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Muddy Creek Evangelical Lutheran Church

brick church

Muddy Creek Evangelical Lutheran Church (Also called Modenkrik or Moden Creek Church in early records) South of Pa. Rt. 272 at Muddy Creek Road. History 1730/33 First log church built with services conducted by itinerant pastors. 1733 Church records begun by Rev. John Casper Stoever. 1744 Land deeded jointly to Lutheran and Reformed congregations. 1747 Second church built of stone. 1847 Third church built of stone 1869 Bohler Organ Installed 1939 Present brick church dedicated. 1968 Union with reformed Church dissolved and Lutherans acquired other half of the property.

For almost to 275 years, Muddy Creek Evangelical Lutheran Church has made a vital contribution to the Northern Lancaster County community. It is a historical landmark and an integral part of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture and character. Starting in the 1650's, Swiss and German immigrants came from the Palatine and Wurtenberg areas to the new world encouraged by William Penn to come to the 'woods' and fertile valleys of South Central Pennsylvania. Many landed at Philadelphia seeking a new life and tolerance of their religion as they spread out to the rich soil of the “Cocalico” region. By 1718, records show that about 70 German settlers resided in this new frontier.

The earliest baptism recorded is of Maria Eve Biigle in 1728. The Muddy Creek Church was founded in 1732 as a "union church" where both Lutheran and Reformed congregations worshipped and shared one building.

William Penn's sons, Richard and William Jr., sold the nine and a half acres of land to the congregations for 1 pound, 8 shillings and 11 pence. The church was situated in an ideal location along the highway from Lancaster to Reading. The name "Muddy Creek" was derived from a nearby stream whose riled waters prompted the name of the creek and church. The first church building was a log cabin constructed around 1733, which had a dirt floor and a center fire-pit to keep the worshipers warm during the cold winters. It was also necessary that a few armed men kept watch at the windows in case of an Indian attack! Later a more accommodating church was built between 1748 and 1750. This church had a balcony that ran along three of the four walls where the men of the church would sit along with the choir. The lower section is where the women would be seated. This practice continued until 1938. The pulpit rose high to where the preacher could see both the balcony and floor seats. This beautiful church was near the cemetery...and in this graveyard, there are old tombstones that go back to those founding days.

The current brick church was constructed in 1938. -Picture above. The dissolution between the Reformed U.C.C.) and the Lutherans (ELCA) did not happen until 1967 when the Lutheran congregation kept the church and immediate lands surrounding it. Peace United Church of Christ is our sister church. Today Muddy Creek Church has almost 800 baptized members and an average attendance of approximately 225 people.

The church is composed of many long-established families with some going back to the charter and many multi-generational groups. Record Locations: Church records, 1733 to date, are held by congregation and include baptisms, 1733+, marriages, and burials, 1921+. Microfilm of original records, 1733-1869, GSP, LTS-P. Church records, 1733-1869, translation by Rev. Melville Schmoyer, 1941. LCHS; LMHS; ACHS; SLP; NGS; LTS-P. Records of pastoral acts at the Lutheran and Reformed congregations of the Muddy Creek Church, East Cocalico Township 1730-1790, translated by Rev. William J. Hinke and Rev. Frederick S. Weiser LCHS; LMHS; LTS-P; NGS.