Augustus Lutheran Church - Old Trappe Church

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Old Trappe Church, 1743

Reverend Henry Muhlenberg    

A small backwoods settlement developed near a tavern on the trail of the Perkiomen Creek to the frontier in 1717. As more and more families settled in the clearings in the forest, the community adopted the name Providence. A religious service was few and far between especially for Lutherans since the nearest congregation (Falkner Swamp) was twelve miles away.

The Providence Lutherans were left to the doubtful spiritual care of whatever self-styled pastor ventured onto the frontier. The deacons decided to join local Lutherans (Falkner Swamp) and the Philadephia Lutherans in a call to Europe for a regularly ordained pastor. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg answered the call.

Before the first church was built, Pastor Muhlenberg preached in a barn to the Providence congregation. The congregation was anxious to build a church building and began hauling stones to the site in January 1743. The structure was erected through the spring and summer months and the first service was held in the unfurnished interior on September 12, 1743. The building was completed and dedicated on October 6, 1745, at which time the dedication stone was placed over the west portico.

National Historic Landmark, 1968
Early Ministerial gathering
The first church building of Augustus Lutheran Church is still standing and is the oldest unchanged Lutheran Church building in continuous use in the United States. The church building predates the Declaration of Independence by one generation, and through its simple and sturdy construction speaks to us in the language of another age. It expresses the resourcefulness of the pioneers in building homes, and schools, and churches, and in training men and women who later helped to carve Liberty out of hard conditions and desperate circumstances.