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Ziegels Union Church, Breinigsville, dates back to 1750 when it was a log cabin with a tile roof. Today, the church is shared by both Lutheran (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and Reformed churches (United Church of Christ). Ziegels Union Church, Breinigsville, dates back to 1750 when it was a log cabin with a tile roof. Today, the church is shared by both Lutheran (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and Reformed churches (United Church of Christ).
PRESS PHOTO BY STEPHEN ALTHOUSE The sanctuary inside Ziegels Union Church, Breinigsville. PRESS PHOTO BY STEPHEN ALTHOUSE The sanctuary inside Ziegels Union Church, Breinigsville.

Ziegels Union Church dates back to 1750

Thursday, November 15, 2018 by STEPHEN ALTHOUSE Special to The Press in Local News

Ziegels Union Church, 9990 Ziegels Church Road, Breinigsville, could be considered something of an anomaly, according to the Rev. Jeffrey Kistler, of the United Church of Christ.

“This is what is called a vintage church in the literature,” Kistler said. “One of the things that has always been positive about a vintage church is the pastors are committed to doing pastoral care. If someone is sick, we go to the hospital.

“My perception is that is not always the case in nonvintage churches.”

Another anomaly is there are actually two Ziegels Union churches, well, sort of.

The original church building, which dates back to 1750 when it was just a log cabin with a tile roof, was and continues to be to this day a home for the German Reformed and Lutheran traditions.

“The churches kind of joined forces and set up a lot of what they called union churches where it was shared Lutheran (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and Reformed churches (United Church of Christ),” said the Rev. Andrew Meckstroth of the Lutheran congregation. “They shared the building, a lot of the programming, but had different pastors.”

Another characteristic one could assign to the church is the word “resilience.”

While the original building dates back to the mid-18th century, there was a period later when “misfortune” set in for the building, according to Meckstroth.

A stone church replaced the log cabin in 1795.

The stone church was replaced by a large brick church in 1864 and, 23 years later, it was burned to the ground after its towering steeple was hit by a lightning strike, Meckstroth said.

Undaunted, members rebuilt the church and incredibly that second steeple was also hit by lightning and the building burned.

“It was rebuilt again in the same spot, this time with a shorter steeple,” Meckstroth explained.

Today, Ziegels has devoted members who focus on sharing God’s mission beyond the walls of the church, both pastors said.

“We have on a strong focus on mission and service” Meckstroth said.

“We’ve been known for our summer camps. Vacation Bible School and Bear Creek Camp and music and drama camp.

“Our mission response team goes on three mission trips a year to places that have been hit by disasters.”

“I just started a healing prayer group partly because we have a lot of people with serious illnesses, but it’s not only to pray for people who are ill, but to talk about how to stay healthy,” Kistler said. “That has been very inspirational to me.”

Services rotate annually between the denominations — 8:30 a.m. UCC and 11:05 a.m. Lutheran — most of September through the end of June. From July through Labor Day one service is offered.

Educational programs include Sunday School, confirmation, Adult Sunday School, Men’s Group which meets at 7 a.m. Fridays at Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Fogelsville, Summer Vacation Bible School, Music and Drama Camp and Bear Creek Day Camp.

Outreach programs in a sewing group, How to Pray for Healing, Mission Response Team, Family Promise and the Christ’s Church at Lowhill Food Pantry.

The name “Ziegels” derives from the German word “ziegel” or “tile” as the first log church had a tile roof.