History

Rev. Jacobs was duly installed as pastor of the church on Sunday evening, December 14, 1902. The committee of installation, appointed by the president of West Pennsylvania Synod, consisted of Rev. E. Manges and Rev. A.G. Fastnacht. Rev. Manges, a former pastor for Rev. Jacobs, delivered the charge to the pastor. Rev. Fastnacht, a former pastor of Mrs. Jacobs, delivered the charge to the congregation. The visiting ministers performed the act of installation according to the impressive order provided by the Lutheran liturgy. As the act was consummated the officers of the church grasped the hand of the pastor in a hearty welcome. The new pastor upon the congregation and the community. The progress of the new congregation indicated a potential healthy growth.

Rev. Jacob’s entrance upon the work in the parish was marked by many substantial improvements. A plot of ground 32 x 230 feet, located on the east side of the lot upon which the church was erected, was purchased from Rev. Edwin Lenhart by the congregation September 30, 1902 for the sum of $625. On this lot the erection of a parsonage was begun June 13, 1906 and was completed November 1, 1906 at a cost of approximately $3,000.

In nine short years from its beginning, the new St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church became fully self-supporting on September 1, 1908.

The congregation continued to grow and it again became necessary to enlarge the church building. On April 1, 1909, the congregation began remodeling and enlarging the church which was done at a cost of about $1,800. A service of dedication was held on September 12, 1909 at which time the total expense was met.

On November 15, 1912, work was begun on a building 28 x 60 feet, at the rear of the parsonage, to be used for social purposes. It also was the home of the Primary Department of the Sunday School. This building was completed in three months at a cost of $800 which was financed by the Ladies Aid Society.

The Rev. Jacobs presented his resignation as pastor on November 22, 1916 to become effective January 1, 1917. Rev. Hixon T. Bowersox came after him and took charge April 16, 1917. The congrega tion continued to grow and the need for a larger church edifice became apparent. Thus at a congregational meeting held April 5, 1920, the following motion was unanimously passed, “That we build a new church, provided that the canvassing committee can show subscriptions of no less than $10,000.00.” The canvass was made and sufficient funds were received. Ground for the new church was broken in May, 1921. The cornerstone was laid July 31, 1921. The new building was completed and dedicated March 26, 1923. The total cost of the church, including furnishings, was $54,268.89.

Following the resignation of Rev. Bowersox as of July 1, 1925, the congregation extended a call to the Rev. B. Clinton Ritz to become its pastor. He assumed charge of the parish September 16, 1925. During his pastorate, the membership of the Church and Sunday School increased. It became necessary to enlarge the church plant and a two-story addition was built at a cost of approximately $10,000. This new addition was dedicated January 15, 1928.