In the year 1800, a small group of devout persons joined with the Rev. Jacob Albright to pray for their salvation from their sins. These devout souls and their converts began to form “classes” throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, and these classes later became known as the “Evangelical Association”.
After 22 years of services conducted by traveling circuit preachers, the Kutztown Circuit of the Evangelical Association was organized in 1850, under the leadership of Rev. Isaac Hess. A brick meeting house was constructed in Kutztown, and the name “Emmanuel Evangelical Association Church” was adopted.
On May 6, 1885, the Meeting House was demolished and the two-story brick church, which is now Fellowship Hall, was erected on the site during the pastorate of William H. Weidner.
In 1894, a split occurred, following a disagreement as to what type of government the denomination should be under. The majority continued to meet as the Evangelical Association, and the minority, which included Grace United Evangelical church, one of five remaining on the circuit, met for one year in the Kutztown Music Hall under the pastorate of Rev. Stephen Buntz.
In 1896, John R. Gonser purchased the brick church for $750.00 from the Evangelical Association and gave it to the Kutztown United Evangelical Congregation. The Kutztown Congregation became self-supporting in 1919. They continued until 1922, when it was realized that eh two groups would not reunite. The majority (Evangelical Association) became the Evangelical Church and eventually became part of the United Methodist Church. The minority became the Evangelical Congregational Church. “Evangelical” because it emphasized the church as evangelical in doctrine and evangelistic in outreach. The word “Congregational” recognized the right of the congregation to control its own property and to determine its own membership. This was symbolic of the representative form of government the group cherished. In 1898, there were fifty-nine members of Grace United Evangelical Church, and services were spoken in German every third Sunday morning.
From 1900-2000, several major and minor renovations occurred. Among the highlights were “leaded glass windows” in 1900; a Mohler pipe organ was install in 1928 in memory of John and Louisa Gonser; carillonic bells in 1948; removal of the steeple in 1954; and a stone cast facing in 1956. Also during the years, a parsonage was built at 432 W. Walnut Street in 1912.
Because of the need for additional space, a new sanctuary was built adjacent to the existing structure. It was dedicated on September 13, 1981. In 1997, the pipe organ was dismantled and discarded, and the old sanctuary was renovated into four classrooms, a Pastor’s study, and office space.
From 1845-2006, the congregation has been served by 58 pastors, and membership has grown to around 250.