Conrad Templeman, a pious tailor from Heidelberg, Germany, is said to have preached in the neighborhood of what is now Elizabethtown as early as 1727. Indeed, it seems this pioneer of the Reformed Faith visited two communities in this neighborhood,--both, as a matter of fact, included within the area then known as Donegal. One was about three miles to the east, known as Centerville; and the other, Blasers, about one mile to the south-west. In 1743, a congregation after the Reformed Church Order was organized in the former community, and the following year a church was erected. Thus begins" A Brief Histoy of Christ Reformed Church" written for the two hundredth celebration of our church.
"THE BUILDING TO THE LEFT IS THE INITIAL CHURCH BUILDING, ERECTED IN 1744 AND1745".Christ Church, United Church of Christ in Elizabethtown traces its roots to the two groups of worshippers served by Conrad Templeman. The church at Centerville (now known as Milton Grove) was shared by Rev. John Lischey's Reformed congregati on, a Moravian and a Lutheran congregation. The Moravian sect moved toward a union of the Lutheran and Reformed people sharing the church. The Lutherans saw this as visionary and withdrew, establishing themselves nearer to Elizabethtown . Each of the remaining groups struggled to gain control of the property for themselves. Lischey is said to have transferred the property to the Reformed Church instead of to the Moravians. In retaliation, the Moravians locked the Reformed congregation out of the church one Sunday morning. Consequently, the Reformed congregation turned to the brethren at Blasers. A joint congregation was established at Blasers. A baptismal record begun in 1750 by Rev. John Bartholomaus Reiger lists the names of two children of Peter and Magdalena Blaser. The Blaser family name had been on the record at Centerville as well.
"THE BUILDING TO THE LEFT WAS ERECTED IN 1815. THE BELFRY WAS ADDED IN 1847."n 1767 I Peter Blaser and his wife Magdalena conveyed one acre of land for the co nsideration of twenty shillings to be used by the "High Dutch Presbyterian Congregation of Donegal Township" for the erection of a church. The document states that "All the members of said congregation, their heirs and assigns forever yielding and paying to the said Peter Blaser, his heirs and assigns on the first day of September the yearly rent of one grain of wheat." This was subsequently known as "Blaser's Church." (In the succeeding years the plot has eroded to 4/1 Oth of an acre located one half mile to the south-west of Elizabethtown on the Simon Landis farm. At the October 17, 1979 Congregational Meeting it was decided to obtain a legal deed for the property involved in the bequest. Through research by the Property Committee, we found that the deed was never registered. Gohn Associates were hired to try to legalize the matter. The tract was investigated, surveyed and blueprints were drawn showing its location. The immediate need was to have written consent for a "right-of-way" leading into the property. After much negotiation with the owners of the land surrounding the tract, verbal permission was all that could be gained. Periodically, groups from the church visit the land to preserve and maintain the remaining tombstones. The last group being a Boy Scout Troop in 1992).
THE BUILDING TO THE LEFT WAS REMODELED IN 1857 AND AGAIN IN 1888. The congregation worshipped in the Blaser Church until 1815,when a new building was erected on South Market Street (now the South parking lot) in Elizabethtown. This church was remodeled in 1858 and again in 1888. A parsonage was built in 1874 at 247 South Market Street (in front of what is now the Educational wing). In 1892, we added the sexton's house at 331 South Market Street. CELEBRATE THE PRESENT Our present church building was erected in 1906 on land purchased from Mr. Adam Ream, adjacent to the old church on South Market Street.
"THE BUILDING TO THE RIGHT WAS DEDICATED JANUARY 10, 1909" The stained glass windows from the old church were installed in the new building. In 1925 the parsonage was enlarged and completely renovated. In 1927 the sexton's house was remodeled. The main building was improved by the addition of a social room and kitchen in 1926. The enlargement of the chancel and choir loft, paneling of the chancel, new pulpit furniture, new seating, heating, lighting, and floor coverings were added in 1928. The Educational building was dedicated in 1957. The Sunday School began, as nearly as anyone knows, in 1845. It was organized in the parsonage. In 1964, alterations and redecorating of the Sanctuary , including renovation of the organ, were completed. Two major changes were made to the church properties in the 1970's. The parsonage was demolished in 1971 and the Cherry Alley apartments were torn down in 1979. This enabled us to create more convenient parking areas for our congregation.1983 saw the demolition of the buildings between the church and Verdant Alley. When these properties were purchased, the intent was to rent them until we needed the space for additional parking. The decade of the 1980's was one of increased awareness differences. The Women's Fellowship recognized a need in our church for a barrier-free entrance. They provided the impetus and the funding to build a ramp at the Cherry Alley entrance for the congregation's use in 1985. The basement was renovated in 1987 to accommodate three Sunday School rooms, a choir practice area with robe and music storage, and an office for the choir director. In 1992, the second floor of the Educational building was remodeled. The Kindergarten through Second grade classrooms were updated as well as the Nursery area. In this year a Rodger's Pipe/Electric organ was given to the church as a Memorial Gift from Edna and Jeanette Barnes. The organ was installed in time for the 1993 Anniversary year and dedicated in October of that year.
During the years when our congregation was growing, the greater church was also changing. One of the most visible signs of that growth is the evolution of the name. The High Dutch Presbyterian Church was established in the United States around 1725. The group of Blaser's was known as a High Dutch Presbyterian congregation. The Reformed Church at Centerville joined with the Blaser's congregation to create Christ Reformed Church. In 1934, the Reformed Church of the United States united with the Evangelical Synod of North America to become the Evangelical and Reformed Church. We became known as Christ Evangelical and Reformed Church. In 1957, the Generql Council of Congregational Churches united with the Evangelical and Reformed Church to become the United Church of Christ. We became Christ Church, United Church of Christ. As the time drew near for the two hundred and fifty year celebration, the date of our actual organization became critical. We had records from other celebration which used 1743. 1744, and 1745 as dates. A group of church members read all the related data and chose to establish 1743 as the anniversary date. There was no conclusive evidence for any of the dates but 1743 was mentioned most often. This dilemma was further complicated by the loss of most of the church records in a fire in 1872. The Congregation adopted 1743 as the date of our organization at a congregational meeting. This helped in making changes to the Constitution and Bylaws. "THE BUILDING TO THE LEFT IS THE PRESENT CHURCH BUILDING" (THE PICTURE WAS TAKEN IN THE SPRING OF 2008).