Zion Evangelical United Brethren Church – Berlin, Ontario
The name – The Evangelical United Brethren Church – is a composite name taken when the Evangelical Church and the United Brethren in Christ Church united in 1946.
Both denominations had their rise in the Revivalism Period of the early 1800’s in the eastern United States. Both Churches felt called to minister to the large numbers of German-speaking people migrating from Europe and settling chiefly in Pennsylvania and the eastern States.
The Evangelical Church came into being through the efforts of Jacob Albright, a humble but devout tile-maker who resided near Pottstown Pennsylvania. Upon his conversion he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and soon became a class leader. His great concern was that the Methodist Church should go out in a ministry in the German language to the throngs of settlers who could not understand or use the English language.
Receiving permission to go out in this ministry, he was well received, and soon had founded Classes, appointed Class Leaders, and became an Exhorter to those Leaders. This movement developed to such an extent in Pennsylvania and the neighbouring States that by 1807 these groups and their Leaders were formed into what was called “The Newly Formed Methodist Conference”. Jacob Albright was appointed a Minister, and later became the first Bishop of the new Church.
At first there was no intention of separaing from the Methodist Episcopal Church, but as the movement developed , separate Conferences were held in the German language, and eventually in 1816 at the First General Conference, the new denomination came into being under the name – The Evangelical Association, which later, in 1922, was changed to “The Evangelical Church”.
The United Brethren in Christ Church came into being at approximately the same perior, and in the same area of the eastern States. The founders were Philip William Otterbein, a German Reformed Church minister from Germany, and Martin Boehm, a Mennonite who collaborated in 1800 to form “The Church of the United Brethren in Christ”.
Both of these Leaders had been greatly influenced by the preaching of a Methodist minister, the Rev. George Whitfield. Both were friends of Rev. Francis Asbury, and later Otterbein assisted in the consecration of Asbury as the first Bishop of the newly-formed “Methodist Episcopal Church in America”. Only the fact that these Leaders too felt called to minister in the German Language to the German settlers, led them to form their separate denomination.
Both the Evangelical Church, and the United Brethren were organized according to the Methodist Episcopal Polity, with Bishops and Superintendents, with orders of Deacons and Elders to the Ministry, and Lay Class Leaders and Exhorters. They both met in Annual and General Conferences. Their Books of Discipline were patterned after the Methodist Book, and their Articles of Faith were taken almost verbatim from the Doctrines of the Methodist Church.
Since both denominations were ministering to German people in the German language they were often moving into the same areas where the immigrants had settled. Accordingly in their early eras of expansion, they moved almost simultaneously westward from the eastern States into the States of Ohio, Erie, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and eventually on into the western States. In the early 1800’s both denominations also moved into Upper Canada to establish congregations and Conferences in Ontario. These congregations, in both instances, at first were part of Conferences in the State of New York.
The first congregation of the Evangelical Church was established in Berlin, Ontario in 1839. In 1837 a stirring Camp meeting was held in a woods now in Waterloo near the Moses Springer Park, where a National Site Marker indicates the place. Following this Camp meeting, which was attended by Bishop John Seybert from Pennsylvania, two Classes were formed, one in Berlin, the other in Waterloo. In 1841 the first Church was built on Scott St. to house the first congregation in Ontario and named Zion Evangelical Church. A second larger Church was built on Queen St. south opposite Church St. in 1866, and in 1893 the present sanctuary on Weber St. was constructed.
Other early Evangelical Churches were built in Waterloo in 1851, in Lexington, in Wallenstein and in Woolwich. As the Church expanded, congregations were established throughout the counties of Waterloo, Huron, Bruce and Grey, and in the areas of Hamilton, Niagara, along Lake Erie, in the Ottawa Valley, and in the Parry Sound District. Again, wherever there were settlements of German-speaking people, there the Church moved in to minister to them.
As the Church expanded, the congregations felt that they should be organized into a Conference of their own. Accordingly, the ministers and churches were separated from the New York Conference and in 1864 the first Canada Conference was formed. Later, ministers and missionaries went into the prairie Provinces and established congregations among the German settlers there. In 1926 a second Conference was organized, named the Northwest Canada Conference, and bringing together all congregations in the Prairie Provinces and in British Columbia.
United Brethren in Christ Church
The United Brethren in Christ Church moved into Ontario as early as 1825 with Missionary Preachers coming from the United Brethren New York and Pennsylvania Conferences. These Missionaries established Congregations in the Niagara area, the Sheffield-Beverly area, and eventually in Berlin. The first Ontarion Conference was held in 1856 in the village of Sheffield.
…from Rev. Emerson Hallman
Guelph Evangelical Chapel Opened – May 10, 1857
On Sunday, May 10th, a chapel, intended for the Evangelical Union congregation, was opened, sermons being preached by Rev. R. Peden of Hamilton, who was assisted in the devotional exercises by Rev. E. Barker of Eramosa, and Rev. John McDougall, pastor of the church. The Chapel, capable of holding between two and three hundred persons, was well filled at all services. On Monday evening a tea meeting was held, following by a public meeting, Rev. J. McDougall in the chair. Addresses were delivered by Rev. R. Paul (Primitive Methodist), Rev. Dr. Cooney (Wesleyan), Rev. E. Barker (Congregationalist), Rev. J. Clarke (Baptist), and Rev. R. Peden (Evangelical Union).
…from “Annals of the Town of Guelph – 1827-1877” by C. Acton Burrows
Tavistock Evangelical Methodist Church
The Evangelical Methodist Church, a frame edifice was opened in 1869 with Rev. John Staeppler in charge.
In 1835 Rev. Donald McKenzie of Zorra made numerous calls on the pioneers of Easthopes.
He performed to first baptism, that of Duncan, seventh child of James Stewart and Catharine Fraser on Lot 30 Con 2
In 1840, August 15th., Rev. Daniel Allan from Glasgow, Scotland became pastor of St. Andrew’s in Stratford. By this time services had been transferred fromthe Bell home to the log school just west of the grave yard. He was pastor for 31 years.
Rev. John Bell preached from 1857 to 1876. George Hyde, Charles McTavish, Robert Fraser, and John Stewart were elders.
The material for building the new church was brought from New Hamburg, 12 miles away, by sleighs drawn by oxen. When this work was done on Lot 26 Con 5 no one in the community had horses.
In 1881 they united with Tavistock. Previous to 1867 the congregation held meetings in the log school on the corner of Lot 20 Con 11 the farm of William Amos.
Rev. Thomas Stephen was supply minister. In 1859 James McDonald and peter Stewart appointed as elders.
Oetzel’s Church on Lot 5 Con 6 was a log building. The Evangelicals built a stone church in 1852. The first Sabbath School was founded by Charles Strosser in 1848. Other membvers were the Hamels and the Falks.
Sebastopol was first settled in 1830 by Henry Heyrock, Henry Schaefer and Henry Eckstein. In 1848 Eckstein built a tavern for the Canada Company. Rev. Horn was first minister in 1832. The church had a clock in its tower..
Sabbath days were kept sacred, as days of worship and rest. A fine was imposed on anyone neglecting to keep the Lord’s Day. No one was allowed to travel the roads except to church service. No baseball or other games were played.
…from Reveries of a Pioneer – Perth County
by Vera Ernst McNichol
Aldboro, Berlin, New Hamburg, St. Jacobs, Waterloo, South Cayuga, Carrick, Fullarton, Stoney Creek, Campden, Sebringville, Lingelbach’s, Mildmay, Crediton, Zurich, Chesley-Hamilton, Wallace, Tavistock, Port Elgin, Dashwood, Alice, Elmira, Bismark, Hanover, Milverton, Pembroke, Alsfeldt, Kitchener, Golden Lake, Stratford, Bridgeport, Pelham, Calvary, Olivet-Woolwich, St. Timothy’s-Zion, Oetzel’s, Roseville, Wilmot Centre, Bethel, Floradale, Linden Park, Morriston, Attercliffe Station, Rainham, Kohler, Selkirk, Willoughby, Elmwood, Ayton, Bruce, Clifford, Kurtzville Arnprior, Arnstein, Rye, Augsburg, Wilberforce, Letterkenny, Emmanuel, Palmer Rapids, Rostock, Rosenthal, Oak Ridge, Rodney, South Easthope, McKillop, Lisbon, Locksley, Killaloe, Listowel, Petawawa, Schutt
Rev. J.G. Staebler, Rev. John Lingelbach, Rev. Jacob Anthes, Rev. Holtzman, Rev L. Rothaermel, Rev. W. Sauer, Rev. S. Weber, Rev. F. Herlan, Rev. J. Thede, Rev. G. Finkbeiner, Rev. F. Scharffe, Rev. J. Hauch, Rev. E. Eby, Rev. H. Dierlamm, Rev. S.L. Umbach, Rev. Jacob Walter, Rev. A. Geiger, Rev. J. Umbach, Rev. E. Graff, Rev. H.A. Thomas, Rev. L.P. Amacher, Rev. D. Reider, Rev. D. Kreh, Rev. G. Domm, Rev. H.G. Schmidt, Rev. George Braun, Rev. A. Haist, Rev. L. Wittich, Rev. S. Krupp, Rev. Isaac Lachman, Rev. M. Wing, Rev. J.C.Morlock, Rev. L. Eidt, Rev. E.D. Becker, Rev. J.G. Burn, Rev. D.H. Clemens, Rev. W.S. Henrich, Rev. J.K. Schwalm, Rev. J.G. Litt, Rev. August Getz, Rev. J.A. Schmitt, Rev. J, Morley, Rev. W.J. Yager, Rev. J.W. Groh, Rev. A.W. Sauer,
Rev. A.F. Stoltz, Rev. W.Y. Dreier, Rev. W.J. Zimmerman, Rev. K. Gretzenger, Rev. S.L. Hauch, Rev. Emil Burn, Rev. J.P.Hauch, Rev. L.H. Wagner, Rev. G.F. Brown, Rev. J.H. Grenzebach, Rev. F. Meyer, Rev. S. Knechtel, Rev. E.H. Bean, Rev. I.C. Armstrong, Rev. W.O. Hatne, Rev. F.B. Meyer, Rev. E.E. Domm, Rev. J.S. Burn, Rev. H.H. Leibold, Rev. H.A. Kellerman, Rev. A. Clemens, Rev. C.H. Cornwell, Rev.W.E. Breese, Rev. J. Wettlaufer, Rev. L. Pletch, Rev. G.A. Beacroft, Rev. C,R. Kauth, Rev. N. Reibling, Rev. E. Gishler, Rev. M. Geil, Rev. O. Hallman, Rev. A.T. Nash
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