Church Histories - First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rural Valley, PA

The Lutheran Church building was destroyed by a tornado on 23 June, 1944. The church was rebuilt and the new building was dedicated on 29 June 1947. This history of the church appeared in the bulletin for the dedication service. Linda Repine sent me a copy of the bulletin. Thanks, Linda!


This congregation had its beginning in Yatesboro on August 11, 1901, and was called Christ Evangelical Lutheran, Yatesboro, and Pleasant Union were constituted a parish. A three-story building on Main street was bought for $2,800 on March 14, 1903. In 1913 the congregation traded its property for a brick veneered church erected by the Reformed Church in Rural Valley. The Reformed parsonage was bought the next year. Since the time of the transfer the congregation has been known as the First Lutheran Church of Rural Valley. The congregation passed through such a period of discouragement that the future semed hopeless. A new parish was then formed, consisting of Rural Valley, Pleasant Union and Jerusalem. Under this arrangement all three congregations took on a new life. The following ministers served here: J. W. Tressler, 1902-6; C. F. Gerhart, 1913-18; W. S. Hinman, 1919-20; William Weicksel (supply), 1921-22; W. L. Price, 1922-26; A. G. Wolf, 1926-34; C. E. Butler, 1934-.

1927 - church partly destroyed by fire - rebuilt.
1935 - Altar built and donated by Charles McGraw.
1935 - Merle McClarren built and donated a Lectern; Common Service Books purchased; Paraments in white, green and violet were installed.
1937 - a new forced draft furnace.
1939 - the new brick tower; the bell donated from Grace (N. S. Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh).
1940 - parsonage painted and papered.
1940 - parsonage furnace recast and converted to gas.
1940 - brass altar Cross donated by Harmony Class - Miss Cora E. Harmon, teacher.
1940 - Brass Altar Candlesticks by Sunday School.
1943 - Dorsal Curtain Choir rail and curtain by Dorcas, now Workers Society.

June 23, 1944, 7:10 p.m., tornado destroyed all; the tower stood but was damaged considerable. The parsonage was greatly scarred and shattered, but stood - was moved over on foundation about 5 or 6 inches - 25 of 29 windows were broken. Pastor and Mrs. Butler were not injured, though slate was driven into the walls of all about.

Through the most generous gifts of close to 100 churches of our Synod, and the additional gifts of our neighboring churches and friends, and the staunch support of our own people both in gifts and labor, we were able to proceed with the building of our new church. November 4, 1945, the cornerstone was laid. The Rev. George E. Bowersox, D. D., then President of East Conference, preached the sermon with overcoat under robe and gloves on hands - bad day - and then it snowed. We are very happy to dedicate the new church today - though we need to do so without pews, organ or carpet - these will come later.

Figuratively you wept with us in our loss, and now we bid you rejoice with us in our gratitude and joy. Through the columns of The Lutheran Monthly and in person we tried to tell you of our profound thanks and sincere appreciation - you see it is utterly impossible to list all the gifts of money here, though you may be sure our Trasurer has a complete record and Our Father God knows every gift, and it is treasure in Heaven for those of you making the gifts.


$11,786 - churches, organizations, individuals of synod.
$12,500 - Our people and friends (including $5,000 in free labor).
$309 - Synodical Luther League.
$1,000 - To apply on purchase of organ - Mr. George R. Fink, Ecorse, Mich. (Through Miss Nora Rupert).
Stained and Art Glass Windows - Love gifts by those here, some for those there.
Corner Stone - P. M. Enterline Estate.
Lanterns and Light Fixtures - Their light is beautiful - Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Judson, our good, good neighbors.
Memorial Altar Vases - Mrs. Ivy H. Harmon and Mr. John L. Harmon.
Communion Service - Our church folk.
Memorial Collection Pates - In memory of Lewis Schaeffer, given by Mr. and Mrs. J. Vincent McKee.
Kitchen Equipment - The cost of carpeting - the Violet Parements on Order - by the Workers Society.
Green Paraments (in service today) - Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Meyer.
Pulpit Bible (a treasured possession) - Mr. Charles Lauster.
Common Service Books - as inscribed.
Piano - Mr. and Mrs. Howard Brosius.
Hymn Board - Mr. C. A. Miller.
Tower Windows - Gift of Mr. George Hunt of The Hunt Studios (makers of the windows).
Financing Cost of 500 Dedication Booklets - The Valley Service and Supply Co.
Pictures - Boyer Studios.

Seating Capacity - 180
Architect - Mr. A. L. Martsolf.
Architect's rough estimate on cost of church (more than two years ago), $24,000 - church complete will cost about $27,000.
Brickmason and Special Contractor - Mr. Lundgren.
Chancel Furniture - Mr. Samuel Wolf.
Carpenters - The Building Committee (except the pastor).
Plumbing and Heating - Moore Bros.
Landscaping - Mr. E. C. Meyer.
Electric - Mr. Eddy


C.E. Butler, Pastor - Chairman
Joseph Cooper - Recording Secretary
Merle McClarren - Treasurer
Charles G. McGraw
C. A. Miller


C. E. Butler, Pastor - President
James Wissinger - Vice President
Joseph Cooper - Recording Secretary
C. A. Miller - Financial Secretary
Merle McClarren - Treasurer
Andrew Jewart
Grant J. Rearick
William Dodds
E. C. Meyer
Dean Riggle


Mrs. Charles G. McGraw - President


Mrs. Charles G. McGraw - President


Mr. C. A. Miller - Superintendent