In 1849, approximately thirty members withdrew from Second Lutheran Church in Chambersburg. Led by Pastor G. M. Mertz, they formed an independent congregation and erected a church building on Lincoln Way East, across from the Chambersburg Post Office. They were German-speaking persons and former members of the German Reformed Church.
In 1855, the congregation became a part of the Reformed Church in the United States and became known officially as St. John’s Reformed Church. German was still the spoken language, and in the 1880’s this became an issue for the small, struggling congregation (of only 64 members). Their children, who spoke English at school and with their friends, balked at speaking German in Church and were threatening to leave the congregation. Therefore, in 1885, with the calling of a new pastor, the congregation voted to conduct all services in English. In a little more than a year, the congregation doubled in membership and in 1894 a new church building was erected on the site of their former building.
In 1934, St. John’s became known as St. John’s Evangelical and Reformed Church when the Reformed Church in the United States merged with the Evangelical Synod of North America to form the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
In 1949, as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the founding of the church, St. John’s Camp was established in Metal Township near Cowan’s Gap State Park. Since then, thousands of boys and girls have enjoyed the camping experience offered at St. John’s Camp.
When the Evangelical and Reformed Church merged with the Congregational-Christian Churches to form the United Church of Christ in 1957, St. John’s became known as St. John’s United Church of Christ.
In 1963, St. John’s moved to its present location at 1811 Lincoln Way East, Chambersburg, PA after erecting a church complex at a cost of approximately $850,000.
In 1999, St. John’s United Church of Christ celebrated its 150th Anniversary. Today, the staff and more than seven hundred members of St. John’s are committed to continuing to build on their strong tradition of serving the congregation and the community, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
St. John’s United Church of Christ
1811 Lincoln Way East
Chambersburg, PA 17202-3390
Office Hours: 9 am – 3 pm, M – F