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Brief Biographical / Historical Sketch


St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Millvale, Pennsylvania was founded in 1873. Since its founding St. John's has gone through many name changes. The first came when the congregation split from the German Evangelical Protestant Church of Etna and formed the German Reformed Congregation of Girty's Run. Shortly thereafter the church closed due to "hard times." In 1877, with a donation from the Reformed Synod, the church formed again as the German Reformed Congregation. However, this union did not last long. They split from the Reformed Synod and changed their name to the German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. A split from this church caused the formation of the First United Church of Christ, also located in Millvale. Sometime before 1903 the church was renamed and called the German Evangelical St. John's Church of Millvale. In 1925 the final name change took place. They settled on the name St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Like many churches formed during that time period, St. John's congregation was made up of mostly of immigrants that had come to Pittsburgh to work in the mills and breweries surrounding the city. Congregants in St. John's were mostly of German, especially Bavarian, descent. In fact, for many years services were held in German. In the early 20th Century bi-monthly English services were introduced and it was not until the 1960s that all services were performed in English.

Although St. John's has remained in Millvale, the church has had three different locations. Through fundraising efforts St. John's has been able to grow and expand with their congregation. Of interest was the purchase of a new pipe organ for their last and most current location. Andrew Carnegie donated funds that covered half the price of the pipe organ. Further information on the history, pastors, congregation, schools, and the St. John's Ladies can be found in a printed history of the church written in 1977.