Epler's Church

Epler's Church

Epler's Church, so called because the land for the church was donated by Adam and Peter Epler, is located in the township of Bern which was settled in 1733, and organized as a township in 1738. The exact dates and facts about the beginning of Epler's Church are unavailable but it is known that religious services were held in homes of settlers as early as 1727. Burials made in the graveyard date back to 1727. Old markers substantiate this fact. The first church, a log bulding, served as the spiritual home of the settlers until 1788. This bulding stood about 75 feet northwest of the present structure in the center of what is now West Leesport Road.

In the early days, an important event in the life of the church was having a well-known or high-ranking minister visit and conduct a service. This minister spent his time traveling on a circuit covering a large area, visiting all the churches of that denomination. At this time he would administer Holy Communion, perform baptisms, and/or install local church officers. There are no complete records of Epler's early ministers but it is believed that Reverend John Philip Boehm preached there occasionally. Records also indicate that Reverend Waldschmidt administered Holy Communion in 1765.

Reverend William Boas was the pastor when the second church, also constructed of logs, was built in 1788. He must have been a very energetic and well-liked leader, for the church grew during the long tenure that Reverend Boas enjoyed. The cornerstone of this second church is now the red sandstone door step of the parsonage located across the road from the church. Who succeeded Reverend Boas is not known, but Reverend William Pauli was one of his successors whose pastorate ended in 1829.

Music has always been an important part of the worship service at Epler's. One of the first pipe organs used in Berks County was built for Epler's Church by J.J. Dieffenbach at his home in Bethel Township in 1776-77. This first organ was in use for almost 100 years and is now one of the prized possessions of the Berks County Historical Society, where it was restored recently and is visited, studied, and played by renowned musicians from all over the world.


The Book of Bern, pages 131-136
History of the 250 years from the erection of the township in May, 1738 to 1988, by the Historical Committee of Bern Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Jostens, State College, PA, 1992