About Benscreek Lutheran Church
In the late 1890's some local families began meeting in an abandoned township schoolhouse. Clergy of the Brethren, Evangelical, and Lutheran persuuasion led the services. Peter and Amanda Thomas purchased the school building and conveted it into a chapel. The Lutherans were able to supply a pastor on a regular basis and on December 17, 1897, a new congregation of approximately 30 members was chartered at Benscreek Lutheran Church.
Lutheran services were held once a month, led by Rev. H.C. Salem from Scalp Level. The property was dedicated on April 14, 1901. By then the congregation had grown to 50 members.
Improvements were made over the years such as building a vestibule and bell tower, and lighting improved from gasoline lamps to kerosene chandeliers to kerosene mantle lamps to electricity in the 1930's. The basement was excavated by hand in 1937. In the 1920's the piano replaced the reed pump organ. An electronic organ replaced it in 1948 and finally in 1966 a Molar pipe organ was installed. In 1957, the congregation completely remodeled and expanded the building to its present state. During the renovations, worship services were held at the Grove.
Benscreek Lutheran Church was part of the Davidsville charge that consisted of St Thomas, St David's and Benscreek and served by one minister. This was dissolved in 1965 and the Rev Arthur Mentzer became Benscreek's first full time minister.
Over the years, the congregation owned three different parsonages. Upgrades to the church building have continued. In 1990, a new heating system was installed, the parking lot paved, and new exterior doors with stained glass were donated. New carpeting throughout the church was installed, bathrooms renovated, two lounge areas furnished, the nursery upgraded, the stained glass window in the chancel was opened and re-leaded, and the six side windows were replaced with new leaded glass and religious symbols in 2006.
Benscreek Lutheran Church has continued to grow in grace under the leadership of Pastor Jonathan Adams who was ordained June 3, 2016 and installed on September 25, 2016. Benscreek is currently in a successful partnership with Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Johnstown.