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Here are the pastors that have served the Evangelical Congregational Church over the past 150 years:

(Information obtained from The Church Dedication booklet.)


Daniel Meier (1846 - 1852)

Daniel Meier, the first Pastor, served also the Emanuel's Lutheran Church, at Export, PA from 1847-1849. His license, with the Pittsburgh Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, was not renewed in 1850. The Export Church had a strong element of Reformed people, so that the "union" influence may have been marked, extending through the Pastor also to his work in this congregation. Possibly, by 1850, he had come under the influence of the Evangelical Protestant movement. The list of communicants for October 21, 1848 concludes with Lidia Meier and D. Meier, presumably denoting the Minister and his wife.


Julius F. Zoller (1852 - 1855)

The second Minister, Julius F. Zoller, was a son of a Lutheran Pastor, Christian F. Zoller, a native of Stuttgart, who emigrated to America in 1818 and spent many years in pastorates in Eastern Pennsylvania. In 1849-50, Julius Zoller was Pastor of the church at Warren, Pennsylvania, which was, factually a "union" church (Lutheran and Reformed.)
He is described in the records of that congregation as having been a member of the "Old Synod of Pennsylvania," which must have been the Ministerium of Pennsylvania.
It could well be that his experience there, in congregational self-rule, helped him later at McKeesport to withstand the integration of this church with the Lutheran Synod. It is thought that it was he who broke with Dr. William A. Passavant, the able President of the Pittsburgh Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and either turned the church toward the Evangelical Protestant movement or prepared the way for that change.
At Warren he had met and married Miss Magdalena Schirch in 1848. To this union one son was born, Julius Eugene Zoller, in 1859, who, though married twice, died without children in 1927.
Mr. Zoller represented his district in the State House of Representatives for at least one term. He engaged in the printing and publishing business. His last years were spent in Pittsburgh, where he died sometime in 1869. After the death of Pastor Zoller, his widow returned to Warren, Pennsylvania and was married, in the fall of 1870, to Louis Bauer. A son of that marriage became the Reverend William E. Bauer, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Harrison City, Pennsylvania, who kindly provided this historical data.


Heinrich Freimann (1855 - 1856)

Pastor Heinrich Freimann served the church for a brief pastorate, leaving it to organize the Dravosburg Lutheran church across the Monongahela River from members of this parish. In the absence of bridges and under the burden of the generally strenuous life of the settlers and immigrants, church-going to McKeesport was highly difficult. There he remained, it is said, only six months, after which his whereabouts are unknown. His son, Adam Freeman, was buried by the Minister of this church, after life-long residence in McKeesport, May 1, 1942. Adam had been born in Germany in 1852, so that Pastor Freimann must have been a very recent immigrant at the time of his service in the church.


Eduard Graf (1856 - 1858)

Eduard Graf resigned June, 1858, to accept a call to the Independent Protestant Church (Ev. Prot.) of Columbus, Ohio. He must have been a brilliant and highly-educated man. He composed a long and worthy moralistic-evolutionary catechism, a copy of which was located in the Columbus parish and has been translated by the present writer for the files. It is supposed that he is the author of Article I, Section 2 of our By-Laws, which provides that the teachings of the church shall always be founded on the principal tenets of the Christian faith, and that it shall be in harmony with the "Zeitgeist" and the latest finding of modern science. Back of this brief statement lies a whole "Weltanschauung" ("philosophy of world government"), revolting against dogmatism gone extreme in the Eurpoean Church, in potent protest and creative religious thinking. Ever, extreme orthodoxy leads to inevitable revolt and a reformation of religion. Eduard Graf and many of the early leaders of the Evangelical Protestant movement were great and pioneering men of heart and spirit, whose influence upon American life was delimited by the boundaries of the German language then in use in these churches.


Christian Heddaeus (1858 - 1866)

Christian Heddaeus, after immediately succeeding Eduard Graf, went on to Columbus, where he remained about thirty-five years as one of the most influential pastors in one of the largest parishes of the city.
He was born in Hochheim, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse, in Germany, 1829. Christian and two of his brothers studied theology. The three brothers became highly respected pastors and noted pulpit orators. He attended the Gymnasium at Worms, and later the Universities of Bonn, Tuebingen, and Giessen. Upon completion of his university course, in 1854 he became a private tutor in the family of Count Erbach-Schonberg at Konig in Hesse. He left his homeland September 12, 1857. After a stay in New York, he came to McKeesport January 31, 1858. Four weeks later, he assumed the pastorate of this church. He taught in the public schools, and for a time carried the heavy burden of the parish-school beside the work of the pastorate. A Columbus successor wrote of him, "He was a man of charming personal character and high scholastic attainment."
His first wife is buried in our church plot, in Versailles Cemetery. Sophia Heddaeus, nee Ihrig, was born in Zell, Hesse, and died September 4, 1858, at the age of twenty-seven years.
In 1861, the pastor remarried to Pauline Kuder, native of Wuerttemberg, born in 1841. Mrs. Heddaeus came from a wealthy family then resident in Pittsburgh. She died in Columbus at the age of fifty-eight years.
In November, 1900, Pastor Heddaeus returned to our pulpit as guest preacher. Soon after, having retired, he went to New York, where he lost his savings through the dishonesty of a nephew he had aided and went into the East River.



Albert Gibat (1866 - 1869)

Albert Gibat was a native of Koenigsberg. Pastor Leeman said of him later that he was a "very able teacher" in the parochial school. He resigned in November 1866, and, as said Pastor Leeman, "Since 1869 he is living in Philadelphia as a poor blind man."


Johann Heinrich Schnorr (1866 - 1867)

Johann Heinrich Schnorr served the church for a brief period before moving to Tarentum and in Temperanceville (West End, Pittsburgh.)


Karl Mutschell (1867 - 1869)

Karl Mutschell, who came in 1867, was a native of Wuerttemberg. He was installed by Paster Dr. Walther of the Smithfield Evangelical Protestant Church of Pittsburgh. He served until the last of January, 1869, when he accepted a call to Saxonburg and Hannastown, Butler County, where he died December 15, 1870.


David Leeman (1869 - 1884)

David Leemann, born December 22, 1840, in Zuerich, Switzerland, began his ministry April 30, 1869. He died May 9, 1884. His service was exceptional both within and without the immediate parish. As an organizer in the parish he excelled. In 1874, he reorganized the Sunday school. In 1873, he led the erection of the school-house-parsonage. In 1877, he organized the Frauen-verein (Ladies Aid) and served as Secretary until his death. And in 1870-71, he led the congregation in the erection of the--for that time--large church-building on the present site, at Olive Avenue and Walnut Street, "way out in the country," as some said! His parish was greater Pittsburgh area.


Gustav Adolph Schmidt (1884 - 1926)

Rev. Gustav Adolph Schmidt was born in Meschede, Westphalia, October 8, 1857 and died in McKeesport December 14, 1927. He graduated from the Gymnasium in Attendorn, served one year in the army and thereafter studied in the Universities of Berlin and Bonn. In McKeesport, he married Mathilda Kinzenbach, the daughter of the leading lay-founder of the congregation.
Pastor Schmidt was ordained by the Evangelical Protestant pastors of Pittsburgh, April 10, 1884, in the Smithfield Church, the attesting document being signed by the Reverend Pastors H. Weber, Gustav Lorch, and William Ulfert.
In his long ministry, Gustav Schmidt was primarily a pastor. But he came to be a leading writer for the Evangelical Protestant movement as editor of the "Kirchenzeitung"--"Kirchenbote." In his social theology he was in the vanguard, theologically he came to be the heart of the Evangelical Protestant spirit in his farewell sermon when he described himself as a Fundamentalist, in that he accepted and had presched Jesus' own fundamentalism of faith: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, with all thy heart and with all thy strength and with all thy mind. And thy neighbor as thyself."


John F. C. Green (1926 - 1967)

John Frederick Carl Green was born in Kratt, Regierungsbezirk Eckernfoerde, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, May 6, 1892. He attended the public school in Soeby, and was confirmed some months early, alone, prior to his emigration in 1907 to Montana, where he hoped to become a rancher. After several years of working ranches, he entered night school, intending to return to the ranch after a few months. But his teacher, Dr. Virgil V. Phelps, persuaded him to consider higher education. And so he completed the high school course and college by 1916, graduating from Shurtleff College, Alton, Illinois. In 1917, he received the Master of Arts degree in the University of Chicago. In 1919, he graduated from Chicago Theological Seminary, a Congregational school, and after that he spent the total of another year in special study at the University of Chicago. In 1947, Washington and Jefferson College awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.
He was ordained to the Congregational ministry in the Congregational Church of Godfrey, Illinois, March 7, 1919, following brief work in a mission at Pana, Illinois. In 1922, he was called to the Congregational Church of Batavia Illinois. In 1925, undertook the pastorate of an independent Evangelical Protestant Church in Madison, Indiana, which, under its previous leadership, had gotten into Lutheran influence. The congregation voted to unite with the Evangelical Protestant Conference of Congregational churches prior to his acceptance of a call to this church where he was installed November 21, 1926.


George Osterwise (1967 - 1977)


Donald Henry (1977 - 1984)


Stephen Misarski (1985 - 1988)


Howard F. Peters (1989 - present)

Rev. Howard F. Peters, a retired Methodist minister, felt the call to emerge from retirement and take the reins of our Church. Along with his wife, Ardith, he is a force to be reckoned with, and we greatly appreciate having him as our spiritual leader.

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