Church History

History of Our Church

The history of Mt. Moriah Lutheran Church begins with its founding in 1869 by a handful of members. These first members and pastors came from St. John’s Lutheran Church. The organizational meeting was held in 1869 and for several years, worship and meetings were held in various temporary locations until 1877, when it was decided to erect a House of Worship. The frame building on South Street was dedicated in 1878, with a total cost of the lot and building at $1500. Founding members of record are: Mrs. Mary Cover, Mary Johnson, James Mullins, Amanda Mullins, Joseph Trees, and Margaret Ann Trees. 
From Mary Kent’s 100 Years of Progress, City of Anna, “At a congregational meeting on January 1, 1899, Mr. and Mrs. R. Johnson proposed to furnish funds for the erection of a new church building, provided the congregation would secure a suitable location and furnish the completed building. Their offer was accepted and by January 21, 1900, the lot fund had grown to $800.00. To this sum the congregation pledged an additional $1,500.00.”
“On March 28, 1900, the residence property of Dr. J. I. Hale, Main at Jefferson Street, was purchased for $2,200.00 as the site of the new church. The residence was moved to the rear of the lot and altered at a cost of $300.00 to be used as a residence for the church care-taker.”
Continuing from 100 Years of Progress, City of Anna, “The building committee, R. Johnson, D. Sifford, J.M. Shipley, and T.P. Sifford employed J. W. Gaddis, of Vincennes, Ind. as architect. The contract for the erection of the building was let to Mr. E.C. English, Sr., of Anna.” 


“The new building of pressed brick with stone trimming consisted of an auditorium, Sunday School room, two class rooms and a pastor’s study on the main floor and a completely furnished kitchen and dining room on the basement floor. A handsome Moeller pipe organ was presented to the congregation by Mr. and Mrs. Johnson [Still in use today]. Dedication of the new building was on August 31, 1902.”



Who were the benefactors Mr. and Mrs. R. Johnson?

From HISTORY OF UNION COUNTY, Vol 3 by George Edwin Parks p.1279
“R. Johnson, a simple name, never knew nor can I find out his full name, for such does not really matter.  R. Johnson landed in Anna one day with the shirt on his back and little else. He was fresh in from Warsaw, Poland and knew but little as to writing and arithmetic, let alone reading! BUT he was handy with the needle and thread. In other words he was a tailor.”


“He found a room, started sewing men’s clothing. He built a trade; he hired other tailors to help. By the time of the Great Fire of 1879, he was wiped out, almost, but he had gained reputation of integrity.” [Anna’s fire of 1879 destroyed most of the businesses in the block along Main Street between Davie and Lafayette]


“He built a two story building, it yet stands beside the alley which runs from Main Street to the Davie School. R. Johnson had credit and started a retail men’s clothing store which prospered. He built a beautiful two story brick home, yet standing across the street from Community High School.” 


Thus is the background of Rickliff and Mary Johnson, whose gifts to the Lord's work in their community financed our present church building and pipe organ. Their generosity extended to other churches in the area as well, such as Salem Lutheran in Jonesboro.




Pastors who have served Mt. Moriah

  • 1869-1871 - J. R. Schoffner
  • 1873-1874 - L. C. Groseclose
  • 1875-1886 - C. W. Sifferd
  • 1887-1888 - T. Earnhardt
  • 1889-1891 - C. Baird
  • 1892-1894 - H. C. Grossman
  • 1894-1945 - H. L. McGill
  • 1945-1951 - William H. Swarbrick
  • 1951-1960 - Hugh Paton
  • 1960-1962 - Ralph Ryberg
  • 1962-1968 - Donald W. Karnuth
  • 1968-1970 - John N. Poffinbarger
  • 1970-1984 - Albert F. Nyland III
  • 1984-1994 - Christine E. Erdmann
  • 1995-2009 - Richard R. Hertenstein
  • 2009-2010 - James L. Clark
  • 2010-2015 - Kathryn Montira
  • 2015-2016 - Dennis Scoville
  • 2016- present Mark Hasty


History of the ELCA

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was formed over 20 years ago. This new church was formed from three separate and well-established North American church bodies:

  • The American Lutheran Church
  • The Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and
  • The Lutheran Church in America.

Beginning January 1, 1988, these churches, with shared beliefs and missions, officially formed the ELCA. Two decades later, this energized church is composed of 4.8 million members and nearly 10,500 congregations across the U.S. and Caribbean. Today, the ELCA reflects the rich and diverse heritage of the people it serves.


But to understand our heritage fully, one must trace our roots back through the mid-17th century, when early Lutherans came to America from Europe, settling in the Virgin Islands and the area that is now known as New York. Even before that, Martin Luther sought reform for the church in the 16th century, laying the framework for our beliefs.

Read about Lutheran Roots in America on the ELCA website >>


Go to our own What is the ELCA page >>

May 26, 2024

WORSHIP TIME9:00 a.m. Sundays


About Mt. Moriah

Come to the About Us section to meet Pastor Mark, and find out what we're all about!


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What is the ELCA?

Find out about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the history of this wonderful organization on our What is ELCA page.

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