Penn's mother was of German birth, so Penn was aware of the industriousness of these sturdy people and knew they represented the type of people he needed to develop a new colony. Because of the unfavorable religious, political, and economic climate in Germany and Switzerland, Pennsylvania was blessed with a migration of fine craftsmen and farmers who were an important factor in the growth and economic wealth of the future Commonwealth.
The area in which they settled was known as Londonderry, since the Scotch-Irish were here before the Germans. However, they had no knowledge of farming and readily relinquished any claims to land owned by William Penn. The Swatara Creek separates North Londonderry Township from East Hanover, and the Quittapahilla Creek divides it from North Annville Township.
These German settlers worshipped around family altars which soon became common altars. John Casper Stoever performed pastoral acts among these groups in 1733, 1736, 1739, and 1740. As their numbers outgrew their available quarters, a member of one of the groups, Hans Bindnagle, donated five acres and twenty perches of ground for a church site on January 27, 1753. An altar cloth initialed HBN under the date of 1754 indicated the year of the consecration of the first church.
Rev. Stoever served until Ascension Day, May 13, 1779, when he died while in the act of confirming a class of catechumens at the Hill Church, north of Cleona.
We know the log church had arched windows because one was preserved and placed to the left of the wine-glass pulpit in the present church. The interior of the church was painted white because we have two wooden pegs which were saved when the church was demolished and the usable lumber taken to Palmyra in 1808.
After the log church served the congregation, which grew to 162 members in 48 years, it was felt advisable to build a larger, more permanent structure. The members committed themselves to subscriptions and solicited additional funds from their neighbors.
Approximately 400 subscribers of all faiths located in Derry, Londonderry, Annville and Hanover Townships donated from payments of two shillings to 40 pounds. These payments were to be made in three installments: on January 1, 1803; when the new church was under roof; and when it was completed. The cost of the whole building was 909 pound, 3 shilling and 1112 pence, or a little over $2424.50.
As a tribute to the everlasting integrity of the German settlers, records show that but 12 of the 400 (3%) failed to meet their obligation. One of those who failed to meet his payments was an ancestor of the writer; Thomas Oehrle (Earley) whose daughter, Anna, had just married Peter Eisenhaur. Peter's parents decided to move to Kansas and the young couple chose to go with them. Upon hearing of this, Thomas Oehrle decided to go with them and forget his church subscription. From the family line of Peter and Anna emerged Dwight David Eisenhaur
A feature of the exterior of the church is the laying the bricks which is seldom noted by visitors. In thetheir front of the building the bricks are laid in the for of the Flemish cross, while at the rear and either si of the structure the bricks are laid differently.
The interior of the church is designed in the form the Greek cross with a wine-glass pulpit at the apex In the middle of the church is a four-square communion railing fencing in a communion table that resembles a cube 3x3x3l/2 of wood, the top of which has been painted to imitate marble. The high gallery extends to full distance, on the right and t left, and at the rear. Wood columns, topped with Doric capitals, support it all the way around. Like t rest of the interior's woodwork, they resemble marble. High-backed narrow pews, all facing the center, form the sides and base of the cross.
In this setting the liturgical service is ably support by the congregation as the body of Christ. With the Pastor in the center, the worshippers practice their belief in the priesthood of all believers and in their oneness as the body of Christ. This stresses the responsibility of the lay folk to carry out the work of Him who has redeemed them. "All one body w makes participants, not spectators, of all worshippers. Fittingly, prayerfully, and earnestly entered by the people, the service is a sincere worship of God, who renews all life.
A canopied sounding board, with a painting of St. John the Evangelist on its base, is above the pulpit. is the only known wine-glass pulpit, with a sounding board, to be found in this area.
WITH 1745 COMMUNION SET
At the first communion in the new church the following appeared: John Zimmerman, Henry Zeigler, John Zeigler and wife, Peter Walborn, Jac Wagner, Catherine Tulipan, Catharine Schnock, Michael Stuckey, Mary Schmidt, George Sprecher, John Schnock and family, Michael Palm, Benoni and Margaret Pfui and son, Christian Earley (the great, great grandfather of the writer), John Neu, Jacob Mainzer, Henry Miller, Jacob Lautermilch, Martin Long, Christian Killinger, Andrew Kiefer, Jacob Kissner, Mary Kuefer, Eva Hufnagel, John Horst, Jacob Hauck, John Hauck and wife, Catherine Hufnagel, Samuel Hauck, Mary Goetz, John Deininger, Adam Deininger, George Carmini, John Bauman, Frederick Becker, John Bolden, etc. In all there were 66 communicants. It is certainly interesting to notice that many of the names familiar to us are found in Bindnagle's records.
A lock from the Bindnagle Lutheran Church will be included among some 350 objects chosen to represent Pennsylvania German Life in an exhibit in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This lock was made in 1803 by John Rohrer of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. It is historically significant because it bears the inscription of the maker.
The offering at Bindnagle is still collected with the use of two "Klingelseck", or bell-bags on eight foot poles.
A rare pewter communion set is still in the possession of the Bindnagle Church. The tankard dated 1745 is the evidence of the formation of a congregation prior to the building of the first church.
Excerpted fromWe Love PALMYRA 225THAnniversary