Sharon Lutheran Church History Timeline:
1771: Lutheran worship began in Selinsgrove on the Isle of Que. The Reverend Frederick Muhlenberg, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg’s son and the first Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, was the presiding minister.
1790: An organized congregation was founded called Sharon Union Church.
1800: A deed to the current property was received from Conrad Weiser, Jr.
1803: First church structure was the “old log” church, small 40 x 38 ft. with galleries on three sides and a pulpit on the west side.
1821: The Lutherans in Selinsgrove launched the first Sunday school in the region.
1840s: Lutheran worship in the church was driven by “New Methods” revivalism.
1843: Opponents of New Methods locked its proponents out of the building, including the pastor Reverend “Father” J.P. Shindel, who formed a new church called the Evangelical Lutheran Church and built a new structure down the block from Sharon Union Church.
1855: Members of the German Reformed Church stopped sharing space in the Sharon Union Church and withdrew to form St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.
1858: The first classes of the Missionary Institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, forerunner of Susquehanna University and the Susquehanna Female College, were held in the parlors of what will become Reverend Shindel’s Trinity Lutheran Church. It became the “mother-church” for these schools.
1884: The remaining Lutherans changed their name to First Lutheran Church and constructed a new edifice on the same site. It was larger than the original church, constructed of red brick with a pulpit on the west side and a spire on the southeast corner.
1885: The cemetery behind First Lutheran Church became the site of the Simon Snyder monument, honoring the local citizen who served as Pennsylvania’s Governor between 1809 and 1816.
1896: The new congregation started by Rev. Shindel officially settled on the name Trinity Lutheran Church.
1921: Discussions to merge Trinity Lutheran Church and First Lutheran Church began.
1970: Discussions ended to merge the two churches, and the merged congregation adopted the name Sharon Lutheran Church to recognize its founders and reconcile any remaining differences between the two bodies. Church services alternated between the two churches called the East Chapel and the West Chapel.
1977: The Nave (which is the central approach to the high altar) on the original site was demolished. The new Nave was enlarged and the pulpit shifted to the north side.
1979: The church renovations were completed. Since this time, the church has been renovated several more times to enhance its social and work spaces while also making it accessible to the handicapped.
What it looks like now: Above the altar is a wooden carving of the risen Christ done by craftsmen in Ortisei, Italy. The stained glass windows on the eastern side of the church depict the “I Am” statements of Christ and the glass panel separating the Nave from the Narthex (the entrance or lobby area, located at the end of the nave) depicts historical scenes of the congregation and local community. Attached to the Church on the west side is a large Sunday School building, a remnant of the First Lutheran structure.
During 2015 we are celebrating our 225th Anniversary with a variety of events.