St Andrew’s History
An Episcopal congregation of fifty people worshipped at a downtown Lewisburg building as long as 120 years ago, but little is known of this early congregation. William B. Vance was granted a lay reader’s license to conduct workshops for Bucknell students beginning on Ash Wednesday, 1917. Seven years later, the vicar of Christ Church Milton (five miles away) and chaplain to the Episcopal students at Bucknell held services in his home. After he left the area, services were infrequent, until 1933 when the Rev. Morris W. Derr presided at Holy Communion at St. Andrew’s Chapel in the recreation room of a Bucknell residence hall.
When a growing congregation needed larger quarters in 1943, it used the Christian Church on North Third Street: the altar used in that service is the present altar at St. Andrew’s. The Diocese gave formal mission status to St. Andrew’s Church in Lewisburg in 1946, and in 1949 a Diocesan campaign, “Save the day for the Church in Lewisburg,” supported the work of the growing mission. The proceeds from that campaign, combined with a grant from the Women’s Auxiliary, made it possible for groundbreaking for the present building to take place on June 4, 1950.
Moving day for the new church was Good Friday of 1952, and the first service was held the following day with the lighting of the Paschal Candle, although the building would take another eight years to complete. The first pews came from a Lutheran church in Freeburg and an Episcopal church in Elizabethtown The organ was donated by Temple Beth-El in Sunbury. During that first eight years, Vicars J. Ralph Deppen, James B. Clark and Edwin A. Garrett shepherded the growth of the congregation and the completion of construction of the church.
The next milestone for St. Andrew’s came in 1960 when the Rev. Canon Donald C. Means was named vicar to prepare St. Andrew’s to become a self-supporting parish, a goal reached in May, 1965. A rectory adjacent to the church was purchased in 1966.
Rectors who have served at St. Andrews:
- The Reverend J. Robert Zimmerman, 1968-1978
- The Reverend John Harmon, 1978-1979
- The Reverend Paul C. Donecker, 1979-1996
- The Reverend Lynn Carter-Edmands, 1997-2006
- The Reverend M. Peter Harer, 2007-2015