Christ Church - United Church of Christ - Norristown, PA

Sunday Worship Service: 10:45 AM
Adult Sunday School - 9:30 AM every Sunday
Bible Study - 7:00 PM every Tuesday
Youth Sunday School: 9:30 AM
Office Hours: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM (Weekdays)

Original Chapel 1893

Three lots at the corner of Marshall and Noble Streets were purchased in 1891 at a cost of $1,600.  The original chapel was built in 1893, first occupied on December 3rd of that year, but was not formally dedicated until December 13, 1896, after “Christ Reformed Church” had been officially organized as a congregation of the former Philadelphia Classis. The first “chapel consisted of little more than walls and roof, heat provided by two stoves, lighting by gas.” Total cost, $6,868. Preacher at the 1896 dedication was the Rev. Dr. S. R. Bridenbaugh, then pastor of Second Church, Reading, but who had been pastor of Ascension Church, Norristown, when this congregation, on January 5, 1890, organized the mission Sunday School which was to become Christ Church.

Enlarged Chapel 1901

After an additional lot was purchased, the original chapel was enlarged in the Spring of 1901, adding two rooms at the rear “to alleviate in some measure the cramped conditions in the Sunday School.” The enlarged chapel was re-dedicated September 22, 1901, with the sermon by the Rev. Dr. Lott K. Evans, pastor of Trinity Church, Pottstown. This enlarged chapel was further improved in 1913 by the installation of pews, electric lights, a pipe organ, maple floors, pulpit furniture, etc., and thus appointed, with minor changes through the years, housed the congregation and Church School until the new church was dedicated in 1931.

Church and Parsonage After 1904

With year-dates inserted by the present author, this is the way Pastor Bates described developments in the Tenth Anniversary booklet. “We advanced step by step. First, three lots then the chapel enlarged (1901), another lot and a half, and lastly a parsonage built (1904).”

Source for all of above: “Christ Church Story” by James E. Wagner, 75th Anniversary Year - 1971

DEPRESSION ~ BUT SOON PAID FOR

“And by that year 1931, it should be noted, the country was feeling the full impact of the 1929 Depression. It speaks well of the devotion and self-sacrifice of the people of Christ Church that by 1946 [then pastor] Dr. Glessner could report that the indebtedness had been reduced to approximately $55,000, and could venture to predict that ‘at the rate of present giving, this debt may be wiped out within the next five to seven years.’

“The sequel to that prophecy is found in a news story in the Norristown Times Herald of Monday, October 29, 1951. At the top of the page is a three-column picture of the mortgage burning which took place at the morning service the previous day.

“Shown are James E. Foster; Sr., Pastor Glessner; the late Harold D. Steinbright, president of the Board of Trustees, who is putting the match to the mortgage; Raymond M. Naylor, secretary of Consistory; the late James G. Painter, treasurer; and the late Rev. Robert D. Brodt, then pastor in Allentown, guest preacher for the service.

“The story states that the original mortgage was for $85,000 and goes on to report that approximately 275 members and guests attended a congregational dinner Sunday evening in celebration of the mortgage burning. “

Source for all of above: “Christ Church Story” by James E. Wagner, 75th Anniversary Year - 1971

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Christ Church - United Church of Christ
1003 West Marshall Street - Norristown, PA 19401-4218
Office: 610-275-3092  Fax: 610-275-0438
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