“The Cathedral On The Codorus……”
The borough of Spring Grove is relatively recent in origin, but the settlement of the area dates back to the early years of York County in the 1700’s. Before Europeans came, the Seneca and Susquehanna Indian tribes lived in this area. The site of the town was originally a part of Paradise Township; it was surveyed in 1747 by Joseph Pidgion (for whom the hills around our town are named).
In its early years “Spring Grove” was known as “Spring Forge,” because of the ironworks located and established here in 1755 by Peter Dicks. In 1852 the buildings were sold and converted into a paper mill by Jacob Hauer. Eleven years later, the plant was bought by P. H. Glatfelter, the founder of the company that bears his name and whose family became a founding family of St. Paul Church. From that one plant the company developed into the international corporation it is today.
In the fall of 1878, a “mission developer” by the name of The Rev. Daniel Hauer called together the Lutherans of “Spring Forge” (in 1882, the town was renamed to Spring Grove), to begin the process of establishing a new congregation and building a church. The cornerstone was laid in 1879, and the congregation was officially chartered in 1880, uniting with the General Synod of the United Lutheran Church.
In 1906, after only 26 years, St. Paul began to make plans for a new edifice. Led by the vision of Mr. W.L. Glatfelter, a “Cathedral on the Codorus” was planned. The “old” brick church was dismantled, brick by brick, and given to Fissel’s Lutheran and the Reformed Church in Glen Rock, where it still stands today. The present edifice was completed in 1908. Today St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Spring Grove continues our distinguished history of ministry in the Name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Ralph Robinson became the sixth pastor of St. Paul in 1934, serving until 1955. In his pastorate numerous improvements to the building were made. Pr. Moreland succeeded him, adding a new educational wing in 1957. Pr. Moreland served until 1965. From 1966-1981 Pr. Joe Seitz served as pastor. During this time St. Paul reached its highest levels of membership, which necessitated the call of a second pastor, Doug Johnson. In the 1980’s Pr. Johnson and Pr. Glenn Miller were the Pastors. Following Pr. Johnson’s departure to a new call in 1989, Pr. Miller served as pastor until 1997. Pr. Dan Biles began his service here in 1999. During his time here the congregation has done a renovation of the church building, added a ministry house, and become known especially as a congregation dedicated to ministry to local and worldwide social ministry.