The congregation of St. John’s Church, Woodsboro, traces its founding to May 7 and 8, 1747. On those days, the Rev Michael Schlatter came to this area and baptized 26 children and gave communion to 86. The Rev. Schlatter was Swiss-born. Dutch-educated and was sent to the New World in 1746 to organize the German Reformed settlers who were scattered throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.
According to the writings of Rev. Schlatter, he came to the village of Monocacy on May 7, 1747. The exact location of Monocacy is still unknown, but is believed to be just south of the present day Woodsboro-Creagerstown Road bridge. The first church in the settlement was erected in 1734 by Lutherans and was known as “The Church of the Monocacy.” In the first years regular pastors were not used for services. Instead, the village schoolmaster led the singing, read printed sermons and gave religious instructions. After Rev. Michael Schlatter visited, the Church of the Monocacy, it became a “union church” shared by the Lutherans and Reformed.
Records from the Evangelical Reformed Church of Frederick state that the Rev. Carl Lange, pastor of the Evangelical Reformed Church from 1766 to 1768, preached, confirmed and administered the ordinances at Glade, Millerstown (Woodsboro) and Taneytown churches. The inference is that the congregations were organized during the preceding pastorate of the Rev. Phillip Otterbein, 1760 – 1765, who preached at “other places” but did not specify where. It is believed that Woodsboro was one of the “other places” (Note: Rev. Phillip Otterbein later left the Frederick Reformed Church an went to Baltimore and founded the Brethren Church.) After 1768 there is no record of the church in Woodsboro until 1802.
The cornerstone of the St. John’s Church was laid on April 9, 1802, by Henry Clantz, stone mason. The property was deeded from Adam Creager to the “trustees of the Lutheran and Presbyterian (Reformed) congregations.” (In the early years of the church, Reformed and Presbyterian were used synonymously.) The property lot known as #48 South Second Street was bought for five shillings. Act 35 of the Maryland legislature, dated December 31, 1803 gave the trustees authority to raise up to $2,000 by lottery to finish the union church which was presently under construction. The stone church which was completed in 1822, was 35’ x 45’ with a tower and spire in the front which served as a vestibule. The church was known as Solomon’s Church and was a Union Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed church.
On April 4, 1825, a constitution for the Evangelical Lutheran and reformed congregations (Solomon’s Church) was adopted in which it is said, “The church and the burying ground having been purchased, the price paid, as stated in the deed five shillings, built and consecrated to the services of God for the benefit of the Evangelical Lutherans and German Reformed residing in and about Woodsboro. It is hereby declared that the said property shall be forever the joint property of said Lutherans and Reformed and that each of the afore said denominations shall have equal rights with the other and no regulation or act of either shall be valid which could in any way deprive the other of its rights and privileges.
From 1855 to 1860 was a time of stormy history between the Lutheran and Reformed congregations. At a meeting of the joint councils on November 3, 1855, it was unanimously agreed that it was “absolutely necessary to tear down the church steeple in consequence of it giving away from the building.” There then arose a dispute between the congregations about whether to rebuild or repair the church. When the two councils met on April 4, 1860, the Lutherans offered to sell their interest in the church for five hundred dollars, reserving the right of the graveyard. On April 19, 1860, the Reformed council accepted the proposition of the Lutheran Council.
On February 9, 1892, the Glade Charge again divided and the Glade (Walkersville) and Woodsboro churches constituted a pastoral charge. Glade and St. John’s shared ministries until the charge was dissolved on September 30, 1983.
St. John’s United Church of Christ, Woodsboro meets regularly for worship at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday. Bible study and adult education offerings are scheduled at various times throughout the year. Members and friends of St. John’s UCC enjoy monthly fellowship activities for all ages.
The Reverend Sean DeLawder, Pastor Church Phone: 301-845-7703
“Whoever you are, wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!”
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