The German Evangelical Protestants
Written by Curtis Beach
It is often said that the United Church of Christ was the first union of two American denominations with quite different histories and backgroundsthe English roots of the Congregational Christian Churches mixing with the German traditions of the Evangelical and Reformed Church. Actually, a similar merger, on a much smaller scale, took place in 1925, when the Evangelical Protestant Church of North America joined the National Council of Congregational Churches.
The Evangelical Protestants were an indigenous American denomination, originally Germanspeaking. In 1925 there were twentyseven churches, mostly in the Ohio River valley. Dedicated to religious liberty, Evangelical Protestants stood for freedom of thought, an open mind, and respect for those whose beliefs were different.
The first German Evangelical Protestant church was founded in Pittsburgh in 1782. At that time Pittsburgh was only a hamlet on the frontier.(1) Twentyfive years earlier no village was there at all, only Fort Duquesne, a French military outpost located at the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers came together to form the Ohio River.
In 1758, during the French and Indian War, Fort Duquesne had been captured by a British colonial militia and renamed Fort Pitt, in honor of William Pitt (senior), the leader of the British government. Soon thereafter log cabins began to appear outside the military compound, built by people who wished to trade with the soldiers or the Indians. Pittsburgh was also the gateway to the West, populated by fur trappers and pioneers. In 1782 the village consisted of about thirtyfive houses, most made of logs, and probably numbered less than 250 souls. Many of them were Germans. In fact, one third of the inhabitants of Pennsylvania in the 1780s spoke German.
In Pittsburgh, German settlers established the first church in the town during the American Revolution.(2) Its initial membership roll listed fortytwo men. (After the German custom of that time, women were not voting members.) This early German church was completely independent, not connected with any synod or denomination. Its roster included both Lutherans and German Reformed members, as well as persons who belonged to no particular group. From the beginning it was a church that cherished religious freedom, welcomed diversity of opinion, and respected the right of individual conviction.
This attitude of tolerance was remarkable in 1782. In that period, churches in Germany were severely divided over theology. In New England, Congregational parishes were being torn apart by controversies: unitarianism and trinitarianism, liberalism and orthodoxy. Yet, in the wilderness of western Pennsylvania, a church developed that encouraged private thought, was cordial to diverse points of view, and honored the rights of personal conscience.
In 1782 the German church had organized and found a place to meet, a log cabin that it rented, but it had no minister. So the congregation sent a letter to the German Reformed Synod in eastern Pennsylvania, saying, in effect, “Please send us a preacher.”
The man who was sent was a most unusual person named Johann Wilhelm Weber. From his diary we have knowledge of his life and of the infant church.(3) He was born in Germany in 1735 and came to America (Pennsylvania) with his young wife in 1764, at the age of twentynine. For several years he taught school, and then he decided to enter the ministry. He was examined and ordained by the German Reformed Synod. Although he served a parish near Philadelphia for a time, he was compelled to leave because the congregation felt that he was “too political.” He was an ardent supporter of the War for Independence. When the synod received the request from Pittsburgh for a preacher, Weber responded. He says in his diary; “In May 1782 I was sent by the synod in Reading to western Pennsylvania to visit the congregation there and given a permit to be their pastor if they should call me.” It took him a month to make the 400mile trip on horseback, crossing the Allegheny Mountains. He preached in the Pittsburgh church and in other Germanspeaking villages in the area. As a result he received a joint call to serve the Pittsburgh congregation and three German churches near Greensburg, thirty miles away. All this for a total annual salary of “116 pounds in money, 100 sheaves of wheat, free lodging, and firewood.” Weber accepted and went back to get his family, planning to return the next summer.
In June 1783 Johann Wilhelm Weber crossed the mountains in a wagon with his wife and six children. The four parishes provided them with an old house, in which, he wrote, “my family almost perished from the cold during the winter.” The next summer he bought a tract of land near Greensburg, built a more adequate dwelling, and added farming to his pastoral duties. When his wife died in childbirth, he soon remarried, and his second wife bore him twelve more children. There were twenty mouths to feed at the family table.
For eleven years Weber served four parishes, riding on his horse at least eighty miles a week. Pittsburgh was thirty miles from his home and his other churches. Travel was not easy on poor roads, through dense woods, and over swollen rivers. He had to be armed with a gun, a knife, and a hatchet, in case of attack by the Indians. He was “a strongly built man, blessed with a constitution of iron.” He needed to be, to keep up such an arduous schedule.
In 1787 John Penn Sr., and John Penn Jr., the grandson and greatgrandson of William Penn, gave the Pittsburgh congregation a plot of land on Smithfield Street. It was large enough for a meetinghouse, a parsonage, and a cemetery. The parishioners did not build on this land immediately because it was so far out of town. Today it is in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, surrounded by skyscrapers. Over the years five church buildings have been erected on the site.(4)
Planning and raising money for the first meetinghouse began in 1791, and the building was finished in 1793. It was a simple rectangular wooden structure, with no decoration and no steeple, only a chimney; it seated a hundred persons.
A year later, in 1794, Weber resigned from the Pittsburgh church, probably feeling that once the meetinghouse was completed, he could reduce his travel. He was fiftynine years old and continued to serve the three parishes near Greensburg until his death, at the age of eightyone.
After the resignation of Weber, the Pittsburgh church deteriorated. There was discord between the Lutherans and other members. For several years there were two separate church bodies, Lutheran and nonLutheran, holding separate services in the same building. Eventually, however, the breach was healed, and in 1812 the two groups reunited. They reaffirmed the principle on which the church had been foundedas a fellowship in which all varieties of Christian thought were welcomed and the rights of individual belief respected.
At the 1812 meeting the name Deutsche Evangelische Protestantische Kirche (German Evangelical Protestant Church) was officially adopted. The word evangelical is derived from the Greek word evangelion (gospel). Evangelische was the term commonly used in Germany to designate nonCatholic churches. The word Protestant was used in Britain and the United States to express the same thing. By using both these terms the Pittsburgh Germans tried to make the character of their church clear to everyone, no matter what language they spoke.
The church again petitioned the German Reformed Synod in eastern Pennsylvania to send a minister. In 1813 a young man named Jakob Schnee moved to Pittsburgh with his family, and the congregation engaged him as its pastor for $200 a year. “Under his active and energetic leadership, the scattered congregation quickly reassembled, and by the year 1814 the number of members had grown to about 100.” This did not count women, so the membership was probably twice that number, plus the children.
During the years since the first German meetinghouse was built, Pittsburgh had grown from a small village to an industrial town. By 1793 a constant stream of homesteaders passed through Pittsburgh on their way to find a new life in the Ohio River settlements of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. They stopped in Pittsburgh to buy boats, farm equipment, clothing, and supplies. Shipbuilding became a major industry. The town had iron and brass foundries, a textile mill, glass works, tool and nail manufacturing, and factories making all sorts of household items, such as soap and candles. In 1816, when Pittsburgh incorporated as a city, it had a population of 6,000. It had eight churches: one German, two Presbyterian, one Methodist, one Episcopal, one Catholic, and two smaller sects.
As the German church grew to about 200 members, it needed a larger and more dignified edifice. So, in 1815, under Schnee’s leadership, the original building was torn down and a new structure of brick was constructed on the same site. It seated about 200, with a gallery holding 20. Three years later Schnee resigned and moved back East, leaving the church greatly strengthened.
Pittsburgh continued to grow. The city lay between two rivers, the Allegheny and the Monongahela. Soon settlements were begun on the farther side of the rivers. Across the “Ally” grew the town of Allegheny and across the “Mon” was an industrial area called Birmingham. The original Pennsylvania turnpike, completed in 1820, reduced the 400mile journey from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to less than two weeks. Because of the availability of coal and iron, Pittsburgh became a city of iron foundries. In 1830 its population was 12,500, and the town of Allegheny had nearly 3,000. There were churches of many kinds, but only one German church: the Evangelical Protestant Church on Smithfield Street.
As the city grew the church grew also. In 1826 a young German Reformed minister named David Kammerer came to town. He was intending to go as a missionary to frontier settlements farther west. When he preached in the German church, however, he was so well liked that the congregation asked him to become their pastor. Kammerer was twentyfive years old, a man with a kind friendly manner, boundless energy, and great vision. Under him a Sunday school was started, modeled on those in the Englishspeaking churches and using lay teachers and graded classes, rather than only offering confirmation instruction by the minister. He also organized a daily elementary school for the children, conducted in German by a trained teacher. It was 1828, seven years before Pittsburgh had public schools. Before long it became evident that the church building was not big enough for all these activities and a growing congregation. In 1831 the members began making plans for a new structure.
The same year a dissident group of the church members of Lutheran background withdrew and started their own church, the First Lutheran Church of Pittsburgh. Although this was a momentary loss in numbers to the Evangelical Protestant congregation, it was also a blessing. It relieved the tension that had always existed between the Lutheran and nonLutheran members and permitted the church to develop its liberal traditions freely.
As the church celebrated its fiftieth birthday, in 1832, it had about 300 worshipers. It was strong and healthy, ready to give leadership in the development of other German Evangelical Protestant churches.
When the Pittsburgh church was planning for its new building, it realized that many of its members lived across the river in the town of Allegheny. So it decided to start a new congregation there, contributing members and money to the project. A man named Voegtly donated land. A new meetinghouse in Allegheny, known as the Voegtly Church, and a new (third) building for the Pittsburgh church were completed in 1834.(5)
As Pittsburgh grew, more and more German people came to the area. Other German Evangelical Protestant churches were established in the city and in the mill towns around it. Members of the Pittsburgh church helped to organize a congregation in industrial Birmingham, across the Monongahela River, in 1846. A church was begun in McKeesport, farther upstream, in the same year. A few miles up the Allegheny River, in Etna, a church was founded in 1849 and another one, in nearby Tarentum in 1873. Additional Pittsburgh churches were started: West End in 1864, Manchester in 1865, Baum’s (Bloomfield) and Mount Washington in 1873, Homestead in 1890, Spring Hill in 1895, and Duquesne Heights in 1900. Farther down the Ohio River, churches were established in Beaver Falls in 1888 and Saxonburg in 1895. There was also a church, St. John’s, in Wheeling, West Virginia (date unknown).(6) With all the new Evangelical Protestant churches in and around Pittsburgh, the original church on Smithfield Street needed a more specific name. It decided to call itself “Smithfield Church,” as it still does today.
Evangelical Protestant churches were not limited to the Pittsburgh area. The highway of midAmerica was the Ohio River and from Pittsburgh it flowed westward to the Mississippi and south to the sea. From colonial times boats sailed down it, bearing pioneers to the virgin wilderness on its shores. Many settlements had grown up along the Ohio River, and one of the largest of these was Cincinnati. Founded in 1788, Cincinnati was for many years a struggling village. With the coming of steamships, however, the town grew rapidly, and by 1830 it was bigger than Pittsburgh. Cincinnati was a thriving trading and manufacturing metropolis, proudly calling itself “the Queen City of the West.”
Many of the inhabitants of Cincinnati were Germans. Like Pittsburgh, it was a center of German life and culture. As people from the Evangelical Protestant churches of the Pittsburgh area moved to Cincinnati, they found new neighbors in Ohio who favored a free approach to religion. Out of these relationships new Evangelical Protestant churches were born.
The first German Evangelical Protestant church established in Cincinnati was St. Peter’s, founded in 1832. Thirtyfour men signed its roll as charter members. Its first meetinghouse was a small unused church building that it purchased for $350. Two years later, when that part of the city was threatened by floods from the river, the congregation moved the structure, section by section, to higher ground. In 1845 another Evangelical Protestant church, St. Paul’s, was founded. Many years later these two congregations united to form the present Cincinnati church of St. Peter and St. Paul.(7)
Between 1845 and 1860 German immigration to the Cincinnati area was especially heavy. Many Evangelical Protestant churches were started: St. John’s, across the river in Newport, Kentucky, in 1857; St. John’s on Neeb Road in 1850; St. Mark’s in 1864; and St. John’s of Mount Auburn in 1866. The church in Bridgetown, adjacent to the city, began in 1870, and St. Paul’s in Barnesburg (Mount Healthy) in 1874. Across the river in Kentucky, St. John’s in Johns Hill was gathered in 1876 and St. John’s in West Covington, in 1892.
The Ohio River did not stop in Cincinnati. It flowed on to the Mississippi and carried German settlers to other towns. The United Evangelical Protestant Church in Madison, Indiana, was founded in 1842; St. Peter’s in Osgood, Indiana, in 1850; and the Independent Evangelical Protestant Church in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1856.(8)
What were the characteristics of these churches? First, and most important, was their freedom of thought. As a matter of principle they had no creed. They allowed members to fashion their faith for themselves, based on their own thinking and experience. Some parishes adopted a statement like this one, found in the first constitution of St. John’s on Neeb Road, Cincinnati (1850): “We join together to know the will of God as taught in the Holy Scriptures, allowing freedom of conscience and freedom of interpretation in points of doctrinal difference. We unite for the purpose of serving God and our fellow men [and women].(9)
A second characteristic of these churches was their insistence on independencethe autonomy of each congregation. This resulted from their memories of life in Europe, where churches were too often dominated by the state. Evangelical Protestant congregations refused to join in any synod, fearing that it would open the door to “outside control.” This desire for independence prevented the development of any denominational structure for a long time.
A third characteristic of these churches was the authority of the laity. It was the congregation, not the pastor, who made the decisions. When the churches had troubles, as they often did, they had no synod or denominational officers to appeal to for help. They had to solve their problems themselves. “Many times, when there were difficulties, the church continued to develop and grow because the congregation made the right decisions and kept it alive. The minister always played an important role, but the final responsibility for the working out of problems rested on the lay members. This was a source of strength.(10)
Yet Evangelical Protestant ministers were outstanding clergymen. They left an important legacy.
One early pastor was Gustav Wilhelm Eisenlohr. Born in Germany in 1811, the son of a village pastor, he was educated at the universities of Heidelberg and Halle and then worked as an assistant in his father’s parish. Later he became the minister of a church and the principal of a grammar school in Baden. He took part in the political revolution of 1848 and, to avoid being sent to prison, fled to America. For a year he served a church in New Richmond, Ohio, and then moved to Texas, where he held a pastorate in New Braunfels, a largely German community. While there he began contributing to a German religious periodical, Protestantische Zeitblaetter (Protestant Pages of the Times), published in Cincinnati. His articles so impressed the members of St. Paul’s Evangelical Protestant Church in Cincinnati that in 1857 they invited him to become their pastor, without seeing or hearing him. For twentytwo years he served St. Paul’s and became a leader in the Evangelical Protestant Ministers’ Association. He retired in 1879 and returned to Texas, where he died in 1881.
A leading writer in the Evangelical Protestant fellowship was Gustav Schmidt. He was born in Germany in 1853 and studied at the universities of Berlin and Bonn. He came to Pennsylvania and was ordained to the ministry by the Pittsburgh Association of Evangelical Protestant Ministers in 1884. He served the church in McKeesport for fortytwo years. When the Evangelical Protestant journal Kirchenbote (Church Messenger) was established in 1885, Schmidt became editor. For years he wrote articles on social issues, especially on the evils found in growing industries in the cities: long working hours, low wages, unhealthy conditions, child labor, the exploitation of women, and the accumulation of vast fortunes by the industrial “barons.” He was a strong voice in the social gospel movement.(11)
Another distinguished minister was Friedrich Ruoff. Born in 1850 in Wuerttemberg, Germany, he graduated from the University of Tuebingen in 1870. He served in the Prussian army during the FrancoPrussian War. In 1873 he came to Amerlca to serve in St. John’s Church of Mount Auburn, Cincinnati. Six years later he was called to the “mother” church in Pittsburgh (Smithfield). Ruoff was deeply concerned about people and helped countless German immigrants find jobs in the steel mills and other industries. He worked to establish two Evangelical Protestant social agencies in the Pittsburgh area: an orphanage in 1888 and a home for the aged in 1891. During his pastorate the Smithfield Church erected its fourth building. Ruoff was an outstanding preacher, admired not only by his parishioners, but also by the whole city. At his funeral in 1904, Smithfield Street, one of the main business arteries of the city, was closed to traffic to accommodate the hundreds of mourners who came to stand in silent tribute to him.(12)
For many years there was no denominational structure among the Evangelical Protestant churches, only the ministerial associations in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Gradually, however, people came to believe that some kind of federation was needed. Finally, in 1885, the pastors of both areas, fourteen from Pittsburgh and thirteen from Cincinnati, met at Smithfield Church in Pittsburgh to set up an organization. They called it the German Evangelical Protestant Church of North America, even though it was not a church, just a fellowship of ministers. It had a central committee consisting of officers and three trustees. They started a denominational journal, Kirchenbote (Church Messengerj, later renamed Kirchenzeitung (Church Gazette), and a children’s paper, Christliche Jugenfreund (Christian Friend of Youth). They published a yearbook of articles and reports, Volkskalender (People’s Almanac), as well as Sunday school materials and hymnals for children and adults.(13)
Increasingly, however, they felt the need for an organization that included laypersons. In 1911 a meeting was held at St. Paul’s Church in Cincinnati, and another in 1912 at the Mount Washington church in Pittsburgh. Plans were made for congregational representation, and the body was enlarged to include delegates from the parishes. It still bore the name Evangelical Protestant Church of North America; the word German was dropped.
In 1917 the organization adopted a Declaration of Principles, expressing the convictions that had governed Evangelical Protestant churches from their beginning:
Our Church is called Evangelical because it accepts as the foundation and rule of faith and life the Gospel of Jesus Christ. .
Our Church is called Protestant because it protests against any compulsion in matters of faith and conscience. . . . We expect our members to form their own convictions, based upon personal experience and deliberation. Differing opinions need not lead to discord as long as the spirit of true freedom and Christian love of neighbor prevails. .
We look up to the God of omnipotence, justice and love, who is our Father. We recognize in Jesus our highest ideal and divine Master, We believe in the blessedness of loving service, in the power of prayer, in the victory of truth, and in life eternal.(14)
MERGER WITH THE CONGREGATIONALISTS
During the early decades of the twentieth century there were many social changes affecting the Germanspeaking churches in this country. The influx of immigrants from Germany, on which the Evangelical Protestant churches depended for growth, practically ceased. Churches could no longer obtain ministers from Europe. As the younger generation preferred to speak English, parishes became bilingual and eventually gave up the use of German altogether. Ultimately the churches were becoming American and losing touch with their GermanAmerican roots. The fact that the denomination had no theological seminary made it difficult to find ministers for Evangelical Protestant churches. And, as a small group of parishes, with no “home” or “foreign” mission boards, the churches felt unable to play an effective part in the wider work of the church.(15)
The answer to these problems pointed toward a union with some larger denomination, one that shared Evangelical Protestant principles of local autonomy and personal freedom of thought. Carl August Voss, minister of the “mother” church, Smithfield, in Pittsburgh, believed that they should consider the Congregationalists.
Voss was born in 1876 in Wheeling, West Virginia, and grew up in Cincinnati, where his father, Eduard Voss, was pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Protestant Church (18791910). He went to Elmhurst College and Meadville Theological Seminary and did further study at Lane Theological Seminary and the University of Cincinnati. Ordained to the ministry in 1896, he served Immanuel Church in Cincinnati (an independent congregation) for nine years. In 1905 he was called to Smithfield Church in Pittsburgh, where he served for the next thirtyeight years. During his pastorate the church erected its fifth (present) building. Voss also served as the first president of the Evangelical Protestant Church of North America after its reorganization as a representative body, holding office from 1913 to 1920.(16)
As Voss and others considered the future of the denomination, they looked to the Congregationalists. Congregationalism had developed strong regional and national organizations, while preserving the autonomy of the local churches.
In 1922 Voss began informal conversations with the Congregational officers in New York. A year later the Evangelical Protestant Church asked Voss to chair a committee, enter into negotiations, and draw up a plan for union. Any vote to join the Congregationalists had to be made by the Evangelical Protestant Church as a body, as well as by each individual congregation. Finally, on October 20, 1925, the Evangelical Protestant Church of North America became part of the National Council of Congregational Churches at a meeting in Washington, D.C.(17)
In his address to the National Council on that occasion Voss said:
While your institutions found their birthplace on a different soil from ours, we realize that it is the same spirit of tolerance, freedom, loyalty and devotion, so dear to our hearts, that prevails in your circles. The fact that our churches have always been congregational in their polity has made it doubly easy for us to affiliate with your body. Your history and ours reveal that, while independence is a great treasure, it is not to be confused with irresponsibility, and that only by organization, fellowship and interrelationship can this independence be safeguarded.(18)
The Evangelical Protestant Church joined the Congregational fellowship as a separate, nongeographical conference, functioning like the Calvin (Hungarian) Synod in the United Church of Christ. It had two district associations: one in the Pittsburgh area, with fourteen churches, and one centered in Cincinnati, with thirteen churches in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Missouri. This status as a separate conference was only temporary. In 1935 the Pittsburgh Evangelical Protestant Association dissolved itself, and most of its churches became part of the Congregational Conference of Pennsylvania. Eventually they all did. The one Evangelical Protestant church in Missouri, the Independent Church in St. Louis, joined the Congregational Conference in that state. A separate Evangelical Protestant Conference, embracing only the churches in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, continued to exist for a few years. But on May 17, 1947, at a meeting in St. John’s Church in Newport, Kentucky, it voted to dissolve and become part of the Congregational Christian Conference of Ohio.(19)
After the United Church of Christ was formed, many of the formerly Evangelical Protestant churches joined it. The first of them to bear the new name was in Cincinnati. As mentioned earlier, St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s, the two oldest Evangelical Protestant churches in that city, combined in 1948 to become St. Peter and St. Paul United Church of Christ. This was nine years before the national merger. In the early 1980s the church had about 650 members.(20)
The largest UCC church that was originally Evangelical Protestant is St. John’s UCC in Newport, Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati. In the 1980s it has more than 1,300 members.
The oldest Evangelical Protestant congregation, Smithfield Church in Pittsburgh, still meets on the site of its first meetinghouse in 1794. When it joined the Congregational fellowship in 1925, it had more than 1,000 members. Membership has declined as people have moved from the city to the suburbs. In the late 1960s a small Methodist church federated with it, and the combined congregation, now called Smithfield United Church, had about 500 members in the mid1980s. Its present building on Smithfield Street, erected in 1926, is the fifth church to stand on that spot. Unusual stainedglass windows, depicting historical events in the life of the city and the church, include one scene showing the first Evangelical Protestant pastor, Johann Wilhelm Weber, riding through the forest on his horse.
The Evangelical Protestant Church no longer exists as a distinctive movement. As one who grew up in it has said, “It was a noble effort on the part of many men and women to achieve freedom of mind and spirit, inspired by the Christian faith.”(21) Its legacy has not been lost. The formerly Evangelical Protestant churches play an important role in the life of their communities and in the wider Christian fellowship. The United Church of Christ is a tapestry weaving together many strands and different religious traditions. The Evangelical Protestant heritage is a significant part of that tapestry.(22)
1. Early Pittsburgh history is found in Stefan Lorant, Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964).
2. A history of the German Evangelical Protestant Church in Pittsburgh (Smithfield) was written by Pastor Friedrich Ruoff in 1882. The German text and an English translation are in the archives of Smithfield United Church, Pittsburgh, PA.
3. Quotations from Weber’s journal are found in Ruoff (see n. 2).
4. The Penns also gave land to the First Presbyterian Church and Trinity Episcopal Church, now Trinity Cathedral.
5. The Voegtly Church did not become part of the Evangelical Protestant Church of North America. It joined the Reformed Synod (later the Evangelical and Reformed Church). It no longer exists.
6. The names (locations) and dates of these churches, except for St. John’s in Wheeling, are listed as the Evangelical Protestant Conference in the Congregational Year Book, 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929. Information on St. John’s, Wheeling, was obtained from Carl Hermann Voss, whose grandfather, Eduard Voss, was its pastor. The church did not join the Congregational fellowship and probably no longer exists.
7. Information on the founding of St. Peter and St. Paul is taken from a brochure published by the church.
8. Congregational Year Book, 192629.
9. From a brochure published by the church.
10. I am indebted to Hermine Munter of Smithfield United Church, Pittsburgh. The quotation is taken from a letter from her.
11. Sketches of Eisenlohr and Schmidt are drawn from Charles William Hanko, The Evangelical Protestant Movement (Brooklyn, NY: Educators Publishing Co., 1955), pp. 3031.
12. Ibid., pp. 3233, plus information given by Ruoff’s daughterinlaw, Cecile Ruoff of
Smithfield United Church, Pittsburgh.
13. Hanko, op. cit., pp. 5657. Copies of the publications mentioned are in the archives of the Congregational Library, Boston.
14. Catechism of the Religion of Jesus Christ, with Supplement (Cincinnati: The Evangelical Protestant Church of North America, nd.), pp. 8485. In the archives of Smithfield United Church, Pittsburgh.
15. This summary of the problems of Evangelical Protestant churches is based on an address given by Carl August Voss published in Volkskalender, the yearbook of the Evangelical Protestant Conference, 1926, pp. 5764.
16. Who’s Who in America, 1944; and from Carl Hermann Voss, the son of Carl August Voss.
17. Information on the merger is found in Hanko, op. cit., pp. 7779; from conversations with Carl Hermann Voss; and from the Congregational Year Book, 1926, p. 118.
18. Voss, address in Volkskalender, 1926, pp. 5764.
19. Statistics on the Evangelical Protestant Conference are found in the Congregational Year Book, 1926 to 1947, and in the minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Protestant Conference, May 1618, 1947. Evangelical Protestant churches that joined the Congregational fellowship in 192527 were as follows: Pittsburgh: Smithfield, Birmingham, West End, Duquesne Heights, Spring Hill, Manchester, Mt. Washington, Baum’s (Bloomfield), Homestead; Pittsburgh vicinity: McKeesport, Etna, Tarentum, Beaver Falls, Saxonburg; Cincinnati: St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s, St. John’s on Neeb Road, St. Mark’s, St. John’s of Mt. Auburn; Cincinnati vicinity: Bridgetown, Barnesburg (Mt. Healthy); Kentucky: Newport, St. John’s; Johns Hill, St. John’s; West Covington, St. John’s; Indiana: Madison, United; Osgood, St. Peter’s; Missouri: St. Louis, Independent. Later two new churches were founded and joined the Evangelical Protestant Conference: St. John’s in Harrison, Ohio (1943), and St. Peter’s in Brooksville, Indiana (1945).
20. Information on St. Peter and St. Paul UCC is found in a brochure published by the church.
21. From a letter from Carl Hermann Voss.
22. I am indebted to Harold F. Worthley of the Congregational Library in Boston for his help; to the ministers who have answered letters and sent information about their churches; and especially to Carl Hermann Voss, Hermine Munter, and Cecile Ruoff, who shared their knowledge of the Evangelical Protestant movement and read the manuscript of this chapter, offering suggestions for its improvement.
Curtis Beach is a retired UCC minister living in Maine. From 1959 to 1975 he served as pastor of the Smithfield Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the oldest and largest church in the Evangelical Protestant tradition.