First Evangelical Lutheran Church is a Christian community seeking to spread the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, to minister to the needs of our local and global community, and to share the joys of Christian living.
We strive to be a dynamic center for Christian life where God’s people of all ages will experience inspirational worship, sound Christian education, service to others and the witness and support of fellow believers.
As a member congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America we welcome you to share in our life and mission.
First Lutheran is on West Washington Street in downtown Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, two blocks south of the central square, one block west of Main Street.
We are within easy walking distance of restaurants, shops, the Capitol theater, Visitors Bureau, and a walking/biking trail.
A parking lot is available next to the church. Street parking is allowed on Sundays. Additional parking is available across the street in the Southgate Plaza lot.
Our building is Handicapped accessible and air conditioned for summer comfort!
We are a church with three front doors! On Sunday morning the Rose Garden entrance (center entrance) leads to Memorial Hall, office, nursery, elevator and stairs to sanctuary. (photo)
The parking lot entrance (handicapped accessible) is the weekday and Sunday morning entrance, and leads to Fellowship Hall, the ramp to Memorial Hall, the nursery, and the office. (photo)
The Chapel/Narthex door is an alternate Sunday morning entrance, leading to the chapel (first floor) or up the stairs to the sanctuary. To access the elevator walk through the Chapel to Memorial Hall. (photo)
The early history of the Lutheran church in the Chambersburg area began with the settlement of German immigrants during the eighteenth century. Lutheran pastors probably visited the area as early as the 1750’s. The Rev. Bager, pastor at Hanover, began preaching at Grindstone Hill about 1765. When the Rev. Young succeeded the Rev. Bager about 1770 he began to preach also in Chambersburg, continuing until 1783.
On June 28, 1780 Col. Benjamin Chambers, founder of the town, and his wife Jane conveyed to the trustees of the congregation a plot of ground “for building a Lutheran Church in the town of Chambersburg”. The cost was one pound ten shillings plus “annually forever one rose in June”. Rose Rent Sunday is observed each June when a rose is presented to a descendant of Col. Chambers as the annual rent.
A two story log church was erected immediately and shared by the Lutheran and Reformed congregations until they separated in 1808. The log church was then replaced by a brick building which was used until 1854. The early records of the church were probably destroyed during the burning of Chambersburg by Confederate soldiers in 1864. Although the church was not burned, it is believed that the records had been moved for safe keeping to the courthouse which was destroyed in the fire.
The congregation was incorporated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1832 as “the English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Chambersburg.” A few years later a number of families, dissatisfied with the introduction of the English language in the service, withdrew to organize what is now Second Lutheran Church. In the 1890’s a number of members left to organize Trinity Lutheran Church in the north end of town.
Numerous renovations and improvements have been made to the property over the years. In the early 1950’s the present chapel replaced old Sunday School rooms on the first floor of the Sanctuary building and the Parish Hall, originally a high school, was remodeled for social and Sunday School rooms. Memorial Hall was built to connect the two buildings.
- Jeff Dorand, President
- Tom Kriner, Vice President
- Kimberly Martin, Secretary
- Bonnie McKenrick, Treasurer
- Carol McCoy, Financial Secretary
- Christy Burkholder
- Aloma Dawkins
- Deb Fleegal
- Mary Gotwald
- Paul Holbrook
- Steve Schumacher
Much of our life together is accomplished through the work of parish committees. Everyone is invited to be a part of any committee in which they have an interest!
- Christian Education
Deb Fleegal (Tim Gotwald, chair)
Steve Schumacher (Nancy Fricke, chair)
Tom Kriner, chair
- Parish Life
Bonnie McKenrick (Donna Ross & Sandy Drake, co-chairs)
Paul Holbrook & Jeffrey Dorand, co-chairs
- Social Missions
Mary Gotwald (Chair vacancy)
Kim Martin (Gertrude Kampmeyer, chair)
- Youth Ministry
Christy Burkholder (Rod McKenrick, chair)
- Worship and Music
Aloma Dawkins (Gerry Wilson, chair)
- Boy Scouts
Kim Martin & Paul Holbrook , co-chairs
- Nominating Committee: Aloma Dawkins, Bonnie McKenrick, Gertrude Kampmyer, Bob Hammer, Kim Martin, and Tom Kriner
- Potential Intern Committee: Amanda Rankin, Karen Goodman, Greg Plasterer, Ben Yaukey, Nancy Fricke, and Don Mayer