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St. Luke's UCC, Jeffersonville, Indiana


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Charles A. Schimpff Commemorative Card

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Look in the stories for a further explanation of this celebration of Charles A. Schimpff's service to his church.

This card was found in a copy of the Heidleburg Catechism at the church.  Charles A. Schimpff served for over 30 years total as a Sunday School teacher and then Superintendent of the Sunday School. He was born Carl August Schimpff in Scheyer, Bavaria, Germany and emigrated to the United States. He was a faithful member and leader in Jeffersonville's German Protestant community.  The card has 6 faces and is printed in German. 

  • Jeffersonville, Indiana
  • March 18, 1900

Christmas at St. Luke's 1900-1905

From Kohlhepp, Frances Howard. Scenes from Memory; A Happy Childhod, 1900-1910. 1991. Courtesy of the Howard Steamboat Museum Bd. of Directors, 2009.

“One Christmas morning, Mother wakened us very early – long before daylight, it seemed. We dressed amid whisperings and, ignoring our bulging stockings hanging by the mantel, went quietly down to the empty pantry where she poured us a cup of hot cocoa from a thermos bottle. Then we hurried out into the shivery air. A few snowflakes were floating down and a little daylight had come. We went along Division Street to Maple and turned down it for several blocks. The houses were dark and all the people in bed. We were the only ones out in the crisp, grey early morning.  Soon we came to the little white Lutheran church all alight and with heavenly music coming forth.  Inside it was filled with people singing. Candles were burning, casting a golden light, and the singing was like that of the herald angels.  The notes poured out in the clearest soprano with glory seeming to come straight down from heaven.  Afterwards we went out into the real world again.  There were lights in houses; people were awake now, up and starting Christmas Day. Al the way home and for years later Frances cherished the Christmas vision she had felt and seen that early morning when the Christmas miracle had come so close to her.”

  • Jeffersonville, Indiana
  • 1900-1905

I wanted to build a fire...

After the 1937 Flood "I wanted to build a fire to dry out the church, but I couldn't - there was a puddle near the furnace door because a drain was stopped up.  I looked for a hose to foce the water through, but the spigot was frozen.  I decided to go home for a blowtorch to thaw the spigot. My car wouldn't start.  A friend gave me a ride so I could go home and ge the blowtorch to thaw out the spigot, to use the hose to unclog the drain, and then use the furnace to dry out the church." 

Related by W. Franklin Lahr to Ann All "Local man celebrates 60 years of Serving God"  The Evening News Lifestyle Section.

  • Jeffersonville, Indiana
  • February 1937

Easter after the Flood, 1937

"Our people in the Ohio flood area were weary and fatigued.  It was out of that experience that our 300 worshipers came, seeking the risen Lord in our ruined Church. Where once was fine new carved pulpit furnture, new pipe organ, pews, and carpet, we faced ruin.  The pipe organ was replaced by a used piano; Reformed Church hymnals by used song books; pews, by flood worn chairs; and the carpet by a bare floor. All Sunday School facilities were unusable.  The scene about us represented discouragement and disappointment, gloom and disaster.  Yet, despite these physical handicaps, our worship led us to experience a "deeper Easter". We are not prepared to meet this emergency loss, but we have the courage to go forward."

by Rev. W. Franklin Lahr. in the 80th Anniversary program of St. Luke's Evangelical and Reformed Church.

  • Jeffersonville, Indiana
  • 1937

Sausage Supper Saves Sanctuary

This story comes from Ethel Woehrle Cundiff and an article by Dibbs Harting (members of St. Luke's).  The 1937 Ohio River Flood was devastating to St. Luke's.  The church and sanctuary flooded and destroyed and many of the members had lost their homes.  The members worked together and were able to hold Easter services in the badly damaged sanctuary (see photo:Sanctuary 1937) but there were concerns about how they could fund the restoration.  The Same family stepped forward and donated their piano.  Members, good friends, and farmers, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob (Ethel nee Knipe) Woehrle, Mr. & Mrs. John (Lulu) Roederer, Mrs. Gruber, and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Schneider put their heads together.  In the basement of the Woehrle home, what was to become the annual sausage supper began. The first supper was held in February of 1938 and was called a Sauerkraut Supper featuring hand-made sausage, German potato salad, and desert. That tradition continues today. Through the years roast beef, and then fish were served as alternatives.  About 1985 lunch was added and delivery provided to local businesses.  Now funds from the supper help the church and are used for local missions.  A fine tradition in downtown Jeffersonville, Indiana

  • Jeffersonville, Indiana
  • 1938

The Ark of the Nursery Classroom

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This toy ark dates at least from the 1940's. It's tale is told in the story section by Karen Blankenbaker Johnson, former Sunday School Teacher.

From Karen Thompson Blankenbaker:  Twenty plus years ago, while teaching the nursery class, I discovered the Ark with two and a half wheels. Not only would this ark not float, it wouldn't roll either. I took the ark home to put new wheels on this very old toy.  The ark was put in a closet for safekeeping. Like everyone else with children, my life was very busy and the ark was forgotten.  Months later we sold our home and packed everything up.  Not everything was unpacked in the new home.  After the death of my husband I sold our home and once again put everything in storage.  When I moved again, I unpacked and there to my surprise was the ark.  I put new wheels on it and returned the ark to its home at St. Luke's.  This poor, little broken boat has been a toy at St. Luke's for at least sixty-eight years, possibly longer.  If all the little hands who have touched this arek left fingerprints, it could tell us truly how old it is.

  • St. Luke's UCC
  • 1940

Millard Fuller: Habitat For Humanity gains support

In 1979, Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity was invited to speak by Pastor Ken McHarg.  He spoke from the pulpit of St. Luke's at an evening service to a packed sanctuary.  As he talked he told his own story of himself and another college buddy, young men who became millionaires by selling cook books.  Fuller went to Africa and taught people how to build houses with mud bricks. When he returned to the United States, he created Habitat for Humanity.  From it's small buildings, great things have evolved.  Members of St. Luke's combined with other churches in the area to sponsor the building of homes in the United States and around the world.  A group of Sellersburg-Speed residents were in attendance that evening and the churches in that community worked together to build homes in Zaire as a result of that meeting.

  • Jeffersonville, Indiana
  • 1979

Spanish-American War Veteran, J. Henry Meiboom

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Meiboom, John Henry

John Henry Meiboom enlisted possibliy on June 30, 1898 as he worked at the Jeffersonville, Indiana quartermaster's depot until that date.  He served in the 161st Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, led by Captain Lewis C. Baird.  He participated in the liberation and occupation of Havanna.  Known as J. Henry Meiboom, he was confirmed at St. Luke's in 1887 by Rev. Chris Fleiner.  He was the son of Pastor H. Gregovius Meiboom, a native of Emden Ost Friesland, Holland, who served St. Luke's from September 1874-July 1876. J. Henry Meiboom's father passed away in July of 1876 and the Meiboom family remained in Jeffersonville, Indiana. His mother was Caroline S. Fuehrer Meiboom.  This information was gleaned form Baird's History of Clark County, Indiana.

  • Havana, Cuba
  • 1898

Before St. Luke's in Jeffersonville

From an oral interview on October 21, 1980 with Helen Kopp, Rose Hunter, Irma Schaper, and Emma Johnson. "Grandpa and Grandma Schmidt, before we ever had a church here, they used to meet Grandmap and Grandpa Dietrich down at the Boat Dock and went (across the Ohio River) to Louisville and went to church at Clay and Market."

  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • 1859

Keystone Moved

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Keystone from the original building. In 1882, St. Luke's remodeled the church purchased in the 1860 and placed this keystone as a symbol. See stories for how the keystone made it to the 1915 new building.

From: oral interview with Ladies Aid - Helen Kopp, Rose Hunter, Irma Schaper, and Emma Johnston on October 21, 1980.   "In 1915, St. Luke's moved from the original building to the new one on Maple Street.  Anna, Anna Schimpff, and I (not identified) were visiting Mary Lyon and saw them tearing down the old building.  We walked over and in the yard, Mrs. Stiles, who owned the corner property, had the keystone on the ground with a flower, an urn on it.  Anna and I saw it and thought we should rescue that and so we called, I think it was... Bob Eby or someone on the council, Bob and Carl Kurtzman, and... Clutch Kluski called the men, the rehab people who were taking care of that, asking if we could have it and they said they would be glad for us to come and get it and they were even so nice as to, I think they furnished conveyance or something for us to bring it up to St. Luke's and put it in front of the building, and that's what they did, and we still have the keystone in front of the building."


  • Jeffersonville, Indiana
  • 1915

Contributor: ekuhlens
Created: November 6, 2008 · Modified: July 18, 2011

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