Thank you for visiting Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ during the Candlelight Tour of Historic Houses of Worship in Downtown Frederick! We invite you to read more about our congregation, and the places, sights, and scenes highlighted during the tour including our sanctuary, Trinity Chapel, and the Christmas Putz.
About Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ
This Christian denomination was formed in 1957 with the merger of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (our German ancestors) and the Congregational Christian Churches (the New England “pilgrims”).
ERUCC is an Open and Affirming congregation in the United Church of Christ that has adopted a public covenant to welcome LGBTQ+ people fully into the church’s life and ministry. The UCC has been outspoken in its advocacy for the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens and their equality in the Body of Christ.
- Our historic building has hosted many famous persons including T.J. “Stonewall” Jackson, Civil War legend Barbara Fritchie, and Helen Keller.
- The church has a collection of Fritchie memorabilia, housed in the building.
- In 1931, Helen Keller addressed a capacity crowd through sign language, translated by her companion. People outside reached out to touch “a miracle” as she departed from the church to visit the Maryland School for the Deaf.
Two Sunday morning worship services and children’s and adult Christian Education classes are held each week in Trinity Chapel and our main building. Find details about our Sunday worship and education opportunities here.
About the Main Sanctuary at ERUCC
- The main church building was erected in 1848-1850 in the Greek Revival architectural style. The interior is in the square tabernacle or auditorium style. The architect was Jacob Wall of Baltimore.
- The ceiling dome, has a skylight of colored glass harmonizing with the windows.
- The stained glass window arrangement dates back to an extensive renovation of 1891. Originally clear glass on each side, stained glass was added in the name of “a more churchly appearance.”
- The chancel includes pilaster and Ionic pillars mirroring the exterior. The high altar and retable are marble inlaid with ecclesiastical designs in Venetian mosaic.
- The mosaic picture over the altar entitled Christ’s Regnans is by Charles R. Lamb.
- The mother of pearl carvings on the rear wall depict the life of Christ and were part of the exhibit of Bethlehem at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876.
- The organ was installed in 1964 retaining and restoring pipes from former organs. The three-manual organ has 43 stops and 1892 pipes.
- In 1987 Robert O. Wuesthoff of the Fritzsche Organ Company designed and installed the brass pipes of the Trumpet en Charade located in the balcony.
About the Christmas Putz
- The Christmas Putz is a nativity scene, or creche, that tells the story of the Christ Child using groups of figurines on a miniature landscape.
- The term “putz” is a 16th-century German word meaning “decorate”.
- The Christmas Putz, created in 1986, includes live moss, plants, rocks, wood stumps, tiny people and animals, figurines and a few sheep with real wool.
- The eleven scenes light up one by one as the biblical narration tells the story of Jesus’ birth.
- Other figures include hand-carved animals from Bavaria and an olivewood camel from the Holy Land.
- ERUCC members and friends have for years donated stones from their travels to places like Greece, the Berlin Wall, Honduras, Crazy Horse Mountain, Botswana, a German concentration camp, “Ground Zero” in New York City and stones from the real “Little Town of Bethlehem.”
- The 1998 narration is done by ERUCC Pastor Emeritus, Fred Wenner who originated the putz and includes music from Handel’s Messiah.
About ERUCC’s Trinity Chapel
Trinity Chapel is the center of ERUCC’s Christian Education Program and home of the 8:30 a.m. Sunday Worship Service. The chapel’s facilities are used daily for twelve-step programs and other community activities.
- The original small Colonial cruciform chapel was built in 1763. It was rebuilt as Trinity Chapel in 1881, retaining the original stone tower, 1807 steeple, and town clock.
- Trinity Chapel’s steeple is 259 years old, making it the oldest steeple in Frederick. The current colonial spire was designed and constructed by local architect and builder Stephen Steiner.
- In the 1790s the town clock, paid for by the citizens of Frederick and built by Frederick Heisley, a clock and compass maker, Revolutionary War veteran, and member of the congregation was placed in the original stone tower.
- Francis Scott Key was baptized in the original building in 1779.
- In 1931 the works of the clock were removed and donated to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC by the City of Frederick. The clock now operates by an electronic system.
- The Moller organ was built in Hagerstown, and installed in 1959.
- The stained glass window on the south side of the second story was designed and installed in 1898 as a memorial to church member John Rigney.
- The ten bells in the steeple have chimed since they were dedicated in 1893.
- The total weight of the bells is 7,690 pounds with the largest weighing 2,114 pounds (slightly larger than the Liberty Bell). The smallest weighs 200 pounds.
- Church bells chime weekly at 5 p.m. Saturday evenings and 10 a.m. Sunday morning.