St. Andrew’s UCC – Reading: March 29, 2015

St. Andrew's,ReadingSt. Andrew’s Church was organized March 19, 1891, by the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Bausman and members of St. Paul’s Memorial Reformed Church. A corner lot at Spruce and Miller Streets in southeast Reading had been purchased in June, 1889, and in November, a cornerstone laid. The first worship service was held in the basement (the plaster was still drying in the church nave) on November 30, 1890, the feast of St. Andrew. By the time the congregation was officially launched, two-thirds of the cost of the building was paid, and arrangements had been made for the first pastor, a recent Lancaster Seminary graduate, to be called.

As a neighborhood church, St. Andrew’s has always provided space for community activities. Boy scouts, girl scouts, and campfire girls; voters and poll workers; and GED instructors and students are among those who have been welcomed in the past. For more than a quarter century now, the Living Room Group of Narcotics Anonymous has gathered in the social hall every Wednesday evening. Discipulando las Naciones Church, a non-denominational congregation, has occupied much of the available space in the building for the past several years.

St. Andrew’s regularly helps address community needs. We contribute monthly to the East Reading Food Pantry, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and offer annual gifts to Reading – Berks Habitat for Humanity, which has rehabilitated houses in our neighborhood. We joined with City Reach Church to provide backpacks of school supplies for neighborhood children last fall, donated funds for low-income children to enroll in Reading’s summer recreation program, and offered financial support to help City Light Ministries continue their homeless shelter ministry.

The people of St. Andrew’s Church took up candy making as a fellowship/fundraising activity in the 1950’s. Each year, under the auspices of the Women of St. Andrew’s, church, members and friends help support the church’s mission by producing homemade, hand-coated candy for the Easter and Christmas holidays. To learn more, visit our website standrews-ucc.org.

Two interesting bits of historical trivia: St. Andrew’s first pastor, the Rev. Stanley L. Krebs, was originally selected to serve Calvary Church, Reading, as its organizing pastor, but he came down with typhoid fever as he was completing his studies at Lancaster Seminary and had to withdraw from that project. Some months later he had recovered and was chosen to organize St. Andrew’s congregation. Rev. Krebs remarried in his later years; his second wife was the Broadway actress Marjorie Main, who after his death went to Hollywood and achieved great fame playing “Ma Kettle” in a series of popular films for Universal Studios.

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