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Our church may be more than 250 years old,

but our thinking isn't

We are proud of our legacy as a church of "firsts"

​First Reformed church in Hanover to hold services in English

First UCC church in Hanover to call a divorced minister in 1973

First UCC church in Hanover to call a female minister in 2007

Consistory approved weddings for ALL couples in 2014

First UCC church in Hanover to call a gay minister in 2016

First Hanover area Open & Affirming church in 2018

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Our History

Emmanuel UCC traces its origins to a plot of land along School Avenue and a group of Reformed Christians who bought the land from Richard McAllister, Hanover's founder, in 1763. Today, that piece of ground is the historic Emmanuel Reformed Cemetery, which contains the graves of some Civil War veterans.  Early records of Emmanuel Reformed Church, which can be found in Guthrie Memorial Library, show receipts for funds received to build the original church and to purchase a bell.  In 1765, the first congregation was established with 237 members.

In 1798, under the leadership of the Rev. John C. Gobrecht (1779-1807), the congregation moved out of the log church and into a new brick building erected on the same plot. The bell from the original church moved with them. It was in this church building that the English language was introduced into the church service, which had been held in German.

In 1856, under the leadership of the Rev. Jacob Sechler (1837-1859), the brick church was torn down and a new church (the fourth meeting place of this congregation) was built at Emmanuel's current location, 124 Broadway. 

In 1890, the first cornerstone of the new church was laid at the rear of the existing church building that still stands today at 124 Broadway and became the first stone of the chapel, which is now known as King Auditorium. The new church was designed in a tudor/gothic style by noted York architect John A. Dempwolf, known for the Central Market building in York, and dedicated on September 18, 1904.

Of special note in the current sanctuary are the stained glass windows. The three-panel
Resurrection window (at right) over the altar was designed and manufactured by the
New York studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany.  

A tradition at Emmanuel which continues today is the annual Christmas Carol Sing
begun by the late Rev. Abner S. DeChant in 1911. Carol booklets, still used, were a
gift from John Wanamaker of Philadelphia.

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