Brief History of Jerusalem
The founding of the congregation dates to 1840 when Lutheran families living in the vicinity of Millport (1 mile SW of Rothsville) started to hold worship services in their homes. Circuit supply pastors provided by the regional church would visit periodically to provide Word and Sacrament and instruct them in the faith. In 1848 these families built a house of worship in Rothsville. A charter was granted to form a congregation in 1878 and declared that the property and estate were donated to the "German Lutheran Congregation." Objectives of the congregation at that time were:
1) to provide public Christian worship of God
2) support a pastor and Sunday school
3) keep and regulate a cemetery.
Fifty one years later, in 1899, the old church building was dismantled and a new church structure (our present house of worship) was dedicated in May, 1900. The cemetery, behind the church, had been established early on and the Cemetery Board continues to this day to be firmly committed to providing perpetual care for all the saints who are buried there.
Preaching and teaching of the Word of God and the inspiration of the Spirit through music have been a strong part of our congregation's history as well.
As the congregation slowly grew, we were finally able to call our first full time pastor, the Rev. Gerald J. Jacoby, in 1938. We are thankful for all of the pastors who have faithfully served us throughout our history. In the 1920's , the congregation's Women's Aid Society purchased a new Moeller organ. A new Buch-Walker organ was installed and dedicated in 2004 and a music ministry community outreach program established.
By 1966 the congregation had grown to the point that the classrooms for Sunday School were bursting at the seams. In a leap of faith, the church took out a loan and constructed the two story education wing and fellowship hall. That loan was paid off within five years.
Jerusalem's ventures in faith continue to this day in many and various ways of serving and sharing our gifts with the community and around the world as well. Examples of this are: regular benevolence giving to the wider church (ELCA); support of Lutheran World Relief, World Hunger, and ELCA Disaster Relief efforts with financial gifts, making quilts, health, school, and relief kits; weekly contributions of food to local food banks; working with Habitat for Humanity; supporting CROP walks; visiting and supporting shut-ins; providing for the education of a Navajo child; Youth Mission trips; and many others.
We welcomed the use of our facility by the local senior citizens group, the Rabbit Hillers, and the Rothsville ROCK group (a program for neighborhood youth run by the Millport Mennonite Church). We cooperate with other community churches in providing Vacation Bible School each year, as well as planning and participating in Rothsville Community Day.
The goals of the "German Lutheran Congregation," now known as Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, have certainly been met by the grace of God. Jerusalem continues to grow in faith through the weekly gifts of Word and Sacrament; through worship and music; in opportunities to learn, share our faith and serve through small groups, Sunday School, committee work, and fellowship.
We give our thanks to God for our ancestors who, moved by the Holy Spirit, gathered together and established this communion of saints. We pray that we may be found faithful in our mission as well.
Carry on, Jerusalem!