Dover United Church of Christ

Dover United Church of Christ 2013

Dover United Church of Christ 2013

45 W. Canal Street

Dover,PA 17315

717-292-3743

 

 

“Out of the interest of nineteen men, in providing a site for Sunday school sessions of the Dover Union Reformed Sunday School the present church building, excluding basement and the annex, was built. The building was erected by C. H. Quickel for a contract price of $4,710. This did not include excavation, foundation wall, bell and windows.

Ground was broken on May 20, 1902, with a team of 4 horses scooping the ground out and the cornerstone was laid in the fall of 1902. On August 23, 1903, the first Sunday School Session was held. On the following Sunday, the Reverend O. P. Schellhamer conducted the first Worship Service and preached the first sermon. Dedication Sunday was September 6, marked by three services. Total approximate cost of the entire project, including windows, lights, pews, chairs, furnace, was slightly more than $7,000.00.

The United Church of Christ in Dover, with its membership of 250, began modestly in 1902 when the people chose to separate from the parent church, Salem, and began to conduct worship and Sunday school in a school located across from the present church site. This was the third church established in Dover know as the Dover Union Reformed Church.

Reverend Oliver Shellhamer supplied pastoral needs from the time the first sanctuary was completed in 1903 until a year after the organization of the congregation as the Reformed Church in May 1920. It is part of the Salem-Dover Charge. Charger members were: Lucy Bentzel, Margie Lauer Nagle, Anna Bentzel Paules, Mrs. Emory Seifert, Edith Toomey, Kate Wehler, John A. Deardorff, Jr., C. W. Guise, and Charles P. Toomey.

Dr. J. M. Gross donated a part of the tract of land on West Canal that he purchased from Dr. John Ahl on April 1, 1876. It had a frontage of 207 feet and a depth of 250 feet. Dr. Ahl purchased the tract from the estate of Harriet Fries on April 2, 1866. Originally, this was part of the Jacob Joner farm which was conveyed to John Sharp who seems to have transferred it to his son George Sharp who administrators conveyed a little more than 16 acres to John Strayer who died about 1832.

Before Dover Borough was supplied with its own Lutheran and Reformed Churches, it was customary for the villagers to attend services at Strayer’s Union Church. In order to make it easier for pedestrians to get to Strayer’s Church, a narrow strip of land skirting along the northern side of the Canal Road was acquired by the church officials from the landowners, Joseph Hantz and Edward Keesey.

The fence posts were set back from the Canal Road about five feet and the strip of land between the road and the fence was leveled off; making a serviceable side walk which was good for wet or dry seasons. Henry Quickel of Dover built the boardwalk over the meadow between the stone bridge, past the old election house to the high and dry part of the sidewalk.

The church is a brick edifice of Gothic Architecture, with a roof of Peach Bottom slate. It is provided with stained glass windows, depicting Biblical scenes and characters. The interior woodwork is of cypress and the pews of polished hard wood.

On August 12, 1903, the first Sunday school session was held in the new church. The lesson was reviewed by Honorable E. D. Zeigler of York.

It was noted in the minutes of 1909 it was necessary to change the heating system at a cost of $355.00. The Acetylene gas generator lights had to be changed to electric in 1911 for a cost of $155.00.

In the fall of 1921, a plot of ground 85 feet in frontage and 250 feet in depth, adjoining the church was purchased from Dr. J. M. Gross. The price was $595.00 with a discount of $100 as a donation to the church by Dr. Gross.

On August 29, 1921 a property at 93 South Main Street, Dover, PA was purchased for use as a parsonage by the Dover Charge (Dover, Salem, and Shiloh).

The first changes in the building began on September 30, 1934, when the Crusaders and Sunshine Bible Classes were given permission to dig out the basement to provide space for class and social purposes. This project grew and continued until completed in 1949, when a service of dedication for it was held on September 25, 1949.

In 1952, the Dover Reformed Church became the Dover Evangelical and Reformed Church.

Major building renovations in 1954 included a reorienting of church furnishings and addition of the apse where the altar is not located. Originally the pulpit and choir loft were in the recess facing our parking lot. Long pews spanned the middle of the nave, providing two side aisles beyond which were shorter pews. With the addition of the present chancel, the pews were rearranged facing it, and the long pews were divided into two sections with the addition of new end supports.

The Annex as added in 1959 and 1960, providing needed classrooms and a social hall. Dedication was on June 20, 1960. More recently, our stained glass windows were cleaned, completely releaded, and covered with protective storm glass in 1973. In the first week of 1977, new carpeting and new pews were installed, which were dedicated January 9, 1977.

In 1994, after breaking ground on May 16, 1993, a new addition began to take shape. In January, they moved into the new facility and it was dedicated on April 24, 1994. This included an elevator style lift, five new Sunday school classrooms and offices for the Pastor and the Church Secretary, a large conference style meeting room, kitchenette, sanctuary level handicapped accessible restrooms, and new entrances to the North side of the building and into the Sanctuary.”  www.gdhspa.org

REVERAND ARIS FOKAS

REVEREND ARIS FOKAS

     “THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST (UCC) IS A MAINLINE PROTESTANT CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION PRIMARILY IN THE REFORMED TRADITION, IN “HISTORICAL CONTINUATION OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES FOUNDED UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF NEW ENGLAND PURITANISM.”

THE EVANGELICAL AND REFORMED CHURCH AND THE CONGREGATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCHES UNITED IN 1957 TO FORM THE UCC. THESE TWO DENOMINATIONS, WHICH WERE THEMSELVES THE RESULT OF EARLIER UNIONS, HAD THEIR ROOTS IN CONGREGATIONAL, EVANGELICAL, AND REFORMED DENOMINATIONS. THE UCC’S 5,287 CONGREGATIONS CLAIM 1,080,198 MEMBERS, PRIMARILY IN THE UNITED STATES.”  (http://www.doverducc.org)

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