Notes on Berks County
Verhandlungen - page 35 November 1863
2. After the proposal of the Chairman and approval of all members, Heinrich Butz and Brother Jonas Y. Schultz were accepted as advisory members of this Conference.
Verhandlungen - page 58 - November 1868
6. A loving letter by Brother Henry Butz of Reading was read. In times past he had preached to us fairly often. He expressed the wish that he could be in our midst but circumstances do not permit it. He wishes us the love, grace and blessing of Jesus and his heartfelt prayer is for the welfare of our little flock. We, in the name of the Conference, expressed our thanks and wished him God’s grace and blessing.
Verhandlungen - page 62 - November 1869
5. Since the Fleetwood, Berks County, and the Iron Hill, Northampton County, congregations shall be served alternately by several official brethren as before, William Gehman was appointed as preacher in charge of the Fleetwood Congregation and Jonas Musselman as preacher in charge of the Iron Hilll congregation for better control.
Gospel Banner - October 15, 1881 - page 157
Dear Bro. in Christ: – I was informed that you intend coming to Pennsylvania this fall. If so, try and be here by the 19th of November, as we intend to commence a protracted meeting at Bro. Hossler’s, and we wish to have you with us for a week or two - Please let us know whether you can be here at that time. Your brother in Christ,
Samuel H. Fry
Gospel Banner - August 1, 1882 - page 116
Bro. Samuel Fry informs us that by the will of the Lord a tabernacle meeting will be held in the city of Reading, Pa., commencing August 2d, and will continue over two Sabbaths. The meeting is intended to be held on north eleventh street. All are invited to attend.
Gospel Banner - January 15, 1885 - page 12
Bro. Wm. B. Musselman writes: “We held a protracted meeting in Blandon, Berks County, Pa., and had one convert. We closed the meeting on the evening of Sunday the 28th ult. With a crowded house and a deep conviction seemed to rest upon the people. The brethren have good courage, and some of them were wholly sanctified during the meetings. Glory to God for full sanctification. We now intend to start at Reading. Your brother, washed in the blood.”
Gospel Banner - January 1, 1886
From Reading, Pa.
Dear Editor:– May the blessings of the Lord rest upon you and your labor. Amen.
The Lord is working wonderfully with us here. Four weeks ago we started a protracted meeting, but for the first two weeks we were compelled to work by force, and with very few people; but thanks be to God! the just live by faith, and whatever we ask in accordance with His will, believing, it shall be granted unto us. Thank be to God for his promises, which are sure and steadfast. The last two weeks we had wonderful victory all along, and we trust it is only the beginning of good things. So far fourteen souls have been gloriously saved, while eight more are earnestly seeking Jesus as their Saviour. Never let us be discouraged even if the walls will not fall the first round. I suppose that no one could have persuaded Joshua that the walls of Jericho would not fall, for he knew he was going forward at the Lord’s command, doing His will, and that victory must surely come, if everything was right with themselves. Therefore let us start out in the “name of Jesus,” as David went out to meet Goliath, knowing that we have the stronger on our side, and that wvictory will be sure. In case there should be no victory or no conversions, we ought to fall upon our faces, as Joshua did, until God answers our prayer, and if an Achan is found, stone him, crucify self, cleanse ourselves, and start again. God must prevail, for no victory belongs so Satan.
May God inspire his people and especially his servants with holy zeal in his work. One soul is worth more than the whole world; then how can we be idle while our neighbors are going to destruction daily?
I was called to a sister belonging to another denomination, to pray for healing. She was very low with consumption, having been given up by the doctor, expecting to live only a few weeks at the longest, sweating very much at night, unable to be up, and could eat but very little in the morning. We prayed for her, with laying on of hands, and she was instantly strengthened and the next day she arose, ate a hearty dinner, and in the evening attended the protracted meeting, (14 squares going and coming), and testified for Jesus. She said that her desire had been to be able to sing one more hymn in her life, which she had been unable to do, but now she could sing better than ever. She has been away visiting out of the city since, testifying for Jesus. Oh! for living testimonies for Jesus who is the same yesterday, to-day and forever. All we want is the same faith to perform the same miracles. Oh may the Lord put it into our hearts to take Him for our refuge under all circumstances, for our commission is to preach and baptize, and to lay the hands upon the sick, (not only the apostles) for James, (who presided at Jerusalem, after all the apostles had been martyred excepting John) commanded to call for the elders in case of sickness, that they might pray for them and anoint them with oil, and that the sick should be saved and the sins forgiven if any are committed. James v; 14.
It is my prayer that this command may be obeyed instead of ignored. Let us remember that all scripture is given by inspiration and that we may think over this matter very seriously and take the whole commission, and the results will be glorious.
A. B. Musselman
Gospel Banner - January 15, 1886 - page 8
From Reading, Pa.
God is gloriously manifesting Himself here. There have 25 souls been saved so far and six more are seeking, while many more are deeply convicted. We baptized four times already, and will baptize again next Sunday. To God be all the praise. W. B. Musselman
December 29th, 1885.
Gospel Banner - February 1, 1886 - page
Dear Banner:– The God of the holy fathers, prophets, apostles and martyrs is still living, and as active as ever in manifesting his almighty power, even among the hitherto apparently impenetrable strongholds and mighty fortresses of his satanic imbecility. One church after the other has been reared within four months by and for our denominational brethren, to the surprise of friends and enemies. Lancaster, Bucks and Berks Counties are now worshiping the great God of heaven and earth in new edifices where, a short time ago, private houses, and in some instances, the tabernacle and rented halls were used for that holy purpose. Your humble correspondent has assisted the brethren in dedicating three: one at Springtown, Bucks Co., one at Blandon, eight miles from Reading, along the East Pennsylvania R. R. And the enlarged chapel at Reading, Pa.
The Lancaster and Bucks County churches were dedicated to God exclusively, the unpaid debts having been covered by subscriptions and cash before they were dedicated. These congregations have among their members, men, one of whom could build serveral churches without material injury to himself. At Blandon and Reading the membership is generally poor but as zealous and devout as any I ever met. The Blandon brethren, few in number, have on the day of dedication, Dec. 27th, 1885, secured in cash and by subscription, sufficient to shield them against impatient creditors. May Zion’s God edify, increase and prosper Blandon’s happy little band of worshipers! I hope their beloved pastor Musselman will see to it that the small balance will be raised and the entire debt liquidated in a short time.
In consequence of the marvelously rapid increase of the membership at Reading, Pa., and the great interest manifested by members of others denominations, under the prudent management and herculean efforts of our devoted and evidently wholly consecrated young brother, W. B. Musselman, the chapel has become too small even to contain the one-third part of eager listeners and worshiper on many occasions. Beholding that lamentable state of affairs, a very devout brother, not a member as yet but a very active participant to copy at all times, has been prompted to make so encouraging an offer to have the chapel enlarged that the brethren immediately accepted it and commenced to extend its depth fifteen feet. Finding that the thus extended space was still inadequate to contain the continually increasing congregation, consisting of members and others, the said liberal, and evidently consecrated brother, though not consenting to have his name published in connection with his laudable gifts, has, after appealing fervently to the God of all wisdom, mercy and benevolence, voluntarily consented to have an additional thirty feet added, subject to his first offer, which was also accepted by the congregation, and in a very short time, the chapel, which a fortnight ago was but thirty-five feet deep on January 10th, 1886, spacious enough to hold between six and seven hundred individuals.
On January 10th, 1886, it was dedicated to the service of God, your humble correspondent having preached in the forenoon from Dan. vii; 20, in the afternoon from Ps. 50, 2, both times in the German, and in the evening from Matt. v; 48, in the English language. By subscription and otherwise sufficient has been secured to liquidate an old and the entire new debt to within fifty dollars, one brother having subscribed over one hundred dollars and will, if necessary, do better. May the Lord graciously smile and abundantly bless these zealous congregations, with their liberal donors, is the sincere prayer of your humble fellow-pilgrim,
W. C. Detwiler.