A BRIEF HISTORY OF

THE LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE REFORMATION

WEST LONG BRANCH, NEW JERSEY

November, 2013

1930’s

  • Sunday, September 27, 1931 – the first service was held.
  • October, 11, 1931 Congregation Organized –  24 charter members
  • 1931 The Rev. Carl Miller (who also served Atonement Lutheran, Asbury Park) was the first Pastor.  There were 31 communing members.  The yearly budget was $694.
  • 1932 – Pastor Howard Kuhnle (who lived to be 101 and died in 2006) was called as the second Pastor.  7 children were baptized on the first anniversary of the congregation.
  • 1933 – The first Confirmation service for 7 young people.

1940’s

  • 1940 – The congregation moved to the American Legion Hall.
  • 1945 – The present church site was purchased.
  • 1946 – Pastor Paul Alberti was called to Reformation.  The congregation moved to the YMCA Hall.
  • December 19, 1948 – the Chapel (present day Fellowship Hall) was dedicated.  The membership stood at 63 communing members.

 1950’s

  • 1950 – Pastor Charles Gartner was called to Reformation.  An organ was purchased.
  • 1951 – Pastor Fred Bartelt called to Reformation.
  • 1954 – The home next to the Chapel was purchased and transformed into a parish hall.
  • 1958.  Pastor Robert Oswald was called to Reformation.  The communing membership stood at 202 with 203 children in the SCS

1960’s

  • Jan 27, 1963 – Dedication of the new sanctuary and Sunday Church School wing.
  • 1966 – Parsonage sold and a housing allowance established.
  • 1968 – Purchased additional property on Broadway.
  • 1969 – 805 Baptized members, 208 in Sunday Church School

1970’s

  • 1970 – Pastor Robert Linders called to Reformation.
  • 1974 – Improvement to parking lot and grounds.
  • 1976 – 2 offices added.
  •  1978 – Pastor Alfred Acer called as the Senior Pastor
  • 1979 – 653 Baptized members, 117 pupils in Sunday School

1980’s

  • 1981 – Reformation’s 50th anniversary and the burning of the mortgage.  First Word and Witness class.  New organ installed funded by congregational bonds
  • Budget of $99,000 with $4,000 in savings
  • 1985 – Pastor Richard Tupy accepts the position of Pastoral Assistant.  A new roof and heating system is installed.
  • 1986 – Stained glass is installed in the side windows of the sanctuary.
  • 1987 – The first concert of the John Fabrici Memorial Concert Series is held.
  • 1988 – The Endowment Fund begun.  New heating system installed funded by a loan
  • 1989 – 841 Baptized members, 93 pupils in Sunday School

1990’s

  • 1991 – Anna Beaty honored for serving as SCS Superintendent for 50 years.
  • 1992 – Pastor Penelope Stechmann joins the Pastoral staff.  The first Saturday Eucharist is held.  Pastor Tupy steps down.
  • 1994 – The new indebtedness is retired.
  • 1995 – Dr. Doris Watson starts as our Organist / Choir Director.
  • 1996 – Iglesia de Dios “nests” at Reformation.
  • 1997 – Mike Hamrick, Dave Matthews and Peggy White became our first Diakonia graduates, hence deacons in the congregation.
  • 1999 – 983 Baptized members

2000’s

  • 10/20/02 – Dedication of addition to the sanctuary.
  • 6/13/04 – Dedication of the East Wing.
  • 12/4/05 – Dedication of the New Food Pantry.
  • 2006 – Year long celebration of the 75th anniversary of Reformation
  • 2008 – 1090 Baptized members, 63 children in Sunday School + 22 students in the Confirmation program for a total of 85.   A budget of $401,000 was approved
  • June 13, 2008 – Pastor Alfred C. Acer died – served as Pastor from 1978 – 6/13/2008
  • June, 2008 – Pastor Penelope Stechmann is Pastor of Reformation increasing her hours to 30 per week; Pastor Richard Tupy assisted the congregation by working 10 hours per week
  • August 16, 2009 – Congregational Call Meeting held to vote on calling Pastor Penelope Stechmann as Senior Pastor. The vote was 108 yes votes to 57 no votes  – This vote was insufficient for a call (2/3 majority needed)
  • September, 2009 – Pastor Stechmann resigned
  • November 22, 2009 –Pastor Bruce Ewen, assistant to Bishop Riley, attended the services to preside over the farewell and Godspeed for Pastor Stechmann and her family.
  • November 30, 2009 – Pastor Stechmann’s last day of work at Reformation
  • December 1, 2009 – Pastor James McKinley is assigned as the Interim Senior Pastor; Pastor Richard Tupy Jr. continues to assist the congregation, working 10 hours per week.

2010’s

  • July 25, 2010 – Pastor Matthew Cimorelli called to Reformation with a vote of 121 yes and 16 no
  • September, 2010 – Pastor McKinley completes Interim Term and is reassigned; Pastor Richard Tupy Jr. discontinued his part-time service to Reformation
  • October 3, 2010 – Pastor Matthew Cimorelli began serving as Senior Pastor
  • October, 2011 – Celebration of 80 years of ministry
  • October 2012 – Superstorm Sandy hits the Northeast. Reformation, in partnership with the County Food Bank, Long Branch Covenant Church, Lutheran Disaster Response and Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey, becomes an emergency aid distribution center
  • June, 2013 – Reformation, in partnership with the same organizations listed above, and Monmouth University, begins housing recovery workers who sleep and eat at Reformation and shower at Long Branch Covenant or Monmouth U. Reformation is the first such site in New Jersey following the storm. At the Annual Congregational Business Meeting, held January 29, 2017, Reformation announces it is bringing it’s Sandy related work to an end.
  • January 29, 2017 – At the Annual Congregational Business meeting, by a vote of 62 in favor and 3 opposed, Reformation joins the Reconciling in Christ movement, adopting an Affirmation of Welcome statement.