Our History
 
 The earliest record of the existence of a Lutheran church in Shippensburg is that of the baptism of John Kaufman born on October 13, 1770. The first confirmation was that of James Schaaf on May 26, 1787. A September 9, 1778 article of agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran and reformed congregations set forth the regulations governing Union Lutheran and Reformed Churches. The first recorded Communion is listed as being held on May 27, 1787.

     The first house of worship was "the Old Log Church" on Baltimore Road purchased on June 12, 1775. The synod lists that date of organization of the congregation as 1771.

     Over the years, the log church deteriorated and an appeal was made by the Lutheran and German Reformed congregation to Mr. Edward Burd of Philadelphia for land at the corner of South Prince and East Orange Streets. This became the location of the church and burial ground. The building placed there was brick and had a tower containing a bell. Thus it became known as the Bell Church

                                                                                                                                                                       

     In those early days pastors served between four and eight congregations at a time with Holy Communion being celebrated only once a year, the minimum for any established Lutheran body.

The 1800's
     In 1844, the Lutheran and Reformed congregations separated with the Lutherans building a new sanctuary at the corner of Orange and Penn Streets. This congregation was known as Christ's Church of Shippensburg. The congregation was served by a long line of faithful pastors and grew to be a dominant force in the community.

     As the building at Orange and Penn decayed, it was the women of the Mite Society who urged that a new building be constructed. Thus they were charged with raising the funds for a new sanctuary.

     The cornerstone was laid on July 15, 1882 with the completed building being dedicated on August 12, 1883. Because so much of the church had been donated in memory of loved ones a tower stone included the inscription


Memorial
1883
Lutheran Church

     From that time on, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Shippensburg, PA was known as Memorial Lutheran Church. As a result of their fine work, the women were given the privilege of voting at congregational meetings in 1887.

The 1900's
     The congregation was blessed with growth so that in June of 1928 a new Sunday School building which also contained a gym was built. That gymnasium was at times the site of basketball games for the local high school.

     At the suggestion of their pastor, the sanctuary was redesigned. The congregation met in the Sunday School from 1955 to 1956 while construction was under way.

     On Sunday, March 10, 1980 much of the Sunday School structure was destroyed by fire by the hand of an arsonist. The sanctuary remained in tact with the exception that the roof was opened in order to preserve the stained glass windows. Damage was assessed at about one million dollars. During the time of rebuilding, Memorial Lutheran was graciously welcomed to worship in the sanctuary of Messiah United Methodist Church one half block away on Penn Street.

     On Sunday, September 20, 1981 the new Christian Education wing was dedicated.

     Many faithful saints have come and gone from the hallowed halls of Memorial Lutheran Church. We continue to exist, in part, due to the generosity of those who have gone before us. Our purpose remains the same: to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ that it may change lives and be a blessing to all around us.