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The United Church of Christ
Bausman Memorial United Church of Christ is part of a denomination which is a merger of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches of the United States. The history of the United Church of Christ is centered in our Biblical heritage shared by the prophets and apostles, and extends through the Reformation to the United States via those persons seeking freedom and truth within their religious expressions.
Benjamin Bausman, 1824 - 1909
Benjamin Bausman was born in Lancaster, PA in 1824 and died in Reading, PA in 1909. He graduated from Marshall College (now Franklin and Marshall) in 1851 and Mercersburg Theological Seminary in 1852. He entered the Reformed Church ministry (now UCC) in 1853 and held successive pastorates in Lewisburg, Chambersburg (during the Civil War), First Reformed Church in Reading and St. Paul’s Reformed Church in Reading which he founded in 1873. A prolific writer, he edited The Reformed Messenger and The Guardian (1867-1882), Der Reformierte Hausfreundas as well as being the author of several books and poems. He was fluent in both English and German. He was known as a gifted speaker who attracted many members to the churches he served. Benjamin Bausman had a great influence on the community. Among the many Boards on which he served were the Boards of Bethany Orphan’s Home, The Board of Foreign Missions, General Synod of the Reformed Church, Reading Pastor’s Group and Franklin and Marshall College. The College granted him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on the 50th Anniversary of his graduation in 1908. One of his great interests was to teach everyone about the Bible. He founded many Sunday Schools some of which developed into Churches. He often used personal wealth to support his projects. Dr. Bausman died in 1909.
In 1908 this fellowship began as a Sunday School under the leadership of the Rev. H.Y. Stoner. The name “Bausman Memorial” was chartered in tribute to the late Rev. Dr. Benjamin Bausman of St. Paul’s Reformed Church in Reading. The new church that was being built in Wyomissing was named in his honor, The Bausman Memorial Reformed Church.
High Regard for Dr. Bausman
Two church leaders summarized the high regard people had for Dr. Bausman and his work: “Dr. Bausman was the greatest influence for good in the Reformed Church in the 19th Century.” - A.R. Bartholomew, Secretary of the Foreign Missions Board, 1909. “It is important to understand the secret power of a minister who was a sterling citizen, a faithful Christian, an unusually effective preacher of the Gospel and an incomparable leader in the educational, missionary, and benevolent work of the Church. He probably would have ranked among the first five ministers as pastor, preacher and scholar in any church in America.” - George W. Richards, President, Evangelical and Reformed Church, 1935
Rev. Henry H. Rupp, Served 1909-1914
Rev. Rupp was commissioned to be the Missionary pastor of the "Wyomissing Charge" to organize congregations in both Wyomissing and Temple. A charter was granted by the Court. It was during his pastorate that a small church was constructed. The corner-stone for the tower and Sunday School building was laid on July 10, 1910. The small church was dedicated on May 28, 1911.
Rev. T. J. Hacker, served 1914-1924
As the congregation grew, members decided to complete the church building with an addition in 1922. The completed building was dedicated in 1924 shortly after his passing.
Rev. D. B. Clark, served 1924-1933
The relatively small congregation struggled to meet its financial obligations. But much success was made during this period. The congregation grew, a church paper was published, and many of the early gains of the congregation were consolidated.
Rev. John R. Hahn, served 1933-1943
Rev. Hahn conducted his first service on October 15, 1933. During his pastorate, the congregation continued to grow. Substantial progress was made towards the elimination of the debt. It was during Rev. Hahn's pastorate that Holy Communion was first served in the pews and The Youth Fellowship group was organized. Extensive alterations to the Sunday School and social rooms of the church were completed, and the Fellowship News was published as a weekly church paper.
Rev. Cameron Billmyer, served 1944-1971
Rev. R Cameron Billmyer helped the church congregation, music program and Christian Education programs to grow greatly during his tenure and had the satisfaction of meeting all financial obligations. Rev. Mr. Billmyer was a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and the Lancaster Theological Seminary. He was active in county church and civic activities.
Rev. Dr. Gene Aulenbach, served 1972-1988
Rev. Dr. Gene Aulenbach was a popular minister at Bausman. During his tenure, Buasman had a growing membership and a very active congregation with two Sunday morning services. Rev. Gene provided thought provoking sermons and included the Senior Choir in the services in which Rev. Gene and his wife Vivien were members. The Christian Education programs expanded beyond the Bausman walls and often used the Wyomissing Institute of the Arts building.
Rev. Darryl Joiner, served 1989-1991
Rev. Darryl Joiner provided sermons and church leadership during the transition years between Rev. Aulenbauch and the Rev. Shaffer years. He encouraged the congregation to be better stewards and proposed capital improvements to the Bausman location.
Rev. Doug Shaffer, served 1991-2009
Rev. Doug Shaffer was a great teacher and taught from many life experiences from urban/street ministry. His service background with the founding of the Greater Berks Food Bank, Opportunity House homeless shelter, the Berks AIDS Network and many other charitable programs continued within the Bausman congregation. Rev. Doug would often preach from the aisles of the church and encouraged Bausman to have Associate Pastors and additional lay staff to assist with the ministry. - http://kuhnfh.frontrunnerpro.com/book-of-memories/1649728/Shaffer-Douglas/obituary.php
Rev. Mark Johnson, served 2013-2022
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