St. John’s Lutheran Church of Creagerstown
by Theresa Dardanell
St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is on the left and the Union Church is on the right.
If your summer plans include visiting locations on the National Register of Historic Places, make sure you add St. John’s Church at Creagerstown Historic District to your list. The complex consists of three buildings, all owned by the church. The Union Church building (originally called the Reformed Church) was built jointly in 1834 and shared by the Reformed Church and the Lutherans until 1908. A new church, St. John’s Lutheran, was built and dedicated in 1909. A third building, the Parish House, was built in 1880, originally used as a two-room schoolhouse and purchased by the Lutheran Church in 1926. The adjacent community cemetery is also included in the historic district.
After the new church was built, the Union Church building fell into disrepair and was used only for storage. However, it is now in the process of being restored with help from the Maryland Historical Society. Completed renovations include a new roof and floor, the addition of heating and air-conditioning, and repairs to the basement. The beautiful chandelier and pews from the Union Church were moved to the Lutheran Church. Although the renovations to the Union Church building are not complete, services are held there, as well as in the new church. The Parish House is used for dinners and other community events.
St. John’s is the oldest Lutheran congregation in Western Maryland. Although it was established in 1732, members worshiped in various locations until they moved into their current buildings. They are proud of their continuous tradition of spirituality, community service, and God’s fellowship. Pastor Wayne Blaser said that members of the congregation care for one another and look out for one another. The small congregation generously supports local and worldwide organizations. Local outreach includes donations to the Thurmont Ministerium, Thurmont Food Bank, Clothes Closet Ministry in Thurmont, and the Religious Coalition in Frederick. They also participate in the summer enrichment camp for students. Global support is provided to Operation Christmas Child, which provides shoe boxes full of supplies for children around the world. Money donated during special collections is sent to areas affected by natural disasters; recent donations were sent to Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. One of the Lutheran Church Mission programs is the “noisy change” offering once a year. Members drop their loose change in a bucket (along with a check for an additional donation) that is taken to the Synod meeting in June, where it is used for the Lutheran Hunger Program.
Everyone is invited to attend the fundraising dinners, which are held throughout the year. The February dinner, held from 12:00-5:00 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month, features turkey and fried oysters. On the Saturday before Mother’s Day in May, a dinner of fried chicken and country ham, along with chicken and ham slippery pot pies, is served from 12:00-5:00 p.m. Proceeds from the May dinner support the operation of the community cemetery and local street lighting. The menu for the June dinner varies from year to year; this year, it featured fried chicken and pork BBQ. Funds raised at this event help families who face financial hardship due to a major health crises. It is usually held on the second Saturday in June. Plan to spend some time from noon to 5:00 p.m. on the Saturday of Colorfest weekend at the October “Cafe,” where you can enjoy a variety of sandwiches, side dishes, and desserts. The Thanksgiving Day dinner, served from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., is a 125-year-old tradition in Creagerstown. At the Christmas Bazaar on the first Saturday in December, food and baked goods are available, along with the indoor yard sale from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. The dedicated members of the “Faithful Workers” group organize and conduct these events for the benefit of the church and community.
Special musical events are held at various times throughout the year at the church, and are open to the community; a free-will offering is gratefully accepted. The “Day Star” Southern Gospel group will be performing on October 7, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. The Blue Grass Chapel Band will be performing on November 11, 2018, at 6:30 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to attend the weekly 9:30 a.m. Sunday service, which includes the exchange of peace among those in attendance, prayers and readings, the message given by Pastor Wayne, and holy communion. An enthusiastic choir and an organist lead the congregation in musical worship.
St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at 8619 Blacks Mill Road in Creagerstown.
For more information see the church’s website at emmitsburg.net/sjlc/index.htm.
Pastor Wayne Blaser (on right) and members of St. John’s Lutheran Church.