"Pennsylvania Germans," a minority of settlers found in all but five of the
original American British colonies, rapidly developed a series of
folk-cultural institutions of surprising consistency with one another
wherever they settled.  One of these was a "union' church, a worship
edifice shared by two otherwise independent congregations, one usually
Lutheran, the other usually German Reformed (Zwinglian, using the
Heidelberg Catechism of 1563).  Found in each of the eight colonies with
German settlements, the "union" arrangment was apparently seen by its
originators as a temporary accommodation to financial realities, as
dissolution of them already in the eighteenth century suggests.  At the
same time, their creators also deemed them permanent enought to
warrant adopting a set of articles of government for the joint use of the
church structure, schoolhouse and cemetery.  Sufficient numbers of these
documents survive that a comprehensive study of them could be made.  In
general, they provided for equal use of the building by both congregations,
that the clergy serving them be recognized by synodical bodies of each
denomination, that worship and preaching be determined by the doctrinal
statements of each, that officers be elected jointly.  Each congregation
also had its own constitution and governing body.  Each called and
reimbursed its own pastor, each may have had its own records and
sacramental vessels, although there were instances in which those were
shared.  The schoolmaster/organist was hired jointly.  Some union church
agreements specified hiring schoolmasters belonging to the two
denominations in alternating order.  Members were often divided in the
same family -- males went with the father, females with the mother, as
had been true in the Palatinate in Germany, from which large numbers of
persons had come, an area in which Lutheran and Reformed congregations
could be found closed to one another geographically, in which indeed they
even shared facilities occasionally.

It was the church building and its campus that provided visible expression
of the union.  The two congregations only worshipped together as one when
a cornerstone was placed or a buidling or organ dedicated.  Even if both
pastors officiated in a funeral, as did happen, it was in fact the service of
the congregation to which the deceased belonged.  The union treasury
existed for the upkeep of the structures and ground and a union governing
body to make decisions about them.

Lutheran and Reformed people began settling in the valleys along the
Silver Run, the Deep Run, and the Great Pipe Creek of what became
northern Carroll county, Maryland, in the late 1740s and 1750s.  Some
came from the older Conewago settlement in Adams and York counties,
Pennsylvania, some from other Pennsylvania German settlements, some
directly from Europe, perhaps by the port of Philadelphia, perhaps by the
ports of Baltimore and Annapolis.  They ware followed very soon by the
clergy, in this case
Jacob Lischy (1719-c. 1799), Reformed, and John
George Bager
, or Baugher, (1725 - 1791), Lutheran.  It is apparent from
Lischy's register of baptisms that he was ministering fairly regularly in
the late 1750s to persons who were members of the Silver Run church
when it adopted a union agreement, 31 May 1762, the earliest
contemporary reference there is to it.

That document states clearly that a church was already standing (which
must have been built the autumn before the latest), and that is was named
Saint Mary's.  Even the German documents from the eighteenth century
are unanimous in calling the church Saint Mary's, and not
St. Maria or
dieMarienkirche, German forms by which both Protestant and Catholic
churches dedicated to the mother of Jesus are known.  Only fifty-some
years later does the German form
Saint Maria's occur.  This suggest that
the source of the nomenclature was English: and English woman, perhaps;
and English church (St. Mary's Lutheran in the Savoy in London?) or maybe
even the name of the state itself.

The church building in place by May of 1762 was most likely a log structure
covered with clapboard siding and hardly to be distinguished on the outsied
from the modest first-generation residences of the area.  Tradition has it
that is was located at a spring at the edge of the floodplain adjoining the
Silver Run, hardly a typical church location int he eighteenth century, for
which elevation and drainage for cemetery purposes were preferred.  A
residence near the spring, on the other hand, would have been customary.  
Perhaps tradition has confused a residence there with the church; perhaps
a church was built there with the intention that it be used temporarily for
worship and later as a home.  There is no mention of another church in the
records of either congregation until 1821, so that it probably served the
congregations for nearly six decades.  Of its interior no description has
survived.  It was sufficiently hale that
Peter Mach, one of the members,
purchased it for $90.69, for which he gave three notes "von wegen der
alden Kirche die er gekauft hat" [on account for the old church which he
bought.  Ledger, page 27.]

Valentine Nicodemus (1730 - 1812), an "irregular' (that is, not member of
the general church body), served as Reformed pastor at Silver Run for
over 35 years from 1774 to 1812.  His successor,
Jacob Wiestling (1793 -
1826), died prematurely, but he began a register of baptisms for the
Reformed in 1812, since if there was an earlier one, as seems likely, it was
lost.  
Jacob Geiger (1793 - 1848), began a long and successful pastorate in
1817.  Lutheran
John Gropb (d. 1829) served from 1803 to 1819 and was
followed by
Heinrich Greber (1793 - 1843) who served until 1827.  In
1820 the two young clergmen (Geiger and Greber) apparently saw to it
that a new union constitution was adopted on 19 April.  This document
contained a provision, "If, however, in the futrue a Baumeister [building
master] should become necessary, they [sic] shall also be elected by the
congregation".  That this provision had specific reference is suggested by
the fact that a joint leger of the congregation begun about this time lists
bills that were paid for the new "Sant Marias Kirge" from 28 May 1821 on.  
The Lutheran register contains a copy of a document placed in the
cornerstone on 13 September 1821.  The list of bills begins to be dated in
1822 (months and dates were not given) with the 35th of 67 entries, and
concludes in that year.  Two dated subscription lists survive as well as a
third for the stove and pipe dated 1823.  There is no record of
consecration of the church, although a financial statment of 23 January
1823 mentions the collection at such a service.  At the Ascension Day 1833
(16 May) accounting there is a notation that the debt was paid in full.  In
the next year, in January, there is the first reference to a service of
worship in English.

Since the records of construction of the edifice survice surprisingly
completely and since the building was not demolished until 1902, and there
are many pictures of it, and even elements of the structure to be found,
this building project may be described in some detail and serve as a typical
case of how a German congregation went about building a new church, not
only in the period of this structure, but before and after as well.

The 1820 constitution designated the key person(s) in this process when it
provided ambiguously for the election of one or more
Baumeister should it
be necessary.  The term literally means building master, but a close
description of the position will show that no English word fully describes
this office since it has completely disappeared from modern life.  The
Baumeister was architect, building committee and contractor in one
person.  As is still true in Germany, erecting a building among the
Pennsylvania Germans required the owner to make individual "contracts"
witht he craftsman responsible for each phase of the building, to
coordiante the timing  of their work, and to supervise it.  This the
Baumeister did in a congregation.  Moreover large amounts of labor were
donated by members, as we shall see, and the Baumeister had the task of
organizing that too.  No wonder he or they were elected and not appointed.  
No wonder they were paid for their time.  The job was a mojor
responsibility demanding skill and tact.

Site selection (drainage, flatness, soil condtion were factors), site
preparation (removal of growth, excavation -- not for a cellar, which
churches did not have, but for the foundation), placing the foundation,
makeing the bricks (in this case, or cutting stone or wood), hauling the
bricks, making the mortar, laying the bricks, building the roof, setting the
windows and glazing them, plastering, "finishing" (putting the interior
woodwork in place), painting or whitewashing were all steps along the way.  
When it was time the cornerstone was laid with appropriate ritural, duly
announced in the local papers to attract a large crowed and a
commensurate offering.  Sometimes the annoucments of such events
advised the peddlers to stay away, since these ceremonies were major
social events, but if not they appeared to hawk such thins a Lebkuche, a
large soft cookie, cake, and other treats.  Several clergymen would speak,
perhaps less of a treat.  A choir of children or adults might sing, depending
on the musical sills of the organist-schoolmaster.  Sometimes the pastor
wrote an anthem and the schoolmaster the music; sometimes the pastor
cast words to rhyme to be sung to a familar hymn tune.  A booklet was
printed witht order of the day's events and the text of the hymns, so that
people did not need to carry their hymnals with them as they had to do on
Sundays.  (Churches did not provide these for worshippers as a general
rule.  At most they had a few on hand for guests.)  A proclamation was read
and placed in the cornerstone.

Among Pennsylvania Germans a church was usually not conserated until it
was both finished and paid for.  It was on this occasion that a name was
given the building in the eighteenth century.  One pastor usually was given
the honor of selecting the name and of announcing it as a surprise during
the consecration ceremonies.  Names thus selected did not alway "take",
however, and local nicknames could prevail instead.  In the case of St.
Mary's church, the name of the circa 1762 building was automatically
applied to the new one, as happened thoughout the nineteenth century so
that congregations and not buildings any longer were thought to bear the
name.  There is only a brief reference to a service of dedication in this
instance.  The debt itself took over a decade to absolve.  The same
expectation of the conerstone ceremony would have applied again, including
the desire to attract a crowed and a large offering.

The financial register kept for both congregations of Saint Mary's church
contains five blocks of material pertinent to the erection of the church in
1821 and 1822.
A New Church for a German Congregation:
Saint Mary's Union Church
1821 - 1822
Information Taken From
Maryland German Church Records
Volume 7
Saint Mary's Church
Silver Run, Carroll County
Lutheran Records 1784 - 1863
Reformed Records 1812 - 1866

Copies of the complete publication can
be obtained from the
Historical Society of Carroll County