Big Spring United Lutheran Church came into existence on January 1, 2006, as a result of the consolidation of two predecessor congregations, St. James Lutheran Church of Bloserville, PA, and St. Paul Lutheran Church of Newville, PA. The consolidation was the result of many years of cooperative ministry, mission study, and mission planning. We believed that God was calling us into a new future together, so that we could be a stronger witness and serve
Big Spring United Lutheran Church was born in January of 2006 as a consolidation of two smaller Lutheran congregations, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Newville, and St. James Lutheran Church, Bloserville. Our goal in coming together was to serve our community more effectively and to be a stronger witness to God’s love.
Our vision was to build a fully accessible, hospitable building that could be used to serve our neighbors and as a place to gather for worship and fellowship. In 2006 we purchased 25 acres of farmland at the corner of Rt. 641 and Crossroad School Road, just eight miles west of Carlisle and two miles east of Newville. We held our first Easter Sunrise service on the land in 2006, and began farming the land in 2007. We started with a couple of acres of sweet corn and potatoes, which we gave to local food banks to feed hungry people in our community. Around the same time, we began planting some of our acreage in soybeans and other crops; the proceeds have helped support our building fund.
In March of 2008, we broke ground for our new building.
We dedicated the cornerstone in August of 2009, and celebrated the dedication of the new building on November 15, 2009.
Along the way, we had to make some hard choices. Our original intention had been to complete the multi-purpose Family Life Center, the food bank storage area, and the sanctuary. However, it became impossible to finish it all at once, due largely to the effects of the economic recession. We decided to proceed with the Family Life Center and the food bank area, and to put the sanctuary completion on hold. We agreed that we could worship in the Family Life Center for the time being, so that the food bank would have a place to operate. This seemed to be the option that was most consistent with our goal of serving the community.
In January of 2010, the ecumenical Big Spring Area Food Bank moved into its new quarters at BSULC. The Food Bank serves over 200 households a month, and is supported by a large team of volunteers from the local community. In the meantime, we have continued to expand our church garden ministry. As of 2014, we have three acres planted in sweet corn, red and white potatoes, as well as some tomatoes, peppers, squash, and other vegetables. Last year we gave away several tons of corn and potatoes, and hundreds of pounds of other vegetables to our local food banks.
In September of 2012, we dedicated our new Christian education wing in memory of Krista Zeigler, a much-loved local educator and charter member of the congregation. The new wing has provided much needed space for Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, orchestra and choir rehearsals, the "Merry Makers" sewing ministry, and various youth and family events. The Christian education wing was completed without incurring any additional debt, largely due to many donations of labor and materials.
BSULC hosts an annual music festival each September, in blessed memory of another of our beloved charter members, Dr. Brenda Wheeler. The music festival features bands ranging from bluegrass and swing to classic rock and gospel, and celebrates Brenda's legacy as an educator and music teacher. We also hold several community meals as fundraisers during the year, including a turkey dinner on Mother's day weekend and a potpie dinner.
In September of 2013, we dedicated a Memorial Prayer Garden, which is intended as a quiet place for reflection as well as a resting place for the ashes of loved ones. The Memorial Prayer Garden is available to all. In 2013, we also became an official Red Cross emergency shelter, as a way to serve our community in case of any natural disasters.
By the grace of God, we have come this far. By the grace of God, we continue to grow in our mission of OUTREACH. We invite you to come and see, come and be fed, and come and lend a hand. We have something worth sharing. We welcome you to join us, as we have been so graciously welcomed by Christ our Lord.