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 Colonel 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 Colonel and Mrs. 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 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 organized Trinity Lutheran Church in the north end of town, so the walk to church would be closer for families.
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. In the renovation process the graveyard was closed, but headstones still remain in the yard behind the church.
Throughout the many years, First Lutheran has had many faithful pastors, congregational leaders and members. God has certainly blessed us to be a blessing to others.