|Atkin G. Wolf
Pastor 1917 - 1926
|John Jacob Albert
|Monroe J. Alleman
Pastor 1869 - 1875
|J. Luther Hoffman
Pastor 1912 - 1917
|Willard E. Saltzgiver
Pastor 1927 - 1942
|Roland A. Ries
Pastor 1963 - 1985
|Paul A. Haack
Pastor 1986 - 1989
|John O. Yoder
Pastor 1905 - 1912
|Arial View of St. Mary's 1951
|1962 Dedication of the bronze
marker on the site of the original.
|H. Lee Brumback, II
Pastor 1991 - Present
On May 31, 2012, we celebrated our 250th anniversary.
See our "History" page for more information about the church
including a complete list of the pastors who have served.
We began as a Union Church of two congregations, Lutheran and Reformed. A log
building was erected on a 15-acre lot by the members. The log building sufficed for
almost 60 years.
After much pondering and planning, a newer church, again a union church, was
erected in 1821, across the street from the present Reformed (United Church of
Christ) church. By this time much of the virgin forest area of Maryland was
depleted, and timber was thought to be scarce, so the new structure was made of
The brick church was finally completed and dedicated in 1822. Pastor Yoder, writing
in 1912, described the church as follows:
"The sanctuary had then an up-to-date appearance, and was the revelation of the
general status of the people of the community. It was a high, square brick building,
and seemed to have been started with no positive knowledge as
to where the last course of brick would be laid heavenward.
The building never had a chimney. It was heated by stoves,
and the pipes pierced the ceiling overhead, depositing all the
smoke and soot in the upper story. As they had always burned
wood, what marvel it was that the church was never burned
down by escaping sparks.
The furniture consisted of straight-back benches and elders' amen corner, the almost
perpendicular galleries on three sides; but above all, and most interesting was the
wine-glass pulpit, placed half way between the galleries and
floors, on small round pillars, with the winding stair-way leading
thereto and the large, round sounding board suspended within a
few feet from the top by a stout iron rod, made to represent a
sun-flower stalk with its leaves and flowers hanging from the side.
The circular pulpit and sounding board were formerly used in all
churches. An old father of St. Mary's, now deceased, once said
that the sounding board was placed there for the purpose of
dropping on the head of the minister who preached too long or
did not preach the truth."
The Union of these two denominations had lasted for about one hundred and thirty
years, but the time had come for separation. Eventually the Lutherans sold and the
Reformed bought the union interest in the old brick union church. In 1893, the
Reformed people dedicated a church at the top of the hill, across the road from the
site of the discarded brick church which was torn down and sold as rubble. The
"land in square about the old church" became a hitching ground, and is now a parking
lot. On a corner lot at the bottom of the hill, along the main highway leading between
Gettysburg and Baltimore, the Lutherans consecrated a site for their edifice.
The church was built of rocks - graystone. It is trimmed with brownstone from
From a newspaper clipping, quoted, in part:
"One of the most interesting and important events in the history of St. Mary's
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Silver Run, Carroll Co., Md., took place July 8,
1894. It was the occasion of the corner stone laying for the new edifice. The
services were held in the open air, and were attended by fully two thousand people.
The weather was delightful, and added very much to the impressive ceremonies..."
On October 15, 1916, there was a rededication of the church, after extensive
repairs and improvement had been made. These include repairs to the parsonage,
enlargement of the choir loft, velvet brussel carpet in the auditorium, and rehanging
of all the doors so that they could swing outward (people were becoming aware of
Four large oil fresco paintings were added to
the inner walls - Jesus Blessing Little Children
was placed in the Primary room, Christ the
Good Shepherd in the Adult Sunday School
room, The Resurrection in the Sanctuary, and
The Ascension above the altar. The entire
cost of $2,500 was provided before the day
On Sunday, May 12, 1895 a dedication service as held. The threatening weather
prevented a full turnout at the opening service, but after clouds dispersed and the
sun came out, long lines of buggies came in the place until there were fully 500 of
them on the grounds. After the service. Rev. Dr. Enders, of York, made a statement
that the cost of the church was $16,000 and he wanted to raise the sum of $4,000
that day or he would have to break his record as a money beggar, as he was always
successful in raising the required amount. The afternoon service was attended by
about 1200. After the sermon Dr. Enders again took the floor and raised nearly
$1,000, but this amount was not sufficient to pay the indebtedness on the church.
The formal dedication was postponed until some future time as it was not deemed
proper or becoming to devote the house to God until provision had been made to
cover all incumbrances.
On December 20, 1896, St. Mary's Church was dedicated. The Financial statement
was made by the pastor, W. H. Ehrhart, and about $600 raised during the day.
Sufficient money having been raise to cash the indebtedness of the church, the same
was then dedicated to Almighty God.
On September 25, 1927, a new Moller pipe organ was dedicated by Pastor Saltzgiver. Dr. Abdel R. Wentz of
the Lutheran Theological Seminary preached the dedicatory sermon. The cost of the organ was $3,500, and
Pastor Saltzgiver recorded in the church register for the that date, "Entire amount on hand on day of dedication."
The congregation had outgrown the two Sunday School rooms provided
in 1894, as a regular part of the church. To meet our growing needs a
new building, a one-story Parish House, was added on the Southwestern
corner of the church lot. The great part of the labor being done by the
pastor and the men of the congregation. This reduced the cost of the
building to $2,552. This Parish House was dedicated by Pastor Saltzgiver
on May 11, 1933.
During the winter of 1937, the church was completely renovated.
Interior decorated at a cost of $1,200. Reredos and new pews installed.
Floor sanded and carpet placed in aisles. Total cost $2,600.
All paid on day of dedication (May 2, 1937).
On a Saturday afternoon in June, 1939, the church was struck by lightning, causing damage to the roof, and
slight damage to the interior from fire and water. Fire caught under the roof, but the damage as a whole was
not great. Help came from the fire companies of Littlestown, Westminster, and Pleasant Valley.
On Shrove Tuesday, March, 1954, there was a larger tragedy when the parish house was completely destroyed
by fire. This building was replaced by a larger Parish House, a two-story structure of concrete blocks. The
corner stone was placed on September 26, 1954. The new building was dedicated February 20, 1955.
On July 1955, work began on a stone retaining wall which was built along the west side of the property.
Work was completed in September 1955.
May 1962, our church celebrated it's 200th Anniversary. St. Mary's Lutheran Church and
Her People, 1762 - 1962, Silver Run, Maryland was written and published in honor of this
event. The book's author was Mary E. Heltibridle. Mary was born June 25, 1904, on a
farm near Silver Run, Maryland to George F. and Annie Myers Heltibridle.. She graduated
from Littlestown High School; Temple University (B.S. in Ed.), and The George
Washington University (M.A. and Ed.D.). She also attended Gettysburg College, Lutheran
Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, The Biblical Seminary in New York, and the School
of Japanese Language in Tokyo, Japan.
It is thanks to the Rev. John O. Yoder who wrote a history of the first one hundred and fifty years of St.
Mary's material and spiritual life, and Mary E. Heltibridle who through her research and interviews added to
those written histories, that we are able to learn about our past and look forward to celebrating our 250th