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German organ housed at Connellsville's St. John Evangelical church

| Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, 7:01 p.m.
St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church will participate in church tours this weekend. Nancy Henry | For the Daily Courier

St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church has been in Connellsville for 153 years.

It was organized in the mid-1800s with seven families from West Newton. They held services in both German and English.

The church has many historic features, including a German organ that was donated in part by Andrew Carnegie and is the only working organ of its kind. It's been played for more than six decades by Wilma Hug, church organist.

Music is a special part of worship at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church. There are four members of the choir and they sing an anthem every week.

“We love to sing, we are passionate about it. We are also all related,” said Carolyn Warman, church council and choir member.

The church will be open for tours from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday as a part of It's A Connellsville Christmas.

Warman will present a brief history to those who stop in to see the stained glass windows, including the fact that the congregation originally met at Odd Fellows in the mid-1800s.

“The stained glass windows are beautiful beyond description. They include the Old Testament on one wall and the New Testament on the other. There are Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Jesus with their symbols and one high above the altar is Jesus in the clouds, the Ascension. These windows are original to the church and came from Germany because at that time Germany had the best pigment and detail,” explained Warman.

The building is Gothic style and has three support cables stretched across the interior to keep the walls straight and to protect them from the weight of the roof.

Von Bora is the ladies club of the church. Club members work tirelessly on many important projects.

“This is my mother's church. She belonged to Von Bora, too. To me, St. John's Evangelical feels like home. I love it and the people,” said Warman.

The Rev. Herb Dubler, who formerly served the church for more than 20 years, is back delivering the sermon at 10 a.m. each Sunday. The church is at 144 E. South St.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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