About Reformation Lutheran Church
The beginning of Lutheran evangelism here in
Media can be attributed to Anna Tinsman's desire
to start a Lutheran Sunday School in 1947. Together
with Alyce Thompson, on April 13, 1947, the ladies
conduct the first Sunday School class in the Tinsman
home, with five children in attendance. St. Matthew's
Lutheran Church in Springfield gives its moral
support to the Media Sunday School effort, contributing
nine small chairs for the classes. Later the same
year, the Tinsman family joins St. Matthew's and
subsequently, Anna, Alyce and Ruth Kuder teach
Sunday School there, all the while keeping the
Media program moving forward on Sunday afternoons.
The Media Sunday School offerings are contributed
to St. Matthew's, with all operating expenses
being covered by the teachers.
Mission Church Begins
Anna, Alyce and Ruth see the need for a Lutheran
Church in the Media area and are compelled to write
to the ELCA Board of Home Missions, asking them
to examine the possibilities. A survey is made and
Pastor Robert E. Anderson, a recent graduate from
Union Theological Seminary, is selected to establish
a congregation. By this time, the Media Lutheran
Sunday School has 23 enrolled students and a nucleus
of 38 adults to help form a new mission church.
Things move forward quickly.
Pastor Robert E. Anderson
Only a few weeks later, on June 25, 1950, the first
Lutheran Service is held in the Upper Providence
Township building with 55 in attendance. A gift
of $100 from St. Matthew's helps Anna Tinsman and
Pastor Anderson purchase the Communion Service,
a wooden cross, two candlesticks, and two wooden
offering plates for the initial service. For the
next three years a Sunday worship program is held
in this location (for which the Church pays $120/year
Township Building - 1950
On Reformation Sunday, October 29, 1950, The
Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Church is formally
organized with 80 people signing a petition for
a charter. The first congregational meeting is
held the following Friday evening and Sam Montgomery
is elected President of Council. A short time
later, a choir is organized and directed by Mrs.
Cecil Thomason with Mrs. Sidney Weber as organist.
The ELCA Board of Home Missions is instrumental
in assisting the early Church with financial support.
In 1951, a parsonage is purchased at 14 Letitia
Lane in Media. Many meetings are held here during
the next three years, including Church Council,
Confirmation classes, and various auxiliary organizations.
Also in 1951, 3.9 acres of land for a future
Church site are purchased at the corner of Rose
Tree and Providence Roads, at a cost of $6,000.
By December 1952, the Church Council has collected
$20,000 in cash and pledges, an amount sufficient
to get a building program underway. A ground breaking
is held on May 7, 1953, for the Church School
building and six months later, the new Church
School is dedicated on Nov. 1. Theodore Kuder
and Robert Atkins, serving as successive Building
Committee chairmen, are pivotal in bringing this
effort to completion. The final cost is $72,000,
including furnishings, landscaping and a parking
lot. By now, the Church has increased in size
to 187 adult confirmed members.
By 1956, the Church is financially self sufficient
and assumes full responsibility for Pastor Anderson's
salary. The same year, Eugene Hinkle becomes Choir
Director and Organist. By now, the Church School
is growing faster than the congregation, and more
space is required. In 1957, a three year building
campaign is organized under the direction of William
In 1958, our now distinguished Day School Nursery
starts up, with Mrs. Geniveve Baker serving as
the first director.
By June 1959, all mortgages on the Church School
buildings are paid off, but pledges and contributions
for the new sanctuary are insufficient to start
new construction. To finance the program, ten
year bonds are sold to make ground breaking possible
on January 31, 1960. On December 4, ten months
later, the new sanctuary building is dedicated.
By 1960, Reformation Church has grown to approximately
450 adult confirmed members, at which point the
congregation holds fairly steady over the next
In 1964, David Leibig becomes the Choir Director
and Organist, a position he holds for 28 years,
until his untimely death in 1992. During this
time, the choir grows to 35 + voices and is recognized
as one of the premier church choirs in the community.
In 1966, Barbara Creighton becomes the Day School
Nursery Director, a position she holds for 25
years. The Day School becomes a role model, with
over 1,000 children matriculating from the program
during her tenure.
The Reverend Richard Hess becomes Associate Pastor
in 1969, with primary responsibility for the youth
of the Church. He moves on to take another Call
in 1971. Diana DePugh then becomes the first lay
The third and final phase of the original construction
plan calls for a Youth Center and Education Wing.
The building phase is completed and dedicated
in October 1972, for a cost of $280,000. A special
room is named after Alyce Thompson in honor or
her many years of teaching in Sunday School.
In the Spring of 1979, Pastor Anderson suffers
a stroke and retires officially a year later with
a retirement dinner at the Log Cabin Inn. Pastor
Willie Hackenberg steps in as interim pastor.
Jane Cooper, as Vice-President of Church Council,
provides capable leadership during the transition
between full time pastors.
Pastor William F. Scholl is Called in June 1980,
and becomes only the second pastor in the Church's
30 year history.
The early and mid-1980s represented some dynamic
changes for the Church in terms of Stewardship,
Worship and Christian Education programs. The
Synod adopts a new hymnal and worship service,
which is introduced into our worship program,
hut not without its share of controversy. A formal
Stewardship program is established in 1981, with
an every member visitation to launch it. The same
year, a two-year Catechetical program is established.
Council reorganizes itself into six committees,
with two members on each, and Pastor no longer
as the Council President. Joanne Horton is elected
as the first woman lay President.
By mid-1982, the Church leadership believes Reformation
to have sufficient financial support and pastoral
need to bring in Pastor Rinda G. Rogers as Associate
Pastor. Significant numbers of young people and
families begin to appear among the now aging congregation,
a vital sign for new growth.
The Church acquires a new "look" and a new "sound"
in 1983-84 with the introduction of a new pulpit,
lectern and altar dedicated to the memory of Lany
Smith by his wife Barbara, and the new electronic
Allen ADC 8000 organ. The organ costs $70,000
and is funded through a separate congregational
money raising effort.
In 1984, an Adult Forum is introduced and held
between the 9:00 and 11:15 a.m. services, with
both clergy and lay persons leading this program.
The Church's long term financial security remains
a concern, with the mortgage indebtedness continually
strapping the yearly operating budget. The creation
of an Endowment Fund through a "Miracle Sunday"
campaign by the Stewardship Committee is established
in 1984, with an initial goal of $100,000. Over
$60,000 is raised that year, and under the able
management of Cal Deininger, the fund grows to
over $200,000. The mortgage is paid off in 1985
and for the first time, the Church is financially
able to pay its full 100 % share of the ELCA's
In 1985, Doris Waters, a member of Reformation,
celebrates her ordination on January 3. The following
year, Patricia Johnson, another Church member,
is ordained on October 25.
1986 marks another year of dramatic change for
the Church. Both Pastors Scholl and Rogers leave,
in April and June respectively, for other assignments.
Recently retired from St. Matthews Lutheran Church,
Pastor William Elbert agrees to serve as interim
pastor for one year.
In June 1987, Pastor Albert I. Douglass answers
our Call and begins his ministry as Reformation's
third full time Pastor. The Church continues to
grow and flourish, adding many new members during
his ensuing eight years of pastoral leadership.
The Sunday School and Christian Education programs
grow in size and scope during these years, as
does the evangelical outreach program to the local
Thirty seven years after her helpful role in
starting the Church, Ruth Kuder continues to play
a leadership role, starting the Aid-for-Friends
program (meals prepared in the church social hall
and frozen, for distribution to elderly and/or
In July 1989, Pastor James A. Daniels becomes
the Assistant Pastor, reflecting the Church's
growth and need for expanded spiritual leadership.
With the increase in working mothers and dual
income families, the Church is able to meet another
community need with the Stay and Play program.
"The Church's Day Care Center and Social Hall
now provide facilities for adult supervision of
primary school aged children both before and after
regular school hours, while the parent(s) work.
The program begins in September 1990, under Barbara
Creighton's leadership. During the same year,
a large cross was mounted on the face of the sanctuary
building, in memory of Marion Diament by her husband
A very active Property Committee has been busy
and completes an extensive renovation of the Social
Hall in 1991, including new paneling, ceiling
tiles and lighting fixtures.
Following the sudden death of our beloved Choir
Director, David Leibig in 1992, our Church successfully
recruits Marian Horn Miller as the new Minister
of Music in 1993. Together with Patti Rahi, Youth
Choir Director, the music program continues to
he a keystone in Reformation's spiritual foundation
under the capable leadership of these dedicated
Pastor Daniels officially retires as the Assistant
Pastor in 1993, but continues on as Chaplain at
Elwyn Institute, a program begun a few years earlier
as an extension of Reformation's outreach.
In the Fall of 1994, Lee Miller, a student at
the Lutheran Seminary in Mt. Airy, becomes Reformation's
Youth Director and later begins to help teach
the Confirmation classes. In the same year, Reformation
becomes the Companion Church with the Pangani
Parish in Tanzania, Africa. In December, the Anderson
Memorial Carillon is installed.
In 1995, Pastor Douglass receives a Call and
resigns as our Pastor in April. Pastor Edward
Treichel, recently retired from St. Paul Lutheran
Church in Ardmore, steps in as interim pastor.
In June, 1996, Rev. Larry V. Smoose became our
fourth pastor, bringing with him impressive experience
as Synod Secretary, ELCA Church Council member,
and pastor of God's Love Church in Newtown. Since
his arrival, innovations have included additional
services, experimentation with contemporary worship,
new ministries (Fellowship and Global Mission)
a church administrative year that begins in the
summer, new education and outreach projects and
programs, and a three- year Confirmation program.
Physically, the church's office wing was renovated
and the computer and telephone systems updated.
Strategic long-range planning, begun in 1998,
produced a new mission statement and task forces
to explore church program and facilities needs
for the new century.
Personnel additions and changes dominated the
last three years. In 1997-98, we were fortunate
to have the services of a Seminary Intern, Vicar
Jennifer Hitt; in 1998, Linda Furia became the
Director of Music; in 1999, the Rev. Mark Crozier-
Christy was called as Chaplain to Elwyn, and we
welcomed another Seminary Intern, Vicar Leah Schade,
along with Justin Johnson as Youth Director.
As we begin the 21st Century and celebrate our
50th Anniversary, we are envisioning a building
renovation and expansion program, and positioning
our Church and its members to: