History & Beliefs

Our Church History The Jacob Fogelsanger (Vogelsanger) family came to Philadelphia, PA in Oct. of 1761, having come from Hamburg, German on the ship “Snow Squirrel”. He left Germany because of religious persecution. Jacob settled in Lancaster County but his son David married Gertraut Minich, daughter of Wendell Minich and settled on a 140-acre farm previously owned by John and Margaret Byers, in the vicinity of Shippensburg, PA. One hundred sixty-two years later, we find their descendants John E. Fogelsanger and his wife Velva, still living on the same ground. John E. Fogelsanger was the fifth generation descendant of David Sr., and Gertraut Fogelsanger and was known to be German Baptist Brethren or a “Dunker” who was held in high esteem by all who knew them. John and Margaret were buried in the Fogelsanger Ridge Cemetery. The burial plot had been donated by David Sr., and was laid out several years before the Fogelsanger Ridge church was built. In the year 1842, the Ridge District was organized for the Brethren. Brother David Fogelsanger Jr., was the first ministering Elder followed later by Elder William Etter and Elder Joseph Gipe. Meetings were held in the homes of members until the The Fogelsanger Ridge Church was built in 1853. The land was given by David Fogelsanger Sr. David Jr., along with two brothers, Jacob and Wendell, and Sister Barbara, not only managed the building of this church, but largely financed it. Jacob was a bachelor and took the lead in the work, bearing the heavy part of the financial needs. He passed away in 1873 and was buried in Fogelsanger Ridge Cemetery. In his will, he provided a Dowry Fund for the church. This fund amounts to $60.00 per year and was to be used for the upkeep of the church and cemetery. In 1883, the denomination went through a schism over progressive issues and the new body, which emerged, became known as the Church of the Brethren. Fogelsanger Ridge followed with this group of Brethren. The denomination has seen seven such splinters throughout it 300-year history. All retain the name “Brethren” in some fashion such as; the Brethren Church (aka Ashland Brethren), Brethren in Christ, the Grace Brethren and the River Brethren to name a few. All however were and are referred to as “Dunkers” because of their practice of trine emersion baptism. Elder D.B. Wineman was the first applicant for baptism. Elder James A. Sell of Hollidaysburg, PA, at the age of nineteen, preached his first sermon at a Fogelsanger Ridge Love Feast Service. In May of 1926, the Fogelsanger Ridge Church split dividing into two congregations, Fogelsanger Ridge and a newly formed Shippensburg Church. In 1927, musical instruments were first used for worship. About forty years ago, Charles and Clarence Fogelsanger gave the church an additional piece of land to be added to the cemetery. In addition, in 1948, a piece of land twenty-four feet wide, running along the back of the cemetery was given by Charles, Gertrude, John E. and Velva Fogelsanger. Then in 1952, a two-acre plot of land, south of the present churchyard was bought from John and Velva Fogelsanger for the sum of five-hundred dollars. The church is and continues to be deeply grateful for the kindness and generosity of the Fogelsanger family. In 1953, the Church celebrated its centennial, 100 years. The Congregations were advised by the Brotherhood, our national organization, to incorporate thus the Church name was shortened to The Ridge Church of the Brethren. On November 30 of 1958, a new (current) sanctuary was dedicated and began use under the ministry of Brothers James Heckman and Elmer Hall. There was considerable debate on what to do with the old Church building but that decision was never made because lightning struck and burned it. A memorial plaque and the original steps remain where it once stood. In 1961, the Church moved to employ a full time pastor and purchased a parsonage. Several Full time Pastors have served the Church over the years witnessing change within and around the Church. In 1975, an educational wing was added and the Church gained both a library and choir loft. Fifty years have passed and the Church Offices are now located in the parsonage. The Church has held strong to its Christ centered Biblically based teachings and a strong since of community. A community that reaches out in love to all people. “Come, Let Us Reason Together!” THE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN DENOMINATION (Formerly Called Dunkers) 1. This body of Christians originated early in the eighteenth century, the church being a natural outgrowth of the Pietistic Movement following the Reformation. 2. Firmly accepts and teaches the fundamental evangelical doctrines of the inspiration of the Bible, the personality of the Holy Spirit, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the sin-pardoning value of His atonement, His resurrection from the tomb, ascension and personal and visible return, and the resurrection, both of the just and unjust (John 5: 28-29; I Thess. 4: 13 -18). 3. Observes the following New Testament rites: Baptism of penitent believers by trine immersion for the remission of sins (Matt 28: 19; Acts 2: 38); feet-washing (John 13: 1-20; I Tim 5:10): Love Feast (Luke 22: 20; John 13:4; I Cor. 11: 17-34; Jude 12); Communion (Matt 26: 26-30); the Christian salutation (Rom. 16: 16; Acts 20: 37); proper appearance in worship (I Cor. 11: 2-16); the anointing for healing in the name of the Lord (James 5: 13-18; Mark 6: 13); laying on of hands (Acts 8: 17, 19:6; I Tim 4:14). These rites are representative of spiritual facts which obtain in the lives of true believers, and as such are essential factors in the development of the Christian life. 4. Emphasizes daily devotions for the individual, and family worship for the home (Eph. 6: 18-20; Philpp. 4: 8-9); stewardship of time, talents, and money (Matt. 25: 14-30); taking care of the fatherless, widows, poor, sick, and aged. (Acts 6: 1-7). 5. Opposes on spiritual grounds: War and taking of human life (Matt. 5: 21-26, 43, 44; Rom. 12: 19-21; Isa. 53: 7-12); violence in personal and industrial controversy (Matt. 7: 12; Rom 13: 8-10); intemperance in all things (Titus 2:2; Gal 5: 19-26; Eph.5: 18); going to law, especially against our Christian brethren (I Cor. 6: 1-9); divorce and remarriage except for the one Spiritual reason (Matt 19:9); every form of oath (Matt. 5: 33-37; James 5:12); membership in secret, oath-bound societies (II Cor 6: 14-18); games of chance and sinful amusements (I Thess. 5: 22; I Pet. 2:11; Rom 12: 17); extravagant and immodest dress (I Tim 2: 8-10; I Pet 3: 1-6). 6. Labors earnestly, in harmony with the Great Commission, for the evangelization of the world, for the conversion of men to Jesus Christ, and for the realization of the life of Jesus Christ in every believer (Matt. 28: 18-20; Mark 16: 15-16; II Cor. 3: 18). 7. Maintains the New Testament as its only creed, in harmony with which the above brief doctrinal statement is made. Membership You willingly confess Jesus Christ as your Savior. You will live according to His example. You will be loyal to the Church, upholding her by your prayers, your presence, your substance, and your service. Our Baptismal Vows Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He brought forth from heaven a saving Gospel? Do you willingly renounce Satan, with all his pernicious ways and all the sinful pleasures of his world? Do you covenant with God in Christ Jesus to be faithful unto death? Reaffirming of Faith Are you still in the faith as you declared when you were baptized? Are you at peace as far as you know? Are you willing to labor on for an increase in holiness both in that of yourself and others? Mission Statement Seek and win the lost through Jesus for God, Obey and teach the Scriptures, Serve and model Jesus. District Links Bridgewater College Elizabethtown College Juniata College Camp Eder (Church Camp) New Windsor Brethren Service Center BRF (Brethren Revival Fellowship) SVS (Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center) Cross Keys SOPA (District Office) Brotherhood Elgin Offices Bethany Seminary BECU (Brethren Employee Credit Union) Brethren Academy OEPA ABC (Association of Brethren Caregivers) Brethren Press Brethren Volunteer Services (BVS) Brehtren Benefit Trust Mennonite Mutual Aid Association (MMAA)