Shepherdstown United Methodist Church
Wednesday, August 21, 2019


The United Brethren Church was officially organized in 1800 near Frederick, Maryland. In the mid-1700's, Reformed pastor Philip William Otterbein and Mennonite pastor Martin Boehm each experienced a conversion similar to John Wesley's famed 1738 heart-warming at Aldersgate Street. After finding little encouragement in their parent denominations, the two met for the first time at a revival meeting north of Lancaster in Long's Barn on May 10, 1767 and proclaimed "Wir sind Bruder" (ie., "We are brothers"). They organized a network of like- minded associates to preach the message of salvation among the German-speaking inhabitants of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. By 1800 it was apparent that a more formal organization was necessary if the work was to survive, and Otterbein and Boehm were elected as the first bishops of the new denomination.

Large circuits were formed, and pastors were assigned. Littlestown became an early United Brethren center. In 1849, the Littlestown circuit was divided and the portion north of the present Lincoln Highway became the Franklin circuit. In 1851, Rev. John Fohl extended Franklin circuit of the Pennsylvania Conference of the United Brethren Church northward to include a preaching appointment at Cocklin's Church, a non-denominational structure on the boundary between Upper Allen and Monroe townships. This was the beginning of Shepherdstown Church, whose meeting places may be summarized as follows.

Since 1887 Present Location

   1934 S. York Street in the village of Shepherdstown

1857 - 1887 Shepherdstown Union Church

   Still standing at the corner of York Street and the Gettysburg Pike in Upper Allen Township

1853 - 1857 Levi Eberly home

   Still a private home on Fisher Road, near the intersection with Winding Hill Road in Upper Allen Township

1850 - 1853 Cocklin's Church

   Stood between 1850 and 1943 in the cemetery along Lisburn Road