Church History

In the year that Davidsville was founded, 1831, a young man, Peter Rizer enrolled in his last year at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.

The next spring, as part of his examination for approval to be a Lutheran licensed preacher, Rizer made a public address on the subject, "The Moral and Intellectual Qualifications of a Gospel Minister."

He later was ordained, and after serving a parish in Maryland, became a missionary to the Cherokee Indians in South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia, translating Christian hymns into their language as well as parts of the Bible.

In 1835, David Stutzman, the founder of Davidsville, deeded property to serve as a location for a cemetery and a school. Soon a log building was erected for church and school purposes. The Davidsville Lutheran Church was organized in 1839 by those faithful pioneers who built the sturdy foundations of this congregation in that old log cabin school house, now so dear in the hearts of their descendants.

Much praise is due Rev. Rizer, who as a faithful servant of Him, led his faithful congregation, into an old school house where the worshiped until 1845. The plot of ground upon which the church stands was a gift of Isaac Kaufman, a large land holder of the Amish faith, here at that time.

The cornerstone was laid in 1853 by J.K. Miller of Stoystown. The following year the church was dedicated. The pastor, Rev. J.K. Bricker, was assisted by Rev. A. Babb of Somerset. The building committee was Henry Unban, Samuel Livingstone, Daniel Border, Samuel Border, and Josiah Swank, whose pious and hard labor brought the venture to a successful conclusion.

(1903 -1965)

No change was made in the church building until the early nineties when during the ministry of Rev. A.B. Erhard the church was remodeled at a cost of $400. About this same time a parsonage was built in Davidsville at a cost of $1,700.

In the year 1903, during the pastorate of Rev. C.M. Wachter, the present church was built at a cost of $3,000. The church was dedicated August 16, 1903. The building occupies the site of the former structure, is 40 by 50 feet, with tower, colored glass, Gothic windows, and a seating capacity of 450.

The next building operation on the part of the congregation took place while Rev. D.W. Lecrone was pastor. It consisted of an alcove for the pulpit and a rostrum extending across the front of the church.

A rapidly growing Sunday School, and better facilities for the teaching of His Word, prompted the congregation to vote favorably on a plan to build a new Sunday School, and later when the congregation felt financially able, the sanctuary was added and the entire structure was completed.

(1965- Present)

In 1965 the emotions of the congregation were mixed; excitement over the prospect of having a new building and disappointments among some of the close congregational votes on relocation.

To put things first, Pastor Gotwald did a lot of listening to the peoples' hurts and hopes on both sides of the equation. Within the first year he had visited almost every home.

St. David's Congregation broke ground for their new church building on February, 28, 1965. The Summer, Fall and Winter which followed was a time of many council meetings which supervised the building of the new church. Unofficial building superintendents met on the site every Sunday afternoon to see that everything was done right.

In the Spring the old church was slowly divested of its furnishings. The old building, having served them sixty-three years, was then sold to Cable Plumbing and Heating with the stipulation that its church like features be removed, namely its stained glass windows, bell tower and trees.

On Palm Sunday 1966, a leave-taking service was held in the old church, the congregation was standing since the pews had also been sold. Then they marched up the Main Street to use their new edifice for worship for the first time. The following Sunday, Easter Sunday (April 10, 1966), the new church was dedicated.

The "Bell Tower" was erected as part of the 150th Celebration of St. David's Lutheran Church. The bell from the existing church (1903) was removed from the tower of the old church and placed outside the new church near the Boiler Room entrance. There it sat awaiting a tower for 23 years.

With the oncoming of the 150 anniversary, the presented project was supported and planned. Finally, the joyous bell once again could be heard throughout the village of Davidsville with its new bell tower. It was dedicated on April 2, 1989. Speakers were: Sara Williamson, Chairperson Bell Tower Committee, Jack Winters, President Church Council, and Lee Williamson, 150th Committee Chairman.

In 2000 St. David's began the process toward rebuilding the church organ with the recognition of its signs of wear and focusing on challenges inherent to the length of the building and the position of the choir. Joseph Rulli, organ builder and long time tuner and repairer of our organ, met with members of the St. David's staff, church council, and the Pastor to appraise the needs and solidify a plan. A successful capital campaign raised the necessary funds for the project. St. David's now has a magnificent free standing instrument against the stone wall in the front center directly behind the choir area. A similar case design was constructed for the back wall to house the antiphonal division and festival trumpets. The organ consists of 1325 individual pipes divided into 21 ranks which are playable through 48 actual stops. The organ was dedicated during worship on October 3, 2004. Two recitals were offered to the glory of God, one on October 3rd by Jeffery R. Pannebaker and on October 17th by Jeremy Rush.

The rebuilding of the organ gave impetus to a chancel renewal project that was completed in the spring of 2004. The chancel renewal took into consideration accessibility issues and temperature control while enhancing the worship of the congregation. A new altar, altar rail, ambo and baptismal font were among the changes made to the chancel area. New seating for the choir was added as well as modifications to the pews in the center rows to allow for easy access for wheel chairs. Air conditioning was also added to aid in climate control. Much of the work on the chancel renovations was completed by members of the congregation in conjunction with local contractors. The renovated chancel was dedicated during worship on Palm Sunday, April 4, 2004.

In September 2003, St. David's increased its staff by calling its first Associate in Ministry. An Associate in Ministry is a rostered ministry of the ELCA. Nancy Wagner was called as an Associate in Ministry to be the Director of Learning Ministry and Youth and Children's Ministry. This new position reinforced the congregation's commitment to it's mission to "pass on the light to our children and to future generations."

December of 2004 saw the retirement of Pastor Ilgenfritz. His faithful ministry of almost 10 years was one of compassion and strong leadership. Under his pastorate the congregation of St. David's grew as we expanded our ministry and enhanced our worship facilities. The work and ministry of our congregation continues as we seek to do God's will in this time and place.

PASTORS THAT SERVED AT THE DAVIDSVILLE CHURCH

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Saturday Worship 5:30 PM
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Sunday School: 9:15 AM
Sunday Worship: 10:30 AM