"You may hear the distant toll of
the school bell,
the happy sounds of children at play
or music from the old church pump organ."
~ Linda Cleveland, Local Historian
|Photo by Rev. Donald Mitchell
Visitor's Always Welcome!
Great Conewago Presbyterian Church marks
Posted: Friday, July 24, 2015 12:06 am
On Sunday, July 26, the congregation of The Great Conewago Presbyterian
Church will celebrate its rich history of 275 years. Tours of the historic church, chapel and its cemetery will be offered
from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. by members of the congregation and cemetery trustees. Worship Services are held at 10 a.m. each Sunday.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Great Conewago Presbyterian
Church, 174 Red Bridge Road Gettysburg, was established largely by Scotch-Irish settlers who first met about 1738. The exact
date is uncertain. The earliest records were scant and later ones were destroyed by fire in 1864.
first printed mention of Great Conewago Church is in the 1740 minutes of Donegal Presbytery. Worship moved from private homes
to a log structure located near the present day gate to the cemetery in 1743. Worshipers provided their own heat in this building
with sheet iron foot warmers.
For several years after
its organization Great Conewago depended on periodic supply ministers, the first of whom was the Rev. Samuel Caven in 1740,
who simultaneously served Falling Spring Presbyterian Church in Chambersburg.
Under the guidance of The Rev. Joseph Henderson the present stone building was constructed in 1787. The circular
stone above the front door identifies the name given the church at the time: Re. Joseph Henderson Meeting House, 1787."
After the resignation of Rev. Henderson, the congregation
spent several years without pastoral leadership until the call of the Rev. Dr. David McConaughey. He also served Upper Marsh
Creek Presbyterian Church which is the present day Gettysburg Presbyterian Church. These two churches joined under the call
of Rev. James Watson who served for 17 years. With his resignation the yoke between Great Conewago and Upper Marsh Creek dissolved.
Beginning in 1998 until its completion in 2002, the sanctuary
underwent a complete restoration which was proposed and guided by the Reverends William J. Murphy and Donald L. Mitchell.
The Reverand Mitchell continued his pastorate until 2012. During his tenure the Education/Community Center was completed in
2008 and the 1887 chapel was completely restored.
Reverend Charles W. Best and the congregation of The Great Conewago Presbyterian Church invite you to experience the beauty
and history of our church and grounds by attending the Open House and Tours on Sunday, July 26 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. You
can also visit us at http://www.greatconewagopresbyterianchurch.org/.
Great Conewago Website ...
|The original brass keys ....
|Photo Courtesy Shane Dunlap, Evening Sun
~ Sunday Worship Service 10:00 am ~
Founded in 1740
Red Bridge Road
Gettysburg, PA. 17325 / at Hunterstown
"Whatever you do,
In word or deed,
do everything in the name
of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father
|Photo Courtesy Shane Dunlap, Evening Sun
This beautiful old church has been in use since 1787,
but the congregation has worshipped in the immediate area since 1740.
From 1747 to 1787, the congregation met in a small log cabin near the cemetary gate.
During the pastorate of the Reverend Joseph M. Henderson,
the present church was built, thus the name, Henderson
At the time of
the Battle of Gettsyburg, the church served as a field hospital.
In 1849, the present entrance was made and the three other entrances closed.
The pulpit and the high back pews were changed and a foyer and choir
loft were added.
Again, in approximately 1870, general repairs were made
which included new pulpit furniture, new carpet, pews and oil lamps.
The present six chandeliers include two originals
in almost the exact
place as a hundred years ago.
2002, all roof trusses were reinforced,
a large masonary crack was repaired, pews were restored,
were replaced, floor boards were rehabilitated and replaced,
the balcony was totally rebuilt, a handicapped accessible restroom
and entrance were made,
a utility room was added,
heating/air-conditioning systems were installed,
and carpeting was replaced.
Celtic cross was fashioned out of salvaged timbers
from the old balcony and hung behind the pulpit.
|Painting by ... Edwin L Green, Williamsburg, VA
Great Conewago Church
The church has been in use since 1784; the congregation has worshipped in the area since 1740.
adjacent cemetery has graves of Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers.
James O. Phelps
360˚ Panoramic Photography
Civil War Battlefields
In this photograph, with an unknown
date, members of the congregation at the Great
Conewago Presbyterian Church pose in front of the building.
The 225th Anniversary Celebration was
January 22, 2012 at 10:00 AM
|Pastor Donald Mitchell
|with Bob McIllhenny/McIllhenny Banners
|Members Hunterstown Historical Society