HISTORIC TIMELINE OF STEHMAN MEMORIAL CHURCH
1857- Stehman Memorial Church had its beginning in the heart and mind of a great evangelist and preacher, Rev. John Stehman. Father Stehman and his wife, Anna Herr Stehman, came under the spell of the evangelistic movement in a preaching service held in the home of Benjamin Herr, now occupied by Dave Frey and family, about the year 1839. This resulted in the formation of our church and the building of a house of worship on the northwestern corner of our present cemetery.
Anna (Nancy was her given name )Herr Stehman had inherited a share of her father’s estate, a farm of 136 acres. It was from this property that she and her husband, John Stehman, transferred one-fourth acre for the sum of one dollar to the trustees of the United Brethren in Christ Church. The Trustees were John Huber and Jonas Garber of the Mountville Church, and John Binkley. The deed was dated August 1, 1859 and stated specifically that a brick church had already been built upon the ground sold. Benjamin Baer was the superintendent. At first there were no musical instruments in the church, but a few years later an organ was purchased. Annie Baer, daughter of the Superintendent, was the organist for several years. Father Stehman’s pulpit chair has a prominent place in the present sanctuary.
1896- The church continued to grow until larger facilities were needed. On March 2. 1896, a building committee was organized. Rev. S. G. Kauffman, President; A. B. Witmer Secretary; William Sneath; Isaiah Hess; Trustees H. R. Witmer, Z. R. Witmer, Jacob Newcomer, Benjamin Baer and David F. Binkley. At a Quarterly Conference held in the church March 28, 1896, the building of a new church was authorized. In this same year the sanctuary was built at a cost of $3,000 and dedicated December 13, 1896, by Rev. J. C. Kephart.
1909- In 1909 a “tieing shed” large enough to accommodate 20 teams was authorized at a cost of $600.
1913- A vestibule and bell tower were added to this building in 1913, during the pastorate of Rev. Martin Groff. The church bell was a gift by Mrs. Mary Ann Keeport in memory of her husband, Christian Book Keeport, herself and their son Miles Binkley Keeport. The church was also painted this year and a beautiful oil painting of Christ in the garden was placed in the recess.
1917- The Home Department was organized, with Bertha Witmer, Lizzie Miller and Minnie Baker named for visitation. It was organized to keep in touch with the elderly members who could not come to church.
1921- The Women’s Missionary Society was organized. The Ladies’ Aid was a part of the Missionary Society until 1946 when it was made an organization of its own. Some years later, it branched out as a community organization and was no longer affiliated with Stehman’s Church.
1923- The parsonage building project was authorized by the Quarterly Conference during the pastorate of Rev. G. W. Hess, who served as President of the building committee. Other members of the committee were: E. O. Sneath, Vice-President; Charles M. Witmer, Secretary; A. B. Witmer, Treasurer; C. H. Eshelman, builder; John T. Denlinger, Elmer W. Walk and George F. Baker. The land, a one-half acre tract, was donated by Mr. & Mrs. E. O. Sneath, members of the church. Ground was broken on Ascension Day, May 10, 1923. The parsonage was completed June 21, 1924, at a valuation of $8,000; much of the labor having been contributed by members of the church. It was dedicated June 22, 1924, by Rev. A. K. Wier, D. D.
1926- Four acres of ground adjoining the original property was purchased on which was built a band stand and pavilion, including a kitchen. A building which serves as a garage and storage facility had previously been erected. A large space has been reserved for parking purposes. The remainder of this acreage has been planted with a large variety of trees resulting in a beautiful grove. This made a very attractive setting for church buildings. Rev. J. C. Deitzler was pastor.
1927- The pavilion in the grove was dedicated when Rev. M. B. Groff was pastor. The Otterbein Guild was formed by Gertrude Urban with the following officers: Myrtle Walk, President; Bertha Stigelman, Vice-President; Anna Gerlach, Secretary; Kathryn Glick, Treasurer; Margie Walk, Secretary of Literature; Miriam Glick, Thank-Offering Secretary; Gertrude Urban, Patroness. A Delco lighting plant was installed to provide lighting to all the church buildings including the parsonage.
1932- Stehman’s observed the 75th anniversary of the founding of the church when Rev. William E. Sherriff was Pastor
1946- 50th anniversary observed of the 1896 sanctuary, Rev. W. Etter, Pastor. The United Brethren and Evangelical Churches united to become the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
1955- Ground breaking and dedication of the Education building, with the following serving on the building committee: Edgar Kauffman, Chairman; Clayton Sangrey, Charles Witmer, Willis Binkley, Harold Sangrey, Aldus Myer, Rev. Herbert R. Blouch, Pastor. The ground was broken Sunday, March 20, 1955. The cornerstone was laid on May 29, 1955, and the dedication service was held on October 30, 955. Bishop George E. Epp, Bishop of the Eastern area of our church presided.. It is a well-planned building, 37 by 72 feet and cost approximately $68,000.
1957- Observance of the Centennial anniversary with a week of services, November 24 to December 1. Rev. William E. Sherriff, Pastor.
1968- The Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist Churches united to become the United Methodist Church.
1969- The Administrative Board served as the building committee to renovate the sanctuary and connect the Education building to the Church building Rev. Edward Uhler was Pastor. Willis Binkley was Chairman.
1972- Commissioning Service for Donald and Norma Toland, missionaries to Papua, NewGuinea.
1974- Commissioning Service for Glenn and Lola Porter, missionaries to Colombia, South America.
1982- Observance of the 125th anniversary of Stehman’s Church with various services from September 12-19. Rev. Ira C. Fortna, Pastor
1983- Plot of ground purchased to be used for playground, future ball field and parking lot.
1984- Water fountain installed in the hall of the Church.
1989- Ramps were installed outside of the Church.
1991- Blinds were placed in the windows in the sanctuary. A sound system and a sound room were installed.
1992- The current Fellowship Hall and kitchen were built under the narthex of the Church.