History of the Moravian Church

By Barb Johnson

Martin Hauser had received $200 from the Moravian Church by April 5, 1830. He sent a messenger with that money to Indianapolis to purchase the land necessary to start his new Congregational Town of Goshen. On that same day the first logs were felled to begin the church/school for the town. This small cabin was built on the site of the present Teen Center on Jackson Street. By this time, there were about 35 settlers in the area including Daniel Ziegler and John and Thomas Essex who had settled before Hauser arrived. These energetic settlers built the main structure of the church, but had to stop work on the building before the roof was completed because it was necessary for all of them to begin the work of planting crops in this new land.

Since arriving in the area, Martin Hauser had led the usual worship services at his home, but plans were made to dedicate the new church on June 17, which was the anniversary of the forming of the original Moravian (or United Brethern) Church. The men of the settlement had no time to complete the building, so on June 16th, they met and cut beech boughs to lay across the top of the building as a temporary roof. The dedication proceeded as planned with Brother Hauser leading the worship with 35 member present. A Love Feast was served in the afternoon with each member bringing his own cup for the coffee. There must have been such pride that day to think that in spite of all the hardships of the wilderness, this small group of settlers was starting a new congregation and a new town.

In memory of the first church and its dedication, the Hope Moravian Church decorated its sanctuary and front doors with beech boughs on their Anniversary Sunday for over 130 years. In memory of that event, the congregation intends to do the same this year for the 175th anniversary.