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One of Miamisburg, Ohio's oldest Christian Churches.

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Easter Sunday March 1925

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The Friendly Sunday School Class 1964 Reunion

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Trinty Reformed Church Sanctuary Choir circa 1950s

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Our Church History

On April 27, 1793, the Synod of the Reformed Churches of Pennsylvania formed and declared themselves independent of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands in Europe. The Synod consisted of the seventy-eight congregations of which 70 % were without a pastor.  Communicants numbered nearly 1500 and were situated mainly in Eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland. As time passed, more appeared in Western Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina.

Missionary pastors traveled westward and ministered to the needs of pioneers in the Ohio country. Among these missionary pastors were Rev. Jacob Christman ( 1804), Rev. John Jacob LaRose (1805), Rev. Thomas Winters (1809), Rev. Jacob W. Dechant (1815) and Rev. John Peter Dechant (1819).

For further background on the area and the trials of these missionary pastors, see the translation from German of Rev. Paul Henkel’s Journal, written during his Lutheran missionary journey to Ohio in 1806, and published in Ohio Archaeological and Historical Publications, Vol. xxm (1914). Names include heads of German households in German and Washington Townships, Montgomery Co. A copy is located at the Dayton & Montgomery County Public Library.

With the founding of Miamisburg in 1818, residents held a public meeting on May 1st and agreed to the terms of erection of a schoolhouse on the lot which is now the northeast corner of Central Avenue and First Street. In the Spring of 1820, ten or twelve members belonging to the Gebhart’s (St. John’s) and  Stettler’s congregations joined together to form the congregation at  Miamisburg. They met in the little schoolhouse, which was completed in 1818.

The newly formed congregation served as a missionary outpost with informal and irregular services until 1824, when Rev: David Winters arrived to begin a pastorate which lasted nine years.

In 1822, The German Reformed Congregation was incorporated with the German Lutherans as a “Union” church. With this arrangement, the two congregations used the little schoolhouse on an alternating basis.

Efforts to build a house of worship were unsuccessful until 1830 when a brick structure was built on a lot east of the little schoolhouse and cemetery. Because of a lack of funds, the structure was not completed until 1833. This building served both congregations until the union between the Lutheran            and Reformed congregations was dissolved on January 12, 1861. Less than a month later the Reformed congregation purchased its present location at the Northeast corner of what is now Second St. and Linden Ave. The church has had two buildings at this location. The first was a 2-story building with a  basement and spire which stood from 1863-1900. In July of 1900, this building was razed and the present structure was built. In 1959, an  educational wing was added.

Throughout the past 192 years, 19 pastors have been called to serve this congregation in a regulart full time position. They are as follows:

  • Rev. David Winters 1824-1833
  • Rev. Jacob Decombes 1835-1837
  • Rev. Elijah Kuhns 1836-1838
  • Rev. George Long 1840-1851
  • Rev. William Zieber  1852-1854
  • Rev. Isaac Reiter  1854-1874
  • Rev. William McCaughey 1875-1881
  • Rev. Henry H. Herman 1881-1912
  • Rev. Henry N. Kerst  1912-1918
  • Rev. Nevin B. Mathes 1919-1929
  • Rev. George Longaker 1929-1934
  • Rev. H. Grady Shoffner  1935-1964
  • Rev. James G. Deitz  1964-1973
  • Rev. John M. Clausing 1974-1981
  • Rev. Rodney J. Crowell  1982-1985
  • Rev. Eddie A. Bray 1986-1995
  • Rev. Craig E. Showalter  1997-2000
  • Rev. Julie G. Olmsted  2005-2010
  • Rev. Joel L. Getts  2012 - present

 

In addition to this congregation having four distinct meeting places at three different locations within a two block area, it has also gone through several name changes. From its earliest years, the members were collectively known as the German Reformed Church or Congregation. Shortly before the official dissolution of the “union” arrangement with the Lutheran congregation in January of 1861, the congregation was officailly incorporated as the First German Reformed Church of Miamisburg, Ohio on Aug. 7, 1860. By 1869, the word German” was dropped from the name and the congregation became the First Reformed Church of Miamisburg. In addition, the Miamisburg Congregation was linked with three other Reformed Church Congregations; St. John’s (Gebhart’s), Salem at Springboro, and Farmersville in what was known as the” Miamisburg Charge “. One minister served all four congregations and preached on a rotating basis. By 1870, the First Reformed Church of Miamisburg became a “charge” in itself. Rev. I. H. Reiter was instrumental in dissolving the “union” church and establishing the Miamisburg Church as an independent congregation, requiring a full-time pastor.

The congregation continued to be known as the First Reformed Church for the next 64 years. With the merger of the Reformed Church of the United States and the Evangelical Synod of North America, the name became First Evangelical and Reformed Church of Miamisburg, Ohio. A movement within the local church created a name change on May 25, 1945, to the Trinity Evangelical and Reformed Church of Miamisburg, Ohio. The present name originated on June 25, 1957, with the merger of the Congregational Christian denomination and the Evangelical and Reformed denomination, thus creating Trinity United Church of Christ, Miamisburg, Ohio.

 

 

The congregation has experienced six identifying names over the entire history of its existence. They are as follows:

  • German Reformed Church 1820-1860
  • First German Reformed Church 1860-1869
  • First Reformed Church 1869-1934
  • First Evangelical and Reformed Church 1934-1945
  • Trinity Evangelical and Reformed Church 1945-1957
  • Trinity United Church of Christ  1957-2012

 

In summary, over a period of 190 years, in Miamisburg this Congregation has been situated in three distinct locations, has been served by nineteen regularly called pastors, and has had six names.

 

Dale E. Schmolinsky

Trinity Church Archivist

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Mayor Dick Church Welcomes Pastor Joe & Jeri to the Pastorate of Trinity Church on February 19,2012

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Lineart of our Church circa post WWII

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Line art of our Church in the 1960s

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Red ribbons marked the 1913 Flood water levels in the Sanctuary during March 2013

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Dale Schmolinsky compiled an exhibit of historical data and pictures on the 1913 Flood.

Trinity Church
203 E. Linden Ave.
Miamisburg, Ohio 45342
(937)866-1992