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).
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.
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,
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.
Trinity Church Archivist