Who We Are
Early records show that Gottfried Fidler and Samuel Filbert each donated one acre of land for the church. The agreements are dated December 25, 1745. A copy of Samuel Filbert’s agreement states that “as long as this church remains on this spot it shall be called an Evangelical Lutheran Church forever.”
By the late 1780’s the log church was in poor condition. The church Elders put out a call to “all charitable Christian Brethren” for monetary subscriptions to enable completion of the new house of worship.
The square Colonial Northkill Church, built of locally made brick, was completed in 1791. The interior featured a high pulpit with curved stairways on either side and a balcony on the other walls. A Dieffenbach organ was built and installed by Jacob and Christian Dieffenbach. The first floor provided the seating area for women and older men. There were separate sections for each age and sex. Deacons and elders had box seats.
In 1834, 16 German Reformed families petitioned the congregation to be allowed to hold their worship services in the building. Unaware of the stipulation that “this shall be called an Evangelical Lutheran Church forever,” the petition was granted, and the Northkill Church became St. John’s Union Church.
Dissension developed between the two congregations resulting in a separation and construction of two church buildings. The Gothic style Evangelical Lutheran Friedens Church was erected on the original church property, corner of Main and Washington Streets. Construction was begun in 1897 with the dedication on September 18, 1898. The Reformed congregation constructed St. Thomas Reformed across the street from Friedens. Some primitive art renditions of the early and later Friedens churches are seen here, painted by Earl Reeser.
The current church building was erected without a full basement. A small basement, in time, housed the heating system and plumbing. In 1954 work began to enlarge the basement. The area beneath the present Adult Sunday School and choir rooms was excavated entirely by volunteer hand-labor. The results were a Fellowship room and small kitchen. During 1962-1963 additional mechanical excavation under the nave provided a large fellowship hall and Sunday School rooms.
Over the years a number of upgrades, improvements and renovations have included stained glass window repair, organ upgrade, a new kitchen and renovations after surviving a fire in 2001 caused by a lightning strike that damaged the roof.
During its long history, the congregation at Friedens has been faithful in proclaiming God’s Word and knowing that we exist for and by the proclamation of the Gospel. Through its various outreach activities, it continues its long tradition of serving the community. Throughout the week our members continue to strive to live by faith, serving others freely and generously in all that they do because of God’s promise in the Gospels. In small groups and at sick beds, in private devotions and in daily work, we believe this faith saturates all of life.