Origin & Rise of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ at Lebanon and Vicinity

From: "History of the East Pennsylvania Conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ" by Phares Brubaker Gibble - Copyright, 1951 The Otterbein Press, Dayton, Ohio

All but one of the ORIGINAL reformers (leaders in the United Brethren movement) were of the Mennonite Order and Mennonite Reformers. One had Moravian Background.

Reasons for chartering new group: Differing positions on Doctrine and Practice

In the beginning, families were grouped, and one of the first of such groups were "The United Brethren Shueys of Lebanon Country".

An Amish brethren (Abraham Draksel) settled in the Ebenezer area and preached AGAINST their rigid OUTWARD rules, forms or ordinances, and encouraged INNER peace and joy. He offended the strict Amish who tried to silence him. They did not succeed and he became associated with the United Brethren and labored 43 years.

Light's Meeting House was erected in 1817 (by Trustees of the Mennonist Society).

Shirk's Union Meeting House was erected in 1825.

The First Salem Church in Lebanon was built in 1845.

"It is evident that out of the soul of the Mennonite Reformation grew the Society known by the name (Allgemeinem) or United Brethren In Christ". In 1817 it changed from "Universal, Impartial or Unparteiischen (Unsectarian) Mennonites" to complete adherence to the United Brethren. It was a gradual change and little noted of noticed.

Ebenezer grew out of Lebanon Congregation was heavy enough for the preacher in change, and the care of the rural CLASSES was largely in the hands of local preacher, answerable to Salem quarterly.

One of these RURAL CLASSES was know as the '' Blauch' s Class" This class met in the homes of the community, which in time was called "Ebenezer". It was in existence as early as 1854.

A board of trustees, consisting of Joseph T. Light. Jacob I Light. Josiah Meyer. Daniel w. Zeller and Henry Blouch was constituted for the Ebenezer Class.

Under the trusteeship of these men, a brick church, costing about $5.000 was erected in 1871 in the village of Ebenezer. Minor improvements were made on this building from time to time.

The Lebanon Circuit, comprosed of Ebenezer and Kochenderfer's churches, erected a parsonage in 1928, which was dedicated by Dr. S. C. Enck, Conference Superintendent, July 28, 1929. It is a commodious 2.5 story brick building, located on the Lebanon-Ebenezer road. It cost $6538.21. When, soon afterward, the two churches, by conference action, were constituted as separate charges, it it bacame property ot the Ebenezer Church.

In 1932 additional Sunday School rooms were provided and furnished with new chairs and tables for Primary and Junior children. A new piano was purchase and a new heating plant was installed, all at a cost of $2,200.

In 1939 MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS were made in the Church New pews, carpet and light fixtures were placed, the walls were redecoated, and a Moller Pipe Organ was installed, totalling a dedicated, Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939.

In 1949 a new Bullentin Board was erected outside in front of the Church at a cost of $184.00. Also a New Nursery Department was added in the basement at a cost of $300.00.

In 1959 the Church was painted on the interior and exterior, floors sanded, pews cleaned, carpet cleaned, tool shed built, caedar closets provided for choir gowns, two new pianos, two new doors, folding doors, cabinets purchased for supplies. Nursery, Children's and Youth rooms painted, new roof on building, parking lot enlarged, all at an approximate cost of $6,000.

In 1969 - 70 MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS were made in the basement (Sunday School rooms), mainly painting, floors fixed and new tile and rug, side paneling, new electrical fixtures, etc., all at an approximate cost of $7.590.23.

In 1970 - 71 New furniture was bought for the Nursery and Primary Sunday School rooms in the basement for the cost of $1,026.10.

In 1971 New Church Hymnals (United Methodists) were bought for the cost $600.00 (These will be paid by donations of members and friends).


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