With a congregation a mere fraction of the size it used to be nearly 50 years ago, Myerstown United Church of Christ – dating from the mid-19th century – is selling its historic campus.

In a statement provided to LebTown, the Rev. Bruce A. Greer, interim pastor of Myerstown UCC, said the German Reformed congregation peaked at 981 members in 1978, but now has only 132 members and averages about 35 worshippers in its 300-seat sanctuary on Sundays.

“Our 2023 Easter attendance was about 60,” he said. “Steady decline from 1978 on accelerated from 2010 to 2020, when COVID struck the final blow.”

And though the church is blessed with committed people, Greer said, “many of our members have aged to the point that we cannot offer activities and programs, even funeral receptions. Our … music ministry ended with COVID and has not returned. Our community meals … ceased several years ago due to diminished volunteers.”

He said just two committees are functional, and many leadership positions are empty. As a result, the church can no longer support a full-time pastor.

But the campus is in great condition, so the hope is that another church buys the property and takes it over.

As of now, though, “the emptiness and inactivity sadden me beyond words,” Greer wrote.

Asked what will happen to Myerstown UCC if the church is successfully auctioned, he said he didn’t know. “It remains to be seen what the plans are (for the congregation) if we sell the building.”

The church is hosting a town hall meeting about the sale after the Feb. 25 worship service. “This is important,” Greer said when announcing the forum before the Feb. 18 service. “We’re getting down to crunch time.”

The ad from auctioneer Nelson L. Ebersole, who will conduct the sale, said the property at 304, 306, 308 and 310 W. Main Ave., Myerstown, consists of a 21,000-square-foot church building; a 2½-story stone parsonage; a two-family home; and a 228-by-160-foot parking lot in the rear.

Auction bids, which have been placed in advance, will be unsealed at noon March 15 in a private room at the church.

Ebersole specializes in auctioning churches, he said, having sold ones in Fredericksburg, Newmanstown and Mastersonville, for example. “I don’t take pleasure in it,” he said.

However, Ebersole is optimistic Myerstown will stay a church, given the bids he’s seen.

The building is in perfect shape – “except where a bunch of pigeons made a mess,” he said.


The cornerstone for Myerstown UCC was laid on Good Friday, April 14, 1854, according to the church’s website. The building was completed and dedicated less than a year and a half later, on Sept. 30, 1855.

Until 1918, services were given in two languages, German and English. On Communion Sundays, the morning worship was in German, the evening service in English.

An annex was erected in 1900, and a three-manual pipe organ was installed, which was the Roosevelt organ built for Robert H. Coleman, the Iron King.

Two new wings were added in 1919, and a west wing was constructed in 1963. Over the years, additions and remodeling were done to the building as well.

Throughout the church are displays in various cabinets, the website said, of artifacts from the congregation’s establishment. For example, a quilt given from the congregation to the Rev. Dr. Wolff, first resident pastor, is on permanent display through the generosity of his family. Books recording the earliest memories and transactions are in the archives, along with photos of confirmation classes and church activities.

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Paula Wolf worked for 31 years as a general assignment reporter, sports columnist, and editorial writer for LNP Media. A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, she is a lifetime resident of Lancaster County.