News

Did You Know #4?

Categories: Events,Our History,Stories

2019 is Bethesda’s 225th Anniversary!

After Rev. Fishburn retired in 1879 the congregation was served by a series of short term pastors:  Rev. Rebir, Rev E. Ritter, Rev. J. F. Bruch, Rev Schumann, Rev Stauffer and Rev. Jacob Mauer.  It is believed that, in order to attract a longer term minister, a new parsonage was built at 109 Main street in 1878-79. It was during the tenure of Rev. Mauer that the church building was moved from its prominent site on top of the hill north of the Village at the Cemetery to its present location.  The story of the reason for the move that is part of our history is that the members from the village felt that the members from the farms had to hook up their horses and carriages to come to church anyway so if the church was in the village the local members could walk to Church.  The extra drive for the farm members would not be a major issue.  Thus the church was taken down brick by brick and the wooden frame dismantled and reconstructed on the present lot donated by the Eckardt family.

The last minister to live in the parsonage at 109 Main Street was Rev. Nils Willison, the first graduate of Waterloo Seminary. The parsonage building was rented out and the house suffered serious decline.  It was finally sold in 1966 to Claire and Ruth Ingram who began the restoration to the beautiful house that remains one of Unionville’s most distinctive late Victorian residences.

After 1918 the minister lived in a parsonage beside Zion Lutheran Church, a sister congregation, in Sherwood, Vaughan Township. The relationship continued until 1950 when Bethesda called the Rev. Edgar Fischer and decided to build the present day parsonage on the same property as the church. It was constructed by members of the congregation under the leadership of carpenter Percy Stiver. The concrete for
the foundation was mixed and poured in one day by the men of the church.