First Annual Report
of the Activities of
the German Evangelical Lutheran Church
in Stapleton, S.I.N.Y.
Beach Street, Corner of St. Paul’s Avenue
Pastor A. Krause
In the spring of 1902, the Board of Directors of the German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Stapleton, Staten Island, New York, in one of their meetings, passed a resolution: since every year the ????[hestchen] in print in the German language seemed to decrease; that information from the history of the congregation, that a report of the major predecessors within the same, that news of the growth of the work of the congregation, and that declaration of the financial standing of the church’s property, would be suitable to awake and actively support interest in the church community within the German circles of Staten Island.
To implement these resolutions, a committee was chosen, consisting of the present chairman of the Church Executive Committee, Mr. Otto Lindemann; the Church President, Mr. Adolf Schaus, and Pastor A. Krause. If this resulting small book will serve these purposes, then it not only will encourage new members to join the congregation, but also encourage attendance at worship services; but it will also stimulate cooperation in the Sunday School, Choir, Womens Organization, and so forth; and the labour would have then by this same compilation been richly repaid.
Out of the old accounts in the church books it comes forth, that the first church service for Stapleton’s German Evangelical Lutherans and the neighboring places was on 26 October 1856, likely by Pastor Chr. Hennicke, at that time the former clergyman of the German-Lutheran congregation of Port Richmond. In the first congregational meeting, on 22 December 1856, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, in the Methodist-Episcopal Church on Cebra Avenue in Stapleton, by unanimous resolution the name:
“German Evengelical-Lutheran Congregation”
was adopted, and Mr. Andreas Wohlrabe, President, Mr. Ernst F. Kortum, Secretary, and Mr. Heinrich Uhrbrock, Treasurer, were chosen as Trustees. On 7 February 1857, Mr. Ernst F. Kortum and Friedrich Lenting registered the Incorportion of the Congregation in the Richmond County, N.Y. courthouse. The church service were held for three months (rent of 12 ½ dollars) with Pastor Chr. Hennicke in the Methodist-Episcopal Church on Cebra Avenue in Stapleton, until 11 October, when he gave his resignation to the congregation, because he accepted a call from a larger congregation. So the congregation remained from then until the end of 1858 with no Pastor and no services. On January 30, 1859, at the suggestion of Mr. August Haupt in agreement with Mr. F. Lenting, Pastor Goehling of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Port Richmond was invited to hold divine service in the Reformed Church of Stapleton. This was so well attended by the Germans, that on February 22, 1859 a reorganization of the congregation took place, by which the former officers, resigning their positions, were elected: as Elders, Mr. August Haupt, Mr. Julius Dejonge and Mr. G. Widmahr; as Council Members, Mr. L. DeJonge, Mr. H. Uhrbrock, Mr. K. Schaefer, Mr. Ph. Lehn and Mr. J. A. Wolf; as Trustees Mr. F. Lenting, Mr. V. W. Caesar, Mr. C. F. Francke, Mr. C. C. Bordorf and C. F. G. Sudendorf; as Secretary Mr. L. Dejonge; as Deputy-Secretary Mr. G. Uhrbrock; as Treasurer Mr. F. Lenting. At that time, Pastor Goehling was called as minister of the congregation. A general meeting of the congregation in the Unitarian Church on Richmond Turnpike in Castleton was held on February 23, 1862; on this day the whole congregation approved the constitution. Those who in that meeting were elected leaders of the church were solemnly installed in their offices before the altar on Sunday, March 9, 1862. The church committee then together appointed the following men:
Elder for 3 years, Mr. C. Francke
for 2 years, Mr. H. Uhrbrock
for 1 year, Mr. Julius Dejonge
Trustees: for 3 years, Mr. B.W. Caesar and Louis Dejonge
for 2 years, Mr. F. Lenting and D. Bauer
for 1 Year, Mr. Wm. Hauff and C. Winzer
Officers were: President, Mr. Karl Winzer
Secretary, Mr. D. Bauer
Treasurer, Mr. Louis Dejonge.
Up until then, Mr. T. Zorn had kept the cash-book in order. It had a balance of $8.30 and a reserve-fund with a balance of $110.00 . 51 names of members from this time are known. [???] At the annual general meeting on February 5, 1865, in the house of Mr. Louis Dejonge, it was reported that, by the efforts of Mr. Karl Francke, four contiguous lots on the northeast corner of Beach and Richmond Streets were purchased from Mr. Albert Ward for 1000 dollars, under the condition that these building sites be allowed to be used for another purpose: for the erecting of a German Evangelical Lutheran Church and eventually for a necessary outbuilding for the congregation. The Church Council at that time consisted of the following men:
President, P. W. Caesar; Vice-President, D. Bauer; Secretary, Adolph Keppelmann; Treasurer, Louis Dejonge. Three Elders: Karl Francke, Julius Dejonge and H. Uhrbrock. Six Trustees: G.W. Stake, Rud. Lienhart, P.W. Caesar, Louis Dejonge, D. Bauer and Ad. Keppelmann.
So much from the written records of the old church books. By verbal inquiry, it has been further revealed that later, just when is unknown, the building of the previously-mentioned Unitarian Church on Richmond Avenue was purchased by the German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. Afterwards the building was dismantled where it stood, and then reconstructed in its original form at the acquired building site, Beach and Richmond Road, now St. Paul’s Avenue, where it presently serves as the church for the German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. After about 28 years – about 1875 – the parsonage was built on Beach Street, and then on the property behind it, the schoolhouse; in addition to them, between the church and parsonage, a spacious connecting playground was built.
Pastor G. Goehling served as Pastor of the congregation until the middle of October, 1869; he was followed until the end of October 1870 by Pastor Robert Karl Beer. In July 1871 Pastor E. Hering was called by the congregation; his successor on May 1, 1873 was Pastor A. Kühne. Afterwards, his St. John’s German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, which held their services in the “Old Church of the Episcopal Congregation on Richmond St. in Stapleton”, merged with the German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Stapleton.
Since October 1, 1893, the undersigned has been Pastor of the congregation, which at this time counts about 250 members, and of them about 100 voting members. In the Sunday School every Sunday there are 350 children instructed in God’s Word. The church property has a value of about 18,000 dollars, is debt-free, after a mortgage of 4,500 dollars, which after more than 20 years has been paid off over the past 5 years through the good will of an anonymous benefactor. In the summer of 1902 there were improvements to the church buildings, including the erection of a stone wall on St. Paul’s Avenue; painting all three buildings on the outside ( and the church and schoolhouse on the inside as well); laying a broad sidewalk in front of the schoolhouse; new fences around the entire premises; repairs to the church roof and steeple; as well as many other improvements, for which more than 2,000 dollars has been spent.
The preceeding historical account, while not complete in all aspects, should be filled out in next year’s publication. Any information that will help to serve this purpose is heartily requested, and will be gratefully accepted by the undersigned.
Pastor A. Krause
How Can One Become a Member the German Evangelical Lutheran Church?
Everyone who supports the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and understands German, can become a member of the congregation at any time. After notifying the Pastor that he would like to be included in the membership list, he should then declare the level of his contribution to the church. In order to make it possible for the contributions to be accessible to the congregation, they are received in yearly, half-yearly, quarterly, monthly or weekly payments. For the last type – the weekly payments – the so-called “Envelope System” is used.
Every Sunday there are numbered envelopes, with the names of the contributors, ready in the entrance hall. After the contribution is put in and the envelope sealed, it is placed in the offering plate during the offering. If someone cannot make their contribution one Sunday, the next week he will find in the left corner of his envelope, above the line showing the total contributions so far, the past due amount.
Pews are free to everyone. Anyone who would like thie name displayed in a specific place in the church should apply to the Pastor.