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History of Georgetown, Connecticut Churches  

Included in this Georgetown Church History section is information I have gathered from many different historic documents, notes and articles. Sources include: articles by Wilbur F. Thompson, notes by Irene Baldwin and historic booklets published by several of the churches to name a few.

Please let me know if there are more areas you'd like me to explore or if you have further information. Contact bcolley@snet.net or phone me at 860-364-7475.

Quick Links to topics on this page:

The Baptist Society of Georgetown/Redding (1785-1849)
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Georgetown (1790 - Present)
The Methodist Protestant Church of Georgetown (1820 - 1875*)
The Georgetown Bible Church (1875*-Present)
Sacred Heart Church (1870 - Present)
Covenant (Swedish) Congregational Church (1889 - 1960's)
Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church (1900 - Present)

* Methodist Protestant Church Society and Georgetown Bible Church Society share a long, somewhat confusing history.

In 1729 the Congregational Church of Redding parish was organized, and in 1730 the first church built. The first settlers of what is now the village of Georgetown were members of the Redding church. The records of the Redding Congregational Church - of marriages, births and deaths - contain the names of well known families who settled in what is now the village of Georgetown - Batterson, Bennett, Banks, Byington, Bates, Coley, Darling, Gray, Godfrey, Hull, Hill, Lee, Meeker, Morgan, Mallory, Osborn, Olmstead, St. John, Rumsey - showing they were members or attendants of the Redding church.

With the success of the Gilbert and Bennett Wire Manufacturing Company a large, diverse, community grew in Georgetown: English, Irish, Italian, Swedish, Polish, Finnish, French (and I'm sure others) all came to call Georgetown home. To serve their equally diverse religious needs, many societies formed and found success in the village of Georgetown. Below are their histories as I've come to know them.

Baptist Society of Redding

The first church organization in what is now the village of Georgetown was known as the Baptist society in Redding. The exact date of its formation is not known. In the records of the Congregational Church in Redding is found this entry: "Dec. 9, 1785, Deacon John Lee gives certificates to Michael Wood, John Couch, Micah Starr, Jabez Wakeman, to the Baptist Church in Redding."

The older records of the Baptist Church have been lost, and only those dating from 1833 to 1849 are in existence and in possession of the Baptist Church of Danbury. In them we find that on Jan. 28, 1833, a society meeting was held at the home of Timothy Wakeman; voted to adjourn to our meeting house," showing that the Baptist Church in Georgetown had been built long before that late.

The church record gives the names of members from 1833 to 1849:

"Male members - Elias Andrews, Perry Andrews, William B. Beers, Sherman Beers, Harry Beers, Elezer Beers, Jonathan Betts, Mathew Bennett, Steven Buttery, Riley Buttery, George Grumman, Stephen Jones, Lorenzo Jones, Nathan Jones, Lewis Lobdell, Jasper Olmstead, Walter Olmstead, Sanford Olmstead, David Rowland, Edward Sherwood, Timothy Wakeman, Levi Wakeman, William Wakeman;

Female members - Mary Andrews, Eunice Bennett, Mary Bennett, Mary Beers, Delia Beers, Ann Beers, Rebecca Beers, Felecia Buttery, Betsy Coley, Sarah Coley, Eunice Coley, Eliza Dykman, Polly Edmunds, Esther Edmunds, Susan Godfrey, Anna Hawley, Anna Hull, Ruth Hull, Abigail Hodges, Mirinda Jelliff, Mary Jones, Mirah Jones, Ruth Morehouse, Esther Olmstead, Caroline Olmstead, Harriet Olmstead, Ellen Parsons, Mabel Rowland, Ellen Wakeman, Sarah Wakeman, Pelina Wakeman."

For many years it was a strong society, having the only church edifice in the village. The pastors on record were: In 1833, Elder S. Ambler was in charge; in 1834, Elder Steven Bray; in 1838, Rev. William Bower; in 1841, Rev. John Noyes; in 1843, Rev. George B. Crocker; in 1844, Rev. David Pease. The salary paid was $150 a year. From 1845 to 1849 there was no settled pastor.

The Baptist church was for many years the only meeting place the villagers had, and in it lectures on temperance and anti-slavery were given. At this period many in the north were in favor of slavery and the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions had many a debate. Georgetown was strongly anti-slavery and it is a historical fact that one of the first anti-slavery society in Connecticut was started in Georgetown in Oct. 1838.

Dr. Erasmus Hudson and Rev. Nathaniel Colver were appointed by the Anti-Slavery Society of Connecticut to lecture on slavery. On Nov. 16, 1838, a call was issued for an anti-slavery convention to be held in the Baptist Church in Gcorgetown. On Nov. 26, 1838 Messrs. Colver and Hulson addressed the meeting. But the opposition was so strong the meeting was adjourned until Nov. 27th. That evening the enemies of the movement broke up the meeting, and on the 28th of November the Baptist Church was blown up with gunpowder. A keg of gunpowder was placed under the pulpit. [So we see, church bombings are not new to our generation.]

On Dec. 4, 1838, the Georgetown Anti-Slavery Society was formed. President, Eben Hill; Secretary, William Wakeman; Treasurer, John C. St. John. Among those who were members of this Society were Sturges Bennett, Aaron Bennett, William Bennett, Sauruch Bennctt, Jonathan Betts, Alonzo Byington, Edwin Burchard, Walter Bates, Ezra Brown, Charles Cole, Benjamin Gilbert, William Gilbert, Matthew Gregory, Brad-ley Hill, Edmund Hurlbutt, John B. Hurlbutt, Aaron Jelliff, William Jelliff, Aaron Osborn, Gregory Osborn, Timothy Parsons, William Wakeman, Timothy Wakeman, and many others who years later became Republicans and voted for Abraham Lincoln.

In the old church record we find the following statements:

"Nov. 26, 1838, the Rev. Nathaniel Colver lectured in our meeting house on slavery, and was disturbed by unruly persons;

Nov. 27, 1836, another lecture, disturbed as before; horses tails "corn-cobbed"

Nov. 28, 1838, our meeting house blown up but not entirely destroyed;

Nov. 30, 1838, plan to collect money to repair our meeting house;

Dec. 8, 1838, Society meeting held at the house of Brother Timothy Wakeman; Deacon Elezer Beers was appointed to ferret out and prosecute any and all those who have been engaged in blowing up and damaging our meeting house."

[The census statistics of the United States show that slavery had dwindled in Connecticut at this time (1838). In 1790 there were 2,764 slaves in Connecticut, in 1840 there were 17, and by 1850 none.]

In Springfield, Mass., Hudson was in a business partnership that sold artificial legs. He was involved in the underground railroad and he took at least one fugitive slave with him on a speaking circuit through Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The record does not show that anyone was found out and prosecuted. There is a tradition that the blowing up of the church was done by some of its members who opposed the anti-slavery movement.

[The Norwalk Gazette Reported: High-handed Outrage!

We learn that Judge Lynch has been exercising his summary proceedings in this vicinity within the week past. Colver, the abolitionist lecturer, has been holding forth, as we understand, for a number of evenings, on the subject of immediate emancipation, in the Baptist church in Georgetown, and in the course of his lectures had taken occasion to exhibit before his audience the practical amalgamationism of the vice-president of the united states, the Hon. Richard M. Johnson. We are informed that he accused this distinguished personage of making merchandise of the offspring of his own loins, of selling his own sons and daughters into slavery. This so enraged some of his political partisans, that they determined to abolish the walls which had echoed the nefarious libel upon 'Dick, the Tecumseh Killer'

So, after the lecture was completed, a keg of gunpowder was deposited under the church which had been profaned by these abolition orgies- and about 2am on the 29th the church was blown 'sky-high' as John Randolph used to say. It was a small building of one story, and not worth much more than $500.

But notwithstanding the provocation, and notwithstanding the comparatively trifling amount of damage occasioned by this wanton outrage, we most sincerely depreciate the prevalence of a spirit which does violence to the dearest rights of every freeman in the land- the freedom of speech and opinion. We are no apologists for the intemperate and fanatic zeal of the abolitionists; but we deem it the duty of every press in the land to cry out against such violations of the Constitution and law.

And though we would denounce in the severest terms the exasperating conduct of the abolitionists, we would at the same time do our utmost to bring trespassers upon the rights which the Constitution guarantees to every citizen and the violators of the public peace, to condign punishment. ]

In the 1830's, the Methodist Episcopal and the Methodist Protestant societies built churches, and many who had been members and attendants of the Baptist church joined the other churches. This was a death blow to the old church. In the church record we find that on Sept. 11, 1847, "Church meeting was called and it was voted to disband, members free to join any church without certificates." A committee was appointed to hold meetings and Elias Andrews, William Wakeman and William S. Olmstead were the committee.

On Nov. 6, 1848, a church meeting was called and the old Baptist Church was reorganized, with the following male members: Elias Andrews, Perry Andrews, Elezer Beers, William B. Beers, Sherman Beers, Harry Beers, Sanford Olmstead, Nathan Jones, Timothy Wakeman, William Wakeman, Edward Sherwood; Brother Gardner was asked to preach once a month for $50 per year.

On Oct. 11, 1849, a society meeting was held and the officers for the coming year were appointed: Clerk, Sherman Beers; Treasurer, W. S. Olmstead; Collecter, Perry Andrews; Trustees, Elezer Beers, Timothy Wakeman, William B. Beers." This is the last entry in the old record as the church was disbanded in 1849.

The old church was a one-story edifice, clapboarded and un-painted; it was lighted by six windows glazed with 6x8 glass. There were two entrances on the east end of the building. The singers sat on a raised platform in the rear of the pulpit. In the evening services the room was lighted with candles and on the pulpit was a whale oil lamp. The church was heated in winter by a Franklin box stove stand-ing in the center of the room. New members who were received into the church were immersed in Timothy Wakeman's mill pond, which was a short distance from the church.

In 1848, a select school for young ladies was held in the old church. The school was taught by Miss Celestine Chambers. Her father came from Carbondale, Penn., to dig for coal in Georgetown. He was not successful. After opening up what was long known as the "Old Coal Mine" he returned to Carbondale. Among the pupils of the school were: Mary Bennett, Lucy Bennett, Adele Bassett, Eliza Gilbert, Mary A. Godfrey, Josephine Godfrey, Mary E. Taylor, Jane Taylor, Mary E. Scribner, Evelyn Weed, Isabelle Weed, and others. The tuition fee was 25 cents per week.

In 1848 the Gilbert & Bennett Co., intending to build a factory, bought of Timothy Wakeman his sawmill, with the mill rights and land, building a large factory. They also bought the old church, remodeling it into a dwelling. In 1875, the old church was torn down to make room for new buildings. Historian Wilbur F. Thompson, the author of this church history assisted in the remodeling. Thompson notes that: some of the timbers were found to be shattered by the explosion of 1838.

The Old Gilbert & Bennett Mfg. Co. office stands on the site of the old church, and great factory buildings cover the old church lot. The busy hum of traffic is now heard in place of the hymns and prayers of the villagers of long years ago. Many descend-ants of the members of the Old Baptist Church live in Norwalk, Wilton, Weston, Redding and Georgetown.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Georgetown

The first circuit organized in New England. by Jesse Lee was called the "Fairfield Circuit." It included roughly the area from Norwalk, east to Stratford and Milford, then north and west to Danbury and. Redding, and south again to Norwalk. The Georgetown class was formed in 1790. For many years this group met at various homes, for it had no regular place of worship.

In 1830, a small plain building was erected, and served for nearly thirty years as the Society increased in numbers. However, on March 15, 1857, it was voted, and pledges were made, to build a new house of worship. This building now stands, and with some alterations, houses the church today. By 1861, the Georgetown Charge had increased in prestige with its new church, and was taken out of the circuit and put in the New York East Annual Conference.

Joseph Pullman, a young preacher recently emigrated from his native land of Ireland, became the first settled Pastor in 1863.

This church has been called the Methodist Episcopal, and it is to this group that Wilbur Thompson's articles about the Old Pipe Organ and the Christmas Service relate.

In the 1850's and 60's very few of the churches had musical instruments, depending altogether on vocal music in the church services. The Methodist Church, Georgetown, had a good choir led by James Lobdell until he went to the front in 1862 with the 23rd Regiment. John Fayerweather was the next leader.

The Methodist Episcopal Society in Georgetown added a musical complement to its fine choir in 1864, when Ephraim Fitch asked John Fayerweather to sell the organ to him that he had bought of Widow McDougall. Fayerweather, thinking it would be a good chance for the Methodists to secure an organ, spoke to members of the choir, who favored buying it. As there was still strong opposition to instrumental music by some of the church members, it was not thought best for the church society to buy the organ, but to let individual members secure it. The price to be paid was $190. This amount was divided into five and ten dollar shares, which were taken by members and friends of the church. That is the way the first organ was bought.

The first organ was replaced sometime between 1896 and 1897 by a second organ. This organ was powered by a foot pump located at the back of the instrument and local children were hired to pump the organ during church services. This is known because one of those organ pumping youths was young Harry L. Colley. Mr. Colley has to chuckle when explaining that the job was rather tedious and boring, and to "spice things up a bit" the children would at times let the organ air pressure fall very low producing a low groaning pitch and then quickly pump it back up to full power causing the instrument to blast high pitched notes that would jolt church members back to full attention.

The first church organ: 1864; second church organ: 1896; third church organ: 1930's.

Partial List of Organists in the history of the church..no set order.

John Fayerweather, Dora Albin, Edith Davis, Ezra Bennett, Bertha Bennett, Hattie Bennett, William Bennett, Elsie Bennett, Fred Foster, Lottie Moore, Loie Fuller, William Smith, Hazel Smith.

The present United Methodist Church has a fine record and history to be proud of.

Interesting Facts

Building constructed in 1857 by Hiram and John O. St. John on a plot of land purchased from Hiram St. John. Hiram's house still stands on the corner of Church St. and North Main St. A beautiful example of the Italianate Architecture which was very popular in that time period.

The 1857 building had a very plain interior, only the chancel and pulpit were fully carpeted, the aisle was semi-carpeted with strips running the length of it. The pews were wooden, straight-backed and not all that comfortable. Two immense stoves provided heat throughout the building via piping which ran the length of the building and kerosene lamps illuminated the interior at night.

In the early 1860's, our country was in the midst of a great war, not with foreign nations, as we are today, but with people of our own blood and kindred. From homes all over the Northland, men had gone forth to battle for freedom. Georgetown (with other communities of our State) was learning of the hardships of war. In 1861, many men of the village had enlisted and gone to the front, and on Nov. 14, 1862, Co. E, 23rd Regiment, had been mustered into service and was on its way to the south with the Regiment.

The fall and early winter were days of anxious waiting and suspense. The 25th of November had not been a day of Thanksgiving, for in many homes the chair at the head of the table had been vacant. This fact, with the scarcity of money and the high cost of living, made the outlook for a merry Christmas very doubtful.

It had been the custom of the two churches of the village, Methodist Episcopal and Methodist Protestant, to hold Christmas services for the Sunday Schools connected with the churches. Some of the members of the churches thought it would be well to dispense with the Christmas services, while others did not want to give up the time-honored custom.

It was voted to hold a union service for the children, in the Methodist Episcopal church. Great preparations were made. The woods were searched for ground pine and other ever-greens, to trim the church. A great spruce tree was placed in one corner of the church, and a platform built out over the pulpit rail. The young people and children were rehearsed in the parts they were to take in the great event of the year.

On the evening of Dec. 24, the church was crowded with children and friends. The Christmas tree was brilliantly lit up with many candles and loaded with Christmas presents, cornucopias filled with candy, bags of popcorn, nuts and raisins. After prayer by the Rev. Samuel Keeler, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the exercises of the evening commenced to great success and was remembered for many years.

The Methodist Protestant Church

*To avoid confusion this history is the same as the Georgetown Bible Church history that follows this article. It took me about 6 yrs to sort all this out so I'll save you all the trouble.

1. Rev. William M. Stillwell, in 1820, organized a small class of persons in Georgetown, sharers in his peculiar ideas of church polity, but who still retained the name of Methodist, though called by their opponents Stillwellites.

2. In 1829 a convention was held and adopted the name of Methodist Protestant, and in 1839 the church at Georgetown was formally organized as the Methodist Protestant Church and Society of Wilton Circuit. Church building erected at this time (1839) across from South Church St. on the Old Mill Rd. side of the tracks. *At one time a road existed that linked Old Mill Road with South Church St. Now (2007) South Church St. is a dead end, but at this time South Church St. came all the way down the hill, headed toward the Norwalk River, crossed a bridge over the Norwalk River and connected with Old Mill Road.

3. The Methodist Protestants voted and approved on dissolving the connection which existed between the Methodist Protestant Society in Georgetown and the Methodist Protestant Conference in 1868,

4. It united with the local Congregational Association in 1875,

5. Changed in name from the Methodist Protestant Society to The Congregational Society of Georgetown in 1887,

6. Changed in name from the Congregational Society of Georgetown to Gilbert Memorial Congregational Church to honor Edwin Gilbert in 1902.

7. Became "independent of any denomination" in 1944. Even though it retained the name Gilbert Memorial Congregational Church. It was not a Congregational church. It was independant.

8. And finally it became the Georgetown Bible Church in 1964 and remains so today.

Now that is all cleared up...

The Methodist Protestant Church in Georgetown had its origin in a small schism in the Methodist Episcopal Church, commencing about 1818, in the New York Conference.

Among the ministers who seceded from the church at this time was the Rev. William M. Stillwell, who, in 1820, organized a small class of persons in Georgetown, sharers in his peculiar ideas of church polity, but who still retained the name of Methodist, though called by their opponents Stillwellites. In 1829 a convention was held and adopted the name of Methodist Protestant, and in 1839 the church at Georgetown was formally organized as the Methodist Protestant Church and Society of Wilton Circuit. The first members of the class, so far as can be ascertained, were Ebenezer Hill, Banks Sherwood, David Nichols, Isaac Osborne, and Benjamin Gilbert and wife. The first minister was Rev. William M. Stillwell. The first entry in the church records is as follows :

"The first Methodist Protestant church in Redding was organized in the year of our Lord 1839, on the 15th of the 9th month, at a regular warned meeting held at the house of Sturges Bennett. The following officers were chosen. David Nichols, chairman, John O. St. John, secretary. John O. St. John was duly elected clerk of said society, and the oath was administered by Walker Bates, Esq. John O. St. John was also elected Treasurer of said society."

Aaron Osborne was the first sexton. (He was to open the church thirty minutes before service, sweep the house, make the fires, and attend to the lights, for a yearly salary of $6.00).

The present house of worship had been built in 1839, prior to the organization of the church, by John O. St. John and Charles Scribner. For a number of years the church records show only the ordinary routine of business. In 1851, March 10th, a society's meeting passed the following resolutions: "Resolved, 1st: That we take into consideration the amount of damage sustained by the society, by the Danbury and Norwalk R. R. crossing the society's grounds near this house of worship and 2nd: That the assessment of damages by crossing the society's grounds be left to three men- one chosen by the trustees, one by the Rail Road contractors, and these two to choose a third. 3rd: That the trustees be instructed to hold the contractors or Rail Road Company responsible for all damage to the society's house of worship."

To these resolutions a meeting held December 27th, 1851, added the following :

"Resolved, by vote of this meeting that the society's committee be authorized to give by deed to the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad Company a right of way across said Society's ground, for the consideration of one hundred and fifty dollars." At a meeting held February 19th, 1853: "On motion S. M. Main and Hiram St. John, were appointed a committee to circulate a subscription to raise money to build a parsonage house." A meeting held November 17th, 1853, voted: "that the society's committee be authorized to circulate a subscription paper, to raise money to the amount of six hundred dollars for the purpose of purchasing Mr. Weed's house for a parsonage; and at a subsequent meeting held November 26th, the committee were authorized to purchase Mr. Weed's house so soon as six hundred dollars is pledged for that purpose." "It was also voted that the "horse sheds be located 40 feet south of the butternut tree in the yard, provided the ground can be obtained for one dollar"

At a meeting held December 7th, 1867, Messrs John R. Sturges, J.O. St. John and Sturges Bennett were appointed a committee to ascertain the denominational preferences of all the members of the church, "with a view to a change of name to that of Congregational, or that of letting it be the Methodist Protestant Meeting."

This committee reported to an adjourned meeting, held December 14th, in favor of a change of name, and by a unanimous vote the name of the church was changed from Methodist Protestant to Congregational. It was also voted to petition the next legislature to change the name of the society in accordance with the above vote, and to secure to the Congregational Society the property now held by the Methodist Protestant Society. The committee appointed for this purpose were Messrs. David E. Smith, Hiram St. John, and E. G. Bennett.

From October, 1865, to May, 1875, the church was supplied by Rev. Samuel St. John, of Georgetown. He was succeeded by Rev. Albert H. Thompson, of Yale Theological Seminary, who supplied the pulpit until November, 1876. Mr. Thompson's successor was Rev. C. B. Strong, of Hartford Seminary, who remained until the close of 1877. The Rev. C. A. Northrop, began his labors with the church January 6th, 1878, and was ordained and installed as pastor October 2d, 1878.

The membership of the church in 1878 was 79. Males, 30; females, 49.

The records of the Methodist Protestant Church give no data of the settlement or dismissal of pastors. From old members of the church, however, the following names of those who served the church in this capacity. The list is probably complete,* though the names are not given in the order of succession. They were: William M. Stillwell, Stephen Treadwell, Abram Glasgow, Stephen Remington, --- Shemeall, ----- Vredenburgh, James Summerbell, Aaron G. Brewer, Richard K. Diossy, James Rolliston, William McCutchen, William H. Bosely, William Cliff, Samuel M. Henderson, Jacob Timberman, -- Wade, Elizur W. Griswold, Merwin Lent, William H. Johnson, John L. Ambler, Joseph J. Smith, Joshua Hudson, Thomas K. Witsel, John H.Painter, M. E. Rude, William C. Clarke.

Georgetown Bible Church (formerly Gilbert Memorial Church)

Georgetown Bible Church, dates back to the early part of the nineteenth century when it began as the Methodist Protestant Society. In 1826, the Methodist Protestant Society under the Wilton Circuit of churches, began to hold its services in Georgetown. Due to the increase of population associated with the Gilbert and Bennett Manufacturing Company, there was a need for churches in this area. For many years, the Methodist Protestant Society of Georgetown met in a local union hall (Also known as Miller's Hall.). In 1838, the Methodist Protestant Society built its own building and in 1839, they became a separate church.

Colt Ad Reads: Gilbert Memorial Church, Georgetown, Conn.,
"The Colt Generator gives perfect satisfaction. Our sexton says it is nothing to operate and keep it in working order. The light is fine.
Yours very truly, Rev. Edward S. Sanborn." August 26, 1902.

About 1846, the Methodist Protestant Conference, to which this church belonged, transferred its relation to the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Methodist Protestant Church in Georgetown did not agree with this change, and the majority of its members won out and remained a Methodist Protestant Church, retaining the property and building. The early church property was crossed by the Danbury & Norwalk R. R. The group sold the Railroad a right of way for $150 in 1851. The congregation voted on March 7, 1868 to dissolve the connection which existed between the Methodist Protestant Society in Georgetown and the Methodist Protestant Conference. Then, on June 15, 1875, the church united with the local Congregational Association and on February 24, 1887, the state House of Representatives authorized the change in name from the Methodist Protestant Society to The Congregational Society of Georgetown.

On October 26, 1901, the corner-stone of the present church building was laid and on June 26, 1902, the building was dedicated at a special service. The building was a gift from Deacon and Mrs. Edwin Gilbert. Mr. Gilbert was a very committed leader of the church, as well as being president of the manufacturing company in Georgetown and the land was donated by John O. St. John, a church officer at the time. David H. Miller established a large land trust for the church at this time. On October 2, 1902, the name of the church was changed in honor of Mr. Gilbert's devoted service and generous gift of the church building.

In July of 1944, the congregation of the church decided to withdraw from the Congregational Ministerial Society due to its trend away from a faithful following of the Bible. This relieved the church of all organizational ties and since then, the church has been totally independent. While being independent of any denomination, it retained the name of the Gilbert Memorial Congregational Church until April 7, 1965 when it was changed to the name it holds today, the Georgetown Bible Church.

The rich history of the church is preserved in many of the church records, many of which were written by Mr. Gilbert. These records, which may go back to the late 1800's, are on display at the church. You are welcome any time to drop by and look at the building, which is now part of the National Register of historic Places, as well as these records. You can also meet the pastor John Cardamone, who will be glad to show you around.

List of Pastors From Both Histories and Notes by Pastor John Cardamone

Joseph Smith (1844-?)

Samuel St. John (1865-1875)

Samuel J.M. Merwin (1883-1888)

Ursinus O. Mohr (1894-1899)

Elwell O. Mead (1920-1923)

Dr. B.S. Winchester (1932-1938)

Charles E. Pont (1939-1943)

William C. Floge (1943-1952)

William Kinnaman (1954-1963)

Ralph Seeley (1963-1966)

Kenneth Anderson (1966-?) *He was still there as of 1978 according to the Redding Pilot's Dorthea Stillman.

John Cardamone

Interesting Facts

The steps that exist to the left of the main entry, are puzzling to most that notice them. They hang in mid-air, covered by an arched stone canopy, admittedly they do look odd. Their purpose dates back to the time when the church was erected, a time when horse drawn carriages not gasoline powered vehicles carried local residents to and from church on Sunday. The steps are suspended to allow horse drawn carriages to pull right up to them, efficiently delivering it's passengers to service, which was particularly helpful in foul-weather conditions in that they evaded having to trudge through the mud, slush or snow.

The building's stone architecture is striking to say the least. More impressive than its appearance is the fact that this time-tested material was quarried locally and stands as a lasting reminder of the industries that once prospered in this quiet corner of Connecticut. Branchville in particular was a very active quarry area, for close to 100 years. Though best known for its unique crystals excavated under the direction of a team of geologists from Yale University, granite mining was the first industry to exploit the abundant geologic assets of Branchville. It is said that the granite blocks you see before you today were mined in Branchville, transported here, individually numbered and assembled accordingly.

Edwin Gilbert and his wife Elizabeth Jones Gilbert are buried behind the church and their portraits hang in the gathering room to the left of the main room.

Edwin Gilbert and the Church

On October 26, 1901, the cornerstone of the present house of worship was laid and on June 6, 1902, the building was dedicated. This excellent and attractive stone structure was the gift of Deacon and Mrs. Edwin Gilbert. Mr. Gilbert was for many years president of the manufacturing company bearing his name in this town, and was intensely devoted to the welfare of this church. The breadth of his spirit may be seen in the range of his benevolence. He left a substantial endowment to the Church, an equal amount to the state Home Missionary Society, and the same amount, the income of which is used for the relief of those who may need it in the place, regardless of church affiliations. He also left one-third as much to the Congregational Church of Wilton, to the Congregational Church of Redding, to the Swedish Congregational Church of Georgetown, to the Methodist Episcopal Church of Georgetown, to the Catholic Church of Georgetown. He also funded and left a good endowment to the Fresh Air Farm, later known as Life's Farm. The superintendent of that farm, Rev. Ursinus O. Mohr, a former pastor of this church and his wife, for most of the time since 1899 were in charge of this work which gave a two week outing to about 1200 poor city children every summer.

The Sacred Heart Church

With the completion of the Norwalk & Danbury R. R., Catholics began to move in and settle about the halfway mark known as Georgetown. The spiritual needs of these families were taken care of by priests from both St. Mary's Church, Norwalk, and St. Peter's Church, Danbury. Holy Mass was celebrated in private homes both in Georgetown and Branchville. By the late 1870's, the number of Catholics had increased considerably, so the use of Bennett's Hall, located over on Old Mill Rd, was secured for services. The Rev. Thaddeus P. Walsh was appointed first pastor of Georgetown, with Ridgefield and Redding Ridge as missions. He took up his residence in Georgetown in 1880. The Catholics of Georgetown had already made plans for a church and the present grounds were purchased and transferred to Father Walsh shortly after his coming. Catherine Miller, the wife of David H., supplied the construction mortgage for the church. James Corcoran, who built his house next door provided the land. Father Walsh immediately began the erection of a church which was soon completed and solemnly dedicated in the late in the summer of 1881 by Rev. Lawrence S. McMahon, "under the protection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus". So important was this occasion that a special train was run from Danbury to Georgetown to accommodate all who wished to attend this big step in the progress of the Catholic Church in this area.

In 1880, Father Thaddeus Walsh was appointed Pastor of the Georgetown Church. He must have been a man of great dedication and energy. The accounts of his personal efforts and sacrifices, very humbly related in his reports, deserve a place in church history.

He lived in a house on Main Street in Georgetown and drove his horse to Ridgefield and to the Redding Ridge Church, now St. Patrick's, which was until 1971 a mission church. Later, he moved to Ridgefield but continued to tend his flock in Georgetown. The valiance of this good priest can be appreciated when one reads that he had to get a new horse, to carry him over the difficult roads, because his old horse got too lame. However, he added, he personally paid for the new horse, "because these people are too poor." Frequently, in reporting his progress of this ministry, he referred to the poverty of the people. To the Bishop he wrote, "please do not ask me for an Easter Collection or any special collection. My people are too poor." An annual contribution of $6.00 could not be met by some. One Sunday collection totaled sixty-five cents.

He continued to minister to the needs of the Catholics of Georgetown until his death in 1886. He was buried from Sacred Heart Church, Georgetown.

The Rev. Patrick Byrne succeeded Father Walsh and for the next six years he was pastor of both Georgetown and. Ridgefield Cath-dic Churches. Father Byrne was in turn succeeded by the Rev. Joseph O'Keefe, who labored in spite of ill health until the coming of the Rev. Richard E. Shortell, May 13, 1893.

Under the direction of Father Shortell, the original church building was greatly enlarged, the interior redecorated, the marble altar, the marble sanctuary and a new organ installed, making it one of the best mission churches in the diocese. Father Shortell continued as pastor of Sacred Heart Church until his death Oct. 4, 1934. All lived in rented places until the present rectory was built under the direction of Rev. Walter F. Kenny, who became the first resident pastor.

On Dec. 1, 1934, the Rev. Walter F. Kenny came to Georgetown as resident pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, which was now separated from Ridgefield. He immediately began the building of a rectory. The rectory was built on a steep spot that required a great deal of land fill and grading. Most of the labor was voluntary and completed on a pay-as-you-go basis and as the property is about an acre and three-quarters, it proved quite a task. Nightly, Father Kenny would stand outside the gate of the wire factory to solicit some of the church members who worked there to truck a few loads of earth.

In 1936, under Father Kenny's leadership, the first summer vacation school was sponsored. Senior High School and college students from St. Joseph's College in Hartford came to Georgetown. They lived with the local families. The students taught youngsters of school age, visited homes and the elderly, furthering the spirit of Christian love by social concern. Sister Mary DeLoures, a sister of Father Kenny, had a hand in this innovative venture.

Father Kenny, was a powerful spiritual leader. A book could and should be written about him. He welcomed all who came in his path. A humorous and revealing account deserves including: A man nightly crossed the church land, always in rather "tippled" condition. One evening, when his walking was more difficult than usual, Father Kenny suggested he give him a ride home. When Father Kenny, with difficulty, got him to the door of his home, he was met by the man's wife, who screamed at him, "So, you're the one who is getting him into this state night after night."

* While the story told above is quite funny I'm a bit pessimistic about it's validity.

After the tremendous growth under Father Kenny's pastorship, Father William A. Gildea became the spiritual leader in 1940, but only for a brief time. He died in 1941. Father Charles Corcoran assumed the responsibility and in 1946 was succeeded by Father Myron Miller. He remained with Sacred Heart's fold for five years, then was transferred to Springdale.

In 1951, Sacred Heart was blessed with the spiritual leadership of Father Joseph F. Cleary, J.C. D. We were privileged to have him for twenty years his sudden death of a massive heart attack in the rectory had a traumatic effect not only on every member of Sacred Heart, but on all of the entire region, who had come to know and love him. He led us all from the Latin Mass into the English dialogue Mass. One little frail woman who had always prayed from her rosary quietly during the Mass, began to follow the prayers in the Misslaettes and enter vocally. One day, with pride, she said, "I now pray the Mass and can read English."

In that time period, men and women lectors were added to the lay participation. Today, we also have men and women extraordinary ministers, who share in the liturgy and also extend the sacramental visits to the sick and the shut-ins. Music, once with organ and a few voices, is now a wonderful offering to the Lord of voices of the whole congregation, all started by Father Cleary.

It is impossible to describe Father Cleary. He had the gift of shedding his spirituality on all he met. One of his legacies is the collection of his writings, "Spiritual Thoughts of Father Cleary". He was a gifted pianist and also loved to sing a solo of some choice "oldie" at the annual church "Minstrel Show". His devotion to children was expressed, not only in sponsoring their education in St. Mary's School through the church coffers, but by a gift of $100 to the family at the birth of a child. He was a classicist, yet a gracious person, easy to meet.

Father Cleary, with the legacies from John Pryor and Elizabeth Hubbard, built Pryor-Hubbard Hall. With a warm glow of pride, he remarked at the dedication, "This is the first building I had a chance to construct." (*Need more on the building of Pryor-Hubbard Hall.)

Father George D. Birge came as pastor in 1972 after the helpful work of Father John Norton. Although he laughingly said he was not concerned with repairs or constructions, he had the interior and exterior of the rectory painted and then directed the extensive renovation of the church. This latter effort remains as a tribute to his excellent taste and the cooperative zeal he brought forth from the many who volunteered in such strenuous work as removing and reinstalling pews, painting, cleaning windows and candelabra, redecorating statues and polishing all metals. To enter and take even a glimpse of the church remains a treat.

To watch Father Birge visit with the children was an experience in observing real emanating love. They gave him relaxed responses with beaming faces and he looked equally relaxed and jovial- true spiritual communication. He had real catalytic influence. He sensed the very soul of not only the individual but the entire Sacred Heart area. Still another contribution through Father Birge's effort was the installation of a new exceptionally fine organ in 1972. This has added to the quality of music at Sacred Heart, where we have the unique privilege of listening to Mary Fox, an accomplished organist who was honored for her 60th year of devoted service in 1980.

In 1977, Father Birge sought a change of duty and into the lives of the Sacred Heart parishioners came Father John M. Conlisk. Father Conlisk's homily in his first Mass revealed the scholarly depth and spiritual strength he had. To share in the Mass with him filled one with the spiritual awe this sacrifice compels. All, from child to aged adult, felt re-inspired to greater effort in the daily living out of our faith.

At the first lay advisory meeting, under the pastoral leadership of Father Conlisk, he made reference to Pope John Paul XXIII's emphasis on lay participation and lay leadership as one of the goals he sought for Sacred Heart Parish. Through group and personal contacts and homilies, Father Conlisk's great admiration of Pope John XXIII brought the gift of this great pope closer to most of us. Also, the increased understanding of Vatican II continued to grow.

He sought aid in planning needed revisions in the rectory, changing the porch into a Pastor's office so he had privacy for counseling. Later, the exterior of the church foundation was repaired after removal of tree roots that threatened the entire structure. the surrounding grounds were then landscaped so that Sacred Heart, at all seasons, now with its quaint architecture and scrubs, makes a choice Connecticut scene. The renovation of the rectory basement, in 1980 made it into a comfortable meeting hall with a kitchen.

The over-seeing of these alterations and the additional leadership of growing St. Patrick's Church which, too, was under his care, never took anything away from his devotion to the Holy Mass, his homilies and the personal counseling of the many who needed his spiritual lift. Father Conlisk, accepting the pastoral leadership of St. Patrick's, will become their first pastor in the 101 years of the church's existence. His quiet yet strong leadership was recognized by his flock at St. Patrick's.

In June 12, 1981, Sacred Heart was blessed with Father James Dennis. The warmth with which he was greeted at all the masses on June 13th and 14th was a reflection of his genuine pleasure in greeting us. Father Dennis had an extensive background of pastorship in large churches, among them St. Peter's in Danbury, St. Edward the Confessor in New Fairfield, and St. Joseph's in Brookfield. He smilingly stated that he had been a "rolling stone." From that introduction parishioners were more than eager to offer him all the support, efforts and prayers to make his life among them blessed with the finest in Catholic spirit.

Over the first hundred years, the souls of Sacred heart, those among us today and the many who have preceded us, have indeed been privileged. From the small cluster of twelve families in 1881, the Sacred Heart membership had grown to 519 families in 1981.

The program for religious education naturally reflects similar growth. In the first pioneer days of the church, the lone priests offered what education they could with much responsibility carried by the family as was the case, country-wide, before parochial schools were established. Sacred Heart never had a large enough number of children to establish a school. As the number of children grew, parents, chiefly mothers, met with groups of children in their homes. Later, the School Sisters of Notre Dame from Wilton coordinated the religious instruction program and assisted the lay catechists.

In the years since the sacred Vatican Council the religious education program developed under the guidance and leadership of several Directors: Mrs. Beverly Arndt, Mrs. Anne Witterholt, Mrs. Eleanor Rae, Mrs. Mary Zibelli, and presently Sr. Joan Pesce, C.N.D. In 1981, the religious education program had a total of 346 students ranging from first to twelfth grades. Classes meet in various places including the homes of the teachers. Forty men and women dedicated service though parent participation with the younger Catholics. Increasing parent participation was a significant part of the methodology, to ultimately become a truly family-life educational program.

Another outstanding feature of parish life in the 1980's was the work of the students under the volunteer leadership of Mrs. Beverly Arndt. The many presentations of Godspell under her direction, were an amazing production of dramatic professionalism providing not only genuine entertainment, but also a spiritual experience for the youth actors and the audience. These high school youngsters under her guidance were involved in social actions in the Sacred Heart area as well.

During the years, various organizations sprouted. At one time a Holy Name Society existed, also a woman's group named the Needlework Guild made clothes for the orphans of St. Agnes Home in Hartford. This latter group has continued and today is known as the Ladies Guild. Under the direction of this organization, many social functions occur, through the effort of its members. Many important contributions to the church life have been made. For example, the oriental rug, which adds such an elegant tone to the sanctuary, is one of the many contributions of the Ladies Guild, the cost earned through their variety of group and individual work.

The men today, though not organized, have donated hours of professional work in the renovation of the Pryor-Hubbard Hall, the church and lately, as previously mentioned, the meeting hall beneath the rectory. Lastly, properly in sequence of time, the Parish Advisory Council was organized as one of the significant influences of the Second Vatican Council. Men, women, and youth are elected by the parish members. They serve in an advisory capacity to the pastor on spiritual and temporal matters and in developing plans for the future direction of the total parish effort.

Through the years of continuing growth and effort, Sacred Heart is debt free, no mortgage, absolutely solvent a tribute to those who gave generously of money and hard work.

Father Joe and Father Mark currently lead Sacred Heart as it celebrates its 125 year anniversary this year.

Interesting Fact

In 1879, the veterans of Company E invited the 23rd Regiment to hold its annual reunion in Georgetown. The invitation was accepted and great preparations were made to receive the veterans. A large tent was secured and erected on the lot where the Sacred Heart Catholic Church now stands. Long tables were built and stoves set up.

The ladies of Georgetown, Wilton, Weston and Redding cooked and baked many good things for the veterans to eat with which the tables in the great tent were loaded on Sept. 11, 1879, the day of the reunion. The houses and other buildings were finely decorated with flags and bunting, and everyone waited the coming of the veterans.

Company A, 4th Regiment, with 66 men, Captain Frederick Cole, acting as escort and the Bethel Cornet Band furnished music. On the arrival of the veterans, the procession was formed and marched to the Methodist Church. Charles Jennings of Georgetown was Marshal.

The business meeting and speaking was in the Methodist Church, Captain James H. Jenkins presiding. The officers of the regiment present were Colonel Charles E. Holmes, Major David. H. Miller, Adjutant Samuel Gregory and Captains of the companies.

Number of men present: Company A, (1); Company B, (28); Company C, (3); Company D, (9); Company E, (47); Company F, (3); Company G, (10); Company H, (0); Company I, (1); Company K, (17); Total, (119) men.

After the meeting the veterans adjourned to the tent, and partook of the fine feast awaiting them. There were about 2,000 persons on the grounds, and over 1,500 persons were served with a fine dinner.

The great success of the reunion was due to the untiring energy and hard work of Major D. H. Miller and the members of Co. E, assisted by everyone in Georgetown and vicinity.

The Bethel Cornet Band gave a fine concert and the boys of Company A, 4th Regiment, showed the veterans some fine marching, firing by platoon, etc. Among the invited guests were Stephen Olmstead, of Redding, a veteran of the war of 1812, and Abram Dreamer, a veteran of the Mexican war. The day passed with no accident to mar it, and the reunion was long remembered by those who were present.

Covenant Congregational Church

This church, located on the old Weston Road now known as Covenant Lane in Georgetown, was founded in March 1889 by Swedish immigrants. The building was erected in 1891 with a parsonage on Maple Street. In March of 1964, they celebrated their 75th anniversary.

The church has its roots in the Lutheran State Church of Sweden formed during the great spiritual awakening in Sweden in the 19th century. The members use the Congregational name because they were assisted in getting started by the American Congregational Church. The church is associated with the Evangelical Covenant Church, with headquarters in Chicago, and with the East Coast Conference of Covenant Churches, with headquarters in Worcester, Mass.

There was a wave of emigration to America from Sweden during the 1880s. "America Fever" almost threatened to depopulate Sweden. Coming from Castle Garden, the forerunner of Ellis Island, New York, many of them found employment in the expanding Gilbert & Bennett wire mill in the 1880s and 1890s adding to the population of Georgetown and their culture considerably enriched the community life of town.

The church was the agency by which the immigrant was best able to preserve his identity, and within a few years the Swedes, working through their churches and with the help of friendly neighbors, had established schools, colleges, Old Folks' Homes, Orphanages and hos-pitals in their new land.

In Georgetown the Lutheran community soon grew large enough to support another church, and the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church was formed.

Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church

The Bethlehem Lutheran Congregation in Georgetown came into existence as a result of the deep longing in the hearts of the Lutherans in Georgetown at the turn of the century. In fact, pastors from the Seamen's Mission in Brooklyn, N.Y. had made visits to Georgetown as early as 1900. In the year 1907, local leaders had made contact with Pastor Torsten M. Hohenthal of the Seamen's Mission to visit Georgetown to administer communion to Mr. John Peterson.

Pastor Hohenthal continued to make regular visits to hold services in various homes. It was in January, 1908 that under the urging and direction of Pastor Hohenthal, a Seamen' s Mission Society was formed for the purpose of gathering the Lutherans in Georgetown for religious services and to work for the cause of missions. After this Mission Society had been organized, the group sought out a place to hold its meetings. Arrangements were made with Mrs. Edla Peterson of Portland Avenue to rent her large living room for this purpose.

Of the fifty-two charter members, only two came from Sweden, itself. The largest two sub-groups came from Sund and Saltvik in Aland, Finland. They arrived in America during the late 1890's and early 1900's. They were a hearty group of Swedish speaking immigrants from the Russian dominated islands of Aland, Finland.

Pastor Hohenthal was to come once a month for a preaching service. However, a service was also held each Sunday led by Mr. Charles H. Gustafson. Within a few months, at the advice and under the able direction of Pastor Hohenthal, the members of the Seamen's Mission Society made the historical decision to organize a Lutheran congregation and to affiliate itself with the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church. To accomplish this, Pastor Hohenthal contacted the Rev. Dr. Gustaf Nelsenius, President of the New York Conference, which at that time included the New England states.

July 7, 1908 was the eventful day when the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church came into existence. Leaders of the Church present for this memorable occasion included the Rev. Dr. Gustaf Nelsenius, Pastor Torsten M. Hohenthal, the Rev. Dr. Peter Froeberg, pastor of the Salem Lutheran Church in Bridgeport, and the Rev. Dr. John L. Benson, then a student at Upsala College, who had come to Georgetown in the month of June to conduct services and to do the preparatory work for the day of organization. The church membership was 53 adults and 17 children. (The Swedish members coming largely from the Russian dominated islands of Aland, Finland).

The urgent need that was now foremost in the minds of the members of the new congregation was a church building where the full morning worship service could be held. Steps in that direction were taken immediately. The present church site was purchased for $75. A contract was then entered into with Michael Connery for $1,700, to supply the required building supplies and have Henry (Harry) Colley proceed immediately with the building of a church. Dr. Peter Froeberg assumed the task of gathering the needed funds to make the building of the church possible.

When the new church building was completed, the festive and joyous day of dedication was announced. That day was Sunday, November 29, 1908, when a grateful congregation filled the church for its first full worship service together with the celebration of the Lord's Supper. The service of dedication was held in the afternoon with Dr. Gustaf Nelsenius officiating, assisted by the Rev. Dr. L.H. Beck, President of Upsala College, Dr. Peter Froeberg and Pastor A.J. Ostlin. Charles Gustafson was named the first Sunday School Superintendent and Gustaf R. Johnson the first Organist.

The congregation's first pastor was the Rev. Carl A. Bernander who arrived in the year 1911 and remained until the following year. He was shared with the Trinity Lutheran Church in Danbury. The second pastor to shepherd the congregation was the Rev. Samuel R. Swenson, who inspired and led the congregation through a period of marked expansion. It was at this time that the pews were installed. A chancel platform was built. A new altar, a kneeling rail and a pulpit were placed in the chancel. The church was further enhanced in its beauty and spirit of worship by the installation of art glass windows which carried effective symbols. Pastor Swenson remained for a period of three fruitful years.

The congregation was without a pastor during the 1920's. Vice pastors cared for the congregation while students from Upsala College conducted the Sunday services and instructed the confirmation classes. Pastor O.O. Eckhardt was called and arrived in 1930. The outstanding project accomplished during Pastor Eckhardt's term of service was the excavation of the church basement. The work of excavation was done by the men of the congregation. The Young People's Society furnished the needed funds. Finally, after much hard work, a new parish room was realized. Pastor Eckhardt remained until 1937. Other expansion projects of the congregation include the acquiring of the "Read" house in 1928 for a parsonage and through the contribution of the Naomi Society and the skilled work of one or two men, the kitchen facilities in the undercroft.

Still without a pastor, the congregation turned to Upsala College for the service of students. In addition, the congregation was served part of the time through the 1940's by three ordained pastors who served while pursuing studies at nearby Universities. They were Pastors Martin Leesberg, John Nosco of the United Lutheran Church, and Harold Faust, who after a year, entered our missionary field in Africa. In 1944, the name of the congregation was changed to Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church.

A new period of expansion began in the year 1955 when the congregation authorized an extensive renovation of the parsonage. At this time, the Board of American Missions of our Augustana Church had become alerted and interested through the efforts of Pastor Bernhard J. Johnson of Stamford, who had been serving faithfully and with true devotion for a period of ten years as the congregation's Vice Pastor. Many people had begun moving into the surrounding area, which could only mean the future growth of our congregation was assured.

A call was extended to the Rev. Elmer L. Olsen to be the pastor of the congregation. Pastor and Mrs. Olsen arrived October 3, 1955. The communicant membership count was 100. The congregation began writing a new chapter in its history when, on January 6, 1957, the Board of Trustees were instructed to draw up plans for a new addition and necessary alterations to the present church building. These preliminary plans together with suggestions for financing a building program were submitted to the congregation. A special meeting of the congregation was duly called for June 5, 1957. The Trustees presented the plans and the congregation voted unanimously to proceed immediately with the proposed program. Ground breaking took place on August 4, 1957, and on March 23, 1958, the new Parish House and the renovated and enlarged church was officially dedicated. The service of dedication was conducted by the President of the New England Conference, the Rev. Dr. Eskil G. Englund, assisted by the pastors of the newly formed New Haven District.

It was at this time the congregation received a letter from one of its former pastors, residing in Ahus, Sweden. Samuel Swensen said in his letter, "...I...a very young and inexperienced pastor some 43 years ago...remember most vividly and with great gratitude how willing and steadfastly the pioneers co-operated with me, striving for the maintenance and up building of Lutheran faith within the boundaries set by the Swedish language and church tradition from the old country. I also recall my impression from my visit some years ago of how that spirit still lingered..."

In 1962, Bethlehem became a member of The Lutheran Church in America. The Rev. Thomas B. Kline was called to be pastor in 1965. Also, at that time, the second parsonage was purchased on Branchville Road in Ridgefield. The first parsonage was then converted into the present Christian Education Building. When Pastor Kline retired in 1973, the Rev. Donald L. Kent was called to be pastor. Property behind the church was purchased from the John Nordlund estate in 1975. In 1979, the back entrance to the parish house was added and the parking lot was constructed on this added property. The Rev. John R. Henrich was called to serve as pastor in 1983 and Bethlehem became a member of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1988. The Rev. William Mark White received the call to serve Bethlehem in 1989.

In January of 1994, the third and present parsonage, the former John Nordlund home, was purchased. This purchase included land and outbuildings, thereby providing potential for future expansion and development, The second parsonage on Branchville Road was sold to Mr. Philip Lodewick, a member of St. Andrew's Luthieran Church in Ridgefield. He held ownership of this building until it was possible for St. Andrew's to sell their parsonage. At that time, ownership was transferred to St. Andrew's and they are presently using this Branchville Road property as their new parsonage.

The Christian Education Building was renovated in 1994 to meet the State standards set for use by a nursery school. In September, 1994, The Waldorf School Program began a nursery school called The Rose Garden School in this building. It continues to grow and at this time has expanded to two sessions per day with a waiting list of families who wish to participate. In December, 1994, Bethlehem called the Rev. Sandra M. Marotz to be pastor.

More on the Bethlehem Lutheran Church here.

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