev. Dr. Paul Shinghoff, President of Reading Synod. The service begins at old church, continues as congregation moves ‘down the hill' to the new construction site, where the worship celebration is concluded with the laying of the cornerstone. Articles placed in cornerstone.

December 29 - Fairview Cemetery incorporated.



March 8- Dedication of new church and facilities. Presentation of keys. Rev. T. Rhoads message.

78 new members (21 confirmation, 16 reprofession, 41 transfer)

28 lost members (8 death, 12 transfer, 8 erasure)

52 baptisms, 10 weddings, 30 funerals

Church school enrollment is 850 with average attendance 452.

Youth choir and youth fellowship float in the Religious Parade

March – Acolyte training program began



July 25- Consistory passes motion to call Rev. Robert I. Rhoads as Associate Pastor.

September 11- Call extended to Rev. Robert I. Rhoades as associate pastor.

November 1- Rev. Robert Rhoads accepts call and begins his duties at Immanuel; November 6 he is installed as Associate Pastor.



Mildred Moyer retires as Choir Director

September 21- Mr. Ronald I. Fredriksen called as Minister of Music. This post was created to include organist and choir director of all 4 choirs.

May 6- 35 th Anniversary of Rev. T. Rhoads at Immanuel


Dedication services held for new Austin pope organ ($32,000) and a recital is presented in afternoon.

Membership 1,518



April 30- 40 th Anniversary of Rev. T. Rhoads at Immanuel; Congregation presented a 3-week tour of Central Europe

Membership 1,521



Immanuel Choirs made a musical recording.

June 15- Special meeting congregation votes to call first Director of Christian Ed

September 14- Rev. T. Rhoads retires from full-time service, Pastor Emeritus

October 1- Rev. R. Rhoads installed as Senior Pastor.

December- Doris E. Barthold begins her duties as Director of Christian Ed

Mortgage burned – church debt free



Mrs. Betty Kramer is hired as a full-time secretary, succeeding Mrs. Jack Gounder.



March 4- Ron Fredericksen resigns as organist & Minister of Music; Ira Ruth & Jane Ludwig to serve as interim organist.

May 17- J. Richard Smoker called as Minister of Music

June 11- George Tyson, the 3 rd son of Immanuel to enter the ministry is ordained. Leaves to serve two churches in Milbridge, Maine



May 12- A family breakfast is held to celebrate Mother's Day. Lillie Foster sings delightful medley of spirituals.

June 16 50 th anniversary of Rev. T. Rhoads Ordination

October 13- Celebration of first 100 years of Immanuel



February- Began using new (Red) hymnals

June 8- Rev. Merlin Getz - Installation as Minister of Education

Elsie Sheetz came from Sinking Spring – Parsonage

Mrs. Doris Barthold McCoy resigns as Director of Christian Ed.



Upright piano is purchased for use in Sanctuary

June- Sunday before July 4 th dress-up for worship

July 4- Ecumenical worship at one of the schools


Nation's Bicentennial



May 8- 50 th anniversary of Rev. Thomas Rhoads at Immanuel



Carillon purchased – by Elsie Sheetz

Lenten Cross (yeard) from Ardell Schock in memory of Bob

Jeff Erb – Son of Immanuel is ordained into ministry

Rev Merlin Getz resigns as Minister of Education to become asst to Conference minister, PA SE Conference



Communion Veil; Pastor's Vestments and Alvs; Hand Bells; Hand Bell Accessories

Rev Robert Rhoads awarded Dr. of Ministry

September 30 – Rev. Robert Stewart installation as Assistant Pastor



Blue Advent Parament and Stoles; Communion Sets, Flower Pedestals, Aisle Candelabra; Common Table and Candle Sticks

Installed Common Table away from the wall

August 15 – Rev. Robert Stewart resigned

Robert Wolfe, licensed lay preacher hired with staff responsibilities of stewardship and Christian Ed.

Mr. Leonard Shearer, Treasurer and Finance chairman resigns (30+ years).

Michael Snyder assumes position of Treasurer

June 1 - 25 th Anniversary of Rev. Robert Rhoads at Immanuel

Study of Confirmation process; inception of adult sponsors for each confirmand.



Flag Assembly – American and Christian Flag



Handbell Vestments


Warren Kegerise is hired as sexton.



Pony Express stewardship campaign under direction of Jean Krause has Immanuel galloping ahead. Record $45,625 benevolent giving is set.

Seminarian Jennifer Keiser begins her work with Christian Ed and Youth programs

$40,000 is spent on a much needed new roof and repairs of interior damage.



May 20 – Rev. John Fureman – Installation as Pastor of Parish Life

June 3 - 60th Anniversary of Rev. Thomas Rhoads at Immanuel



Preschool started – Jane Henderson

Pew cushions

June 16 –Rev. Jennifer Keiser – Installation as Pastor of Education and Youth Ministries

Roof loan paid



A second Worship service is added – 8AM



Choir chimers added – first choir 10 young people



April 3 – Rev. John Fureman - Resigned



Betty Kramer retires as Church Secretary

Carol Rhoads hired as Church Secretary

May 26 - 65 th Anniversary of Rev. Thomas Rhoads at Immanuel



January 26 - Rev. Thomas Rhoads dies; January 29 Memorial service



Ramps and Restrooms – ADA

June 21- J. Richard Smoker 20 th anniversary celebrated Dr. Brian Wren writes a special hymn in his honor

A new rank (61 pipes) added to the organ – Gift from Mr & Mrs Robert Lilarose

April 25 – Rev. Jennifer (Keiser) Knighton - Resigned



March 21 - Rev. Helen Cochrane Installation

November 14 – Rev. Dr. Fredrick Schwerdt – Installation as Associate Pastor for Parish Life



Jennifer (Laws) Kershner resigned as Assistant Organist

November- Rev. Helen Cochrane - Resigned



J. Richard Smoker – Semi-Retirement – retains position of Adult Choir Director and Organist

Kim Nelson – assumes responsibility of Children's Choirs and Bell Choir

New UCC Hymnals (black)

November 26 - 35 th Anniversary of Rev. Dr. Robert Rhoads at Immanuel

December 31 – Rev. Dr. Robert Rhoads Retired, Pastor Emeritus



Orff Instruments – Memorial from Mary Hoyer in honor of Helen Rosenberger

February 4 – Rev. Dr. Fredrick Schwerdt – Installation as Senior Pastor

April 14 – Rev. Glenn Danz – Installation as Associate Pastor for Parish Life

September 22 – Rev. Alice Anderman – Installation as Associate Pastor for Christian Education



Carol Rhoads Office Administrator; Jill Starr Administrative Assistant 
Janet Myers Director Immanuel Preschool

Benjamin Motz, Seminarian

Warren Kegerise Sexton, Larry Steffanic Custodian, Judy Reinert Housekeeper, Rosemary Buchanan Housekeeper

Rev. Alice Anderman – resigned as Associate Pastor for Christian Education web site commissioned.



Jennifer (Laws) Kershner Cherub Choir

Rev. R. Tiff Bates called as Associate Pastor for Christian Education



‘Gift of the Arts' music series begins

Rev. Glenn Danz resigned as Associate Pastor for Parish Life

Rev. Sharon S. Morris called to serve as Associate Pastor for Parish Life.

18 paid staff, including preschool staff.

Congregation began planning for a major building and renovation program



December 10 – Yamaha grand piano dedicated for use in the sanctuary

David Kratz, Youth Director

Church's Mission Statement: The mission of Immanuel United Church of Christ entering the new millennium is to be a gateway to G.O.D. (standing for Growth, Outreach, and Diversity).



Jill Starr resigned as Administrative Assistant

May – Kathy Arnold hired as Financial Secretary

July – J. Richard Smoker retires as Minister of Music after 30 years of service

August – David McConnell welcomed as new Minister of Music



June – Rev Tiff Bates resigned as Associate Pastor of Christian Education

Mrs. Candi Cain-Borgman student pastor - hired



Mrs. Candi Cain-Borgman student pastor - left

June 15 – Rev Mathew Ellis called as Associate Pastor of Christian Education



Robes (Red) purchased for adult choir – Diane and Randy Thuss

August – Rev Jill Snivley resigned as part-time Associate Pastor of Parish Life

October – Rev Megan Huesgen called as Associate Pastor of Parish Life



February – Rev. Matthew Ellis resigned as Associate Pastor of Christian Education

April – Carol Rhoads retires from position as Church Secretary

Sue McCoy accepted position of Director of Youth

Eileen Kaley accepted position of Director of Church School



February – Rev. Dr. Alfred (Fred) Schwerdt retired

Rev Byron D. Leasure called as Interim Senior Pastor

Mr Roger Ulrich, Student Pastor - hired

Vicki Guilliams hired as part time secretary



Sue McCoy resigns as Director of Youth

Mr Roger Ulrich, Student Pastor - left

Rev Byron D. Leasure completed his tenure as Interim Pastor

Rev Carey Miller server for three months as Interim Pastor.

Mr Dennis Shappell, Student Pastor - hired

Mary Alice Waltz began as part-time secretary

Rev Dale Davis elected as next Pastor of Immanuel and began service on 25 Nov 2008

"Spreading God's love by learning together, growing spiritually, and serving others." ~ Join us at Immanuel UCC