Church History

oldchurchHistory of Our Church

 

Christ Lutheran Church, Filey’s was founded in the year 1800. For the first eleven years the congregation met in barns or other buildings that were available within the community, and a preacher traveled from York on horseback to lead worship services. Jacob Filey offered and bestowed land for the church and cemetery.  It wasn’t until 1811 that the first log church was built and a full time minister was hired. The church also served as a school until the enactment of the Public Education Law of 1834 when parochial education at Filey's came to a standstill.

 

By 1838 the Lutheran Congregation had granted a Reformed Congregation an equal share in the original log structure so the two congregations could combine their efforts and resources to erect a brick church building. The cornerstone of the new building was laid on August 20, 1838, and the building was dedicated the same year and a small brick public schoolhouse was built across from the church.

 


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On March 19, 1883, a motion was passed to remodel or rebuild the church according to the amount of money raised. At a joint council meeting in 1891, it was moved that a new church be built. Plans for the third structure were formulated in 1893. The cornerstone was laid on June 17, 1894. The building was dedicated in early autumn.

 

In 1922, a beautiful stained glass window referred to as the “Good Shepherd Window” was installed.

 

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In 1938, the German Presbyterian Church separated from Filey’s. As a result, the Lutherans retained the church building.

 

In 1952, the congregation purchased and renovated the brick schoolhouse across the street and renovated for Sunday school classes.

 

At some point, the church was painted white, but in the mid-1950’s it was sandblasted back to the natural brick.

 


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In 1976, the church building was renovated to include an educational wing. At this time it was decided that the Sunday School building would be used to house a nursery school for the community.

 

In 2005, a second renovation was completed adding a fellowship hall and office space.

 

As the Christ Lutheran congregation grew and changed over the years, the buildings that served the congregation also changed; but one thing that did not change was the commitment to support both the spiritual and educational growth of the congregation and the community. This commitment continues today in our support of both Filey’s Nursery School and a Day Care in the educational wing of our main building.

 

However, on August 12th, 2010, just one week after our new pastor was installed, our church home experienced a terrible tragedy. The steeple of our historic church was struck by lightning and fire consumed the building, leaving only a cross standing where our beloved church once stood.  Our congregation was devastated, but not defeated.  Following the example of our earliest members, we have been very resourceful and returned to moving our worship space.

 

 


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Once again, we were faced with the challenge of building our church. Back in 1811 our congregation decided to take a leap of faith and construct our first church home.   This small log building served as the foundation for a growing and changing congregation for the next 200 years!  We were again called to take a similar leap of faith and raise a new building from the ashes of the old.  Our new church home incorporated the original cornerstones, a portion of the original bell, along with bricks that were saved from the fire.  A new “Good Shepherd Window” was donated to the sanctuary.  In keeping with our legacy of supporting both spiritual and educational growth, our new church home includes a large education wing that serves both the Filey’s Nursery School and the Learning Center at Filey’s Day Care.  These are two of our greatest ministries to the community.

 

In 2013, the new building was completed and our first worship service took place on Easter morning, March 31, 2013 with Bishop Hoover presiding. On September 29, 2013 the church was dedicated.

 

With Filey's Nursery School leaving the old schoolhouse and moving into the new building, the congregation decided to sell Filey's Church House. On November 12, 2014,  the old schoolhouse was sold.

 

We are thankful for God’s presence with us throughout the last two centuries and for the new life that God is bestowing on our congregation as we work together to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins. May God continue to bless the work of our hands so that a new church home filled with vibrant worship, powerful ministries and meaningful service may rise from the ashes!

 



 

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