Founded in 1834, New Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church is proud to be a part of the religious community of the Saucon Valley area for 182 years. Our heritage is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. New Jerusalem shares the Gospel and supports one another as we live out our faith throughout our daily lives.
The earliest data we could obtain is taken from a deed for one acre and eight perches of land dated June 17, 1791. In the body of the deed we found the following: "In accordance with a certain instrument, which John Apple and his wife made December 8, 17 83 for the use of a school, for the maintenance and support of a school, and in repairing and maintaining their lot and house of public worship, grounds and schoolhouse or houses and other tenants," further, "There is erected on said lot of land a dwelling house, which has been for a number of years an accustomed schoolhouse and it shall be forever, and remain such the only use for the neighborhood and behoof of them forever."
It was during the second year of Andrew Jackson's second term as President of the United States that the cornerstone of New Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church was laid. The date was Sunday, May 18, 1834. Andrew Weiss and Joseph Ehrhart of the Reformed congregation and Peter Leith and John Apple of the Lutheran congregation were instrumental in leading the building project. The cost of construction was $5,566.24. The building was dedicated to the Glory of God on December 13 and 14, 1834.
Fourteen years after the dedication of the church, the first pipe organ was installed by Mr. Heintzelman of Allentown and dedicated on September 30, 1849. A committee was organized on May 8, 1921 to examine the rebuilding of the old organ. The result of this committee's work was the installation of a C. H. Durner pipe organ at a cost of $3,500.00, which was dedicated on August 13, 1922. In 1958, a new Fritsche pipe organ was installed at a cost of $11,875.00. and dedicated on October 23, 1958.
Eighty-four perches of land were added to the original tract on March 29, 1848. One acre and 61 perches of land were added on March 24, 1854 at the cost of $172.64. In 1873 the old pews were removed and the present pews installed, the walls of the nave and chancel were frescoed. The church was then re-dedicated on August 9, 1873. The 50th anniversary was observed on November 20, 1884. In 1901, extensive repairs were made in the interior of the church and a new roof was installed in August 1928.
The 100th Anniversary was observed on May 20-24, 1934. The exterior church walls were pointed and painted in 1937. The basement was fully excavated, the floors downstairs cemented, and lighting installed in 1939. A driveway and parking area were paved in 1948 and the entire church was repainted and redecorated in 1949. The years 1950-1956 saw the floors and pews refinished and the addition of a new heating system. Maroon carpeting was purchased, a well was dug, and restrooms/kitchen installed.
In 1949, the Sunday Church School program had the present painting, "The Ascension," which hangs above and behind the pulpit, painted, and installed at a cost of well over $600.00.
Our Lutheran congregation was a part of the Coopersburg Parish which included St. Paul's (Blue Church), St. John's in Coopersburg, and the Union Chapel in Center Valley. However, with the growing population and an ever-increasing burden on the pastor, it was decided to dissolve the parish in 1949. Supply pastors were used until the vacancy could be filled. Our congregation immediately started to build a parsonage, which was dedicated on August 20, 1950. The cost of the parsonage was $16,500.00.
In 1965, the need for larger educational facilities were becoming urgent so the Church Council appointed a committee to study the construction of a new educational wing. In 1966 Donald Dunklee, the architect chosen to plan the new building, presented plans for the addition of Sunday School rooms and the refurbishing of the nave. On December 10, 1967 the church broke ground for the new educational building. The cornerstone for the educational unit was laid on September 15, 1968.
A stained glass window, "Christ in Gethsemane," between the nave and the sacristy was designed, made, and presented to the glory of God by Mrs. Lou (Barkley) Dillon.