2016 06 12 14

Our Story

From a parishioner's home to a tent in a vacant lot, where we have worshipped has certainly changed throughout our history, but our dedication to doing the Lord's work hasn't, and never will.

Our Story

From a parishioner's home to a tent in a vacant lot, where we have worshipped has certainly changed throughout our history, but our dedication to doing the Lord's work hasn't, and never will.

The first services of Atonement were conducted in September 1909 at the home of Henry M. Stetler by the Rev. F.K. Bernd, president of the Reading Conference. There were 31 participants. Sunday school was also organized in the same month.

In January 1910, an application was filed for a charter for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Atonement.

The congregation was received into the Ministerium of Pennsylvania in 1910 and the Rev. William K. Fisher became the first pastor. Services were held in Borough Hall.

After the resignation of Fisher in 1913, there was a two-year pastoral vacancy and the organization nearly disbanded.

In 1915, field missionary Charles K. Fegley arrived and began reorganizing the congregation. In 1918, the Rev John Deaton, fresh from the seminary, accepted a call to the parish.

During early 1920, the congregation used Bausman Memorial Reformed Church auditorium with Holy Week services at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kuhn, 740 Penn Ave., West Reading.

Ground was broken for a new church on July 24, 1920, with the cornerstone laid on June 12, 1921.

For four months in 1921-1922, the congregation worshipped in a tent, "The Tabernacle in the Wilderness," which was on a vacant lot on Belmont Avenue. Harry Kauffman, who lived next door to the tent, ran an exension cord from his garage to supply power to the tent.

The new church was dedicated on May 7, 1922.

The Rev. M. LeRoy Wuchter became pastor in 1924 and moved into the newly purchased parsonage at 1304 Delaware Ave.

In 1926, a two-manual organ was dedicated.

In 1944, an honor roll plaque was dedicated that contained the names of 116 members of the congregation who served during World War II. Of those, seven were killed in action.

A mortgage burning was held in 1947.

In 1950, the congregation authorized an addition to provide more Sunday school space and also authorized bidding on a property near the church for a new parsonage.

The congregation approved plans for a new parish house, new parsonage and renovations to the existing building.

In 1951, the congregation approved the purchase of 65 Wyomissing Blvd. for a new parsonage. Groundbreaking for a new parish house was held in 1952. The parish building was dedicated in 1953.

The enlarged and redecorated church and educational and administrative facilities were dedicated in 1957.

In 1963, the congregation voted to build a new parsonage. The original house on Wyomissing Blvd. was torn down and a new parsonage was readied within six months.

In 1967, Mildred Vozella and Frances Laubach became the first women members of church council.

In 1968, Raymond King became director of Christian education and instituted programs including the church library.

In 1968, the Rev. Wilson E. Touhsaent, Atonement pastor, resigned to become president, later bishop, of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod.

In 1971, Christine Hill became the first female acolyte.

In 1973, the congregation voted to purchase the Wyomissing Borough Hall to gain needed educational space and pave the way for new community ministries.

A renovation to the hall began in 1974 and, through the years, the building has been used for a variety of support groups as well as Scout troops.

In 1975, the congregation voted to sponsor a Vietnamese refugee family through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.

The Christian Preschool at Atonement opened in 1976 with Lois Bartlett as director.

In 1989, the congregation voted to purchase the Mast property adjacent to the church.

In 1993, the congregation voted to build a new church adjacent to the present parish house. Construction began on the new building in 1994.

A property on Lynne Ave. was purchased as a parsonage for the associate pastor.

A new building, including a nave, gym and offices, was dedicated in 1995.

In 1999, a partnership was formed with St. Mark's Lutheran Church to provide an after-school program, PeacePlace.

A faith founded on good news.

Lutherans are:

Evangelical (meaning gospel-centered)

catholic (meaning a part of the whole Christian church across time and space)

Reforming (always being made new, seeking where God is calling us to reorient)