|Fact & Fantasy: A History of Tavistock & District||Churches - Page 92|
TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
Pastor Bernheim was sent by the Synod of Pennsylvania in 1835, to investigate the teachings of a certain Rev. Bindemann, a Universalist, to the Lutherans of Berlin (now Kitchener). The report was unfavourable but Rev. Bindemann continued to minister to the Lutheran people of the district. He served for a short time at Trinity, Sebastopol, which had been organized by Pastor Horn in 1832. Sebastopol rejected Bindemann but he formed an undenominational church, the Free Church, in Berlin in 1842.
To the west of Waterloo County, in Perth, European Germans come shortly after the opening of the Huron Road in 1832. They were chiefly from Ober-Hessen from the district around Alsfeldt and Grebenau.
Following Horn, services were conducted by itinerant pastors Bindemann, Hornholtz, P(f)ei(f)er, Schuler, Wurster and Altenkirch, who became the first resident pastor. The church organization was rather loose in those days and it was not until 1856 that a constitution was adopted and a regular church council elected. But in the early history of this first church in Perth County, there was a man appointed to lead in the singing and a lay-reader who read the sermon from Luther's Postille, when a pastor was not available. After services in the log homes, a log church was built and in 1856 during the incumbency of Pastor C. Kaessmamm, a frame church. (Still in use as a driving shed on the farm of Andrew Wilker, just north of the church, whose great grand-father had granted the land for it). The Rev. R.A. Peifer served Waterloo and tavistock from 1848 - 51. The Rev. F. Meissner, pastor of Trinity, 1852 -54, organized the daughter congregation of East Zorra. His successor was Frederick Augustus Classen, licensed by the New York Ministeriuim in 1855 and ordained in 1857. His Danish accent ( he was from Holstein) made it difficult for the common people to understand him. On January 1, 1856 the newly erected church was consecrated. He was assisted by Rev C.H. Thompson, serving at Philipsburg, a parish which included Tavistock from 1854 - 56.
The following served as indicated:
It was during the pastorate of Rev. F. Veit that the present brick edfice was erected at a cost of some $16,000 with Langley and Bruce of Toronto as architects. This is a fine church was tall tapering tower can be seen a long distance. In the spire are three bells, approaching, a chime. This tower contains a clock, the only one on a sacred edfice in Perth County. This was in 1884. The Rev. F. Veit remained in this charge until the end of 1916. In November 1873 the use of communion wafers instead of unleavened bread pieces was introduced. In 1881 a number of the members demanded a return to the latter in celebrating the Lord's Supper. When the congregation meeting voted against such a course, the opponents of the new practice left the church and organized a separate congregation outside of the Canada Synod. Membership in 1902 was about 800 souls, with a Sunday School attendance of 230.
The Rev. O.T.C. Stockmann, who had had a charge in North Easthope, took over in April 1917. Except for an unfortunate internment during the First World War, he served the congregation untiringly until 1957. The Rev. C.A. Maass filled in during his enforced absence.
The brick parsonage in Sebastopol was erected in 1897 fir $2400. In 1957, the new parsonage was built in Tavistock, at the corner of Mogk and Hope St. W., on the site of the former Geo. Matheson residence, for about $2400.
Since the resignation of Rev. O.T.C. Stockmann (d. 1967) the congregation has been served by Rev. Albert Datars, B.A., from November 1957 to January 1960, and by the present pastor, the Rev. Forrest Mosher, B.A., B.D., since the spring of 1960. He has been assisted the last two years by Intern Donald Stroh, who returns to Waterloo Seminary to complete his studies, and by Mr. William Brown, from September 1967. The Latter will live with his wife and child in the parsonage of St. Matthew's East Zorra, since our pastors serve both congregations by a mutual agreement.
In late 1949 the congregation purchased the former Baptist Church for parish hall purposes. In 1967 they completed the take-over of the Sebastopol two-room school, whose pupils now attend the centralized facilities at Shakespeare.
The church records, kept by the pastors, give the births from 1829, the deaths from 1846, the marriages from 1856 and the confirmands from 1846.
The pipe organ was installed in 1894. The new cemetery was consecrated in 1902. The church was redecorated in 1914 and in 1944.
The Sunday School annex was built in 1923.
The congregation had been devotedly served by many laymen, but particularly by the Henry W. Kalbfleisch, as secretary before 1912, and as secretary treasurer from 1912 to the mid-thirties after he took over finances from Henry Vogt. His son Emerson has continued this dual role since then.
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