History of Bern Reformed and Lutheran Union Church
The following history appeared in The History of Berks County in Pennsylvania by Morton L. Montgomery, published in 1886 (p. 1130). View Book online.
Bern Church (Reformed and Lutheran) was originally the exclusive property of a German Reformed congregation. This may have been organized as early as 1739, for there are records of baptism bearing that date. In 1743 about fifteen acres of land was surveyed by the Penns for the use of the society, and which was conveyed, in 1748, to Henry Reeser, trustee, for the use of the Calvinists residing in Bern, Cumru and Heidelberg townships. Upon this tract of land a log meeting-house was built, which was in use until some time about 1762, when a rough stone building was put up for a place of worship. This stood until the present edifice took its place, in 1837. In the previous winter the Lutherans arranged to secure an ownership in the property and the present house was built by the joint efforts of both societies. The corner-stone was laid July 30th, and the building completed in the fall of the same year. The church is constructed of brick, two stories high, with galleries, and it presents an attractive appearance.
In 1762 the church lot was enlarged by the purchase of land from Daniel Hiester, which was conveyed to David Brecht (Bright), Matthias Stoudt and Yost Hiester, of Bern, and Henry Spohn and Martin Arnold, of Heidelberg, as trustees. Another purchase was made in 1792, when John Dundore, John Reber and Nicholas Stump were the trustees, making the entire church property about twenty acres. Upon this is a good residence and other improvements.
The church prospered until 1867, when dissensions reduced the membership of the Reformed congregation, and very greatly impaired its usefulness. It has had an increase of membership during the past few years. In 1885 there were three hundred and twenty-five members and Rev. Samuel S. Leinbach was the pastor. His immediate predecessors were Revs. Aaron Leinbach, Franklin H. Swartz and Isaac Miesse.
The Lutheran congregation has prospered under the ministry of the Rev. Thomas T. Iaeger. In 1885 it reported two hundred and eighty members. The church is situated near the northwestern line of the township.
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