A History of Grace United Church of Christ
In 1747, Michael Schlatter came to Taneytown as a traveling minister for the Synod of the Reformed Church in Holland to gather people into congregations and find pastors for them. Between 1756 and 1760, Rev. Steiner from Switzerland traveled from Frederick to conduct services in German under the auspices of the Reformed Church even before Taneytown existed. People often traveled twenty miles or more, packing guns to protect themselves from wild beasts and Indians. The area, known as 'Pipe Creek,' became Taneytown in 1762.
In 1764, land was conveyed by Raphael Taney the first church (known as the 'Old Yellow Church') was built where the cemetery stands today, with Lutheran and Reformed congregations sharing the building. In 1812, the Lutheran congregation moved to a new building and the Reformed congregation continued to use the building for eight more years.
In September of 1821, the cornerstone was laid for a new church on land purchased for eighty-nine dollars and sixty-eight and one-half cents. The church, known as the Union Church of Taneytown, was shared by German Reformed and English Presbyterians.
In 1844, the Presbyterian congregation moved into its own building and sold their interest in Union Church for $300. Under the leadership of Rev. John G. Wolff, the first parsonage was built in 1848.
In 1857, Rev. Ditzler was pastor of both the Keysville and Taneytown churches. In 1890, the Taneytown church was remodeled, the front was extended, the bell tower removed, and a floor put in to create a sanctuary.
In 1894, a Christian Endeavor Society was organized and the first pipe organ was installed. During the pastorate of Rev. David J. Wolf in 1906, the old parsonage was torn down and a new one built on the same lot.
In 1924 under the pastorate of Rev. Guy P. Bready, the interior of the sanctuary was remodeled to its present appearance.
In 1952 under the pastorate of Rev. Morgan Andreas, the parish house was built, including Sunday School room, stage, and altar. The present organ was also purchased.
From 1961-70 under the pastorate of Rev. William Wiley, air conditioning and a sound system were installed, the lower level was remodeled to provide classrooms and offices, the Lay Life & Work Committee was formed, and the Hesson Scholarship Fund was established.
In 1972 under the pastorate of Rev. Fred Wenner, a new parsonage was built on Roberts Mill Road and the old parsonage on West Baltimore Street was sold. The yoke between the Keysville and Taneytown churches was dissolved.
In 1998 under the pastorate of Rev. Keith DeBord, the church building was made handicap accessible with an elevator and renovated restrooms, and a youth meeting room and nursery were added. In 2000 a new sign was placed on the front lawn.
In 2002 during the interim pastorate of Rev. Lois Ann Ferguss-Oler, the church took over ownership and management of the daycare center now known as Grace United Learning Center. Steeple lights were installed, illuminating the steeple at night.
In 2002 under the pastorate of Rev. Sam Askew, cabinets were constructed for the church's treasures and artifacts. In 2003 a memorial garden was constructed in front of the church.
In 2004, our current pastor, Rev. Steven Ostendorf-Snell, began serving in the pulpit. The front doors were replaced with solid mahogany doors. Also in 2004, plaques were mounted on the original cement post of the cemetery entrance reflecting the current name of Grace UCC Cemetery and a wrought iron fence added.
In 2006 the parsonage on Roberts Mill Road was sold for $350,000. Also in 2006, the entire sanctuary was repainted and the pews refinished in preparation for the 250th celebration.