History of the Moravian Brethern at Leonberg


The following history is provided by SGGEE member Cy Harke and is reprinted with permission.


The earliest beginning of Moravian assemblies in Poland took place at Leonberg (Lwowek). This stemmed from a religious awakening in Leonberg, Wurttemberg around 1800. Three Moravian brethern responded to the call of Spreading the Gospel and migrated to Leonberg in Poland. Binz and Held were from Sindelfingen, Krater from Gerlingen. They held regular services with 30 to 40 local settlers attending.

In earlier times, services in Leonberg and surrounding area were conducted by lay-workers with occasional visits by Pastors from Neusulzfeld. A prayer-hall was built in Leonberg in 1847. The U.A.C. in Berthelsdorf decided at this time to set-up the Neusulzfeld and Leonberg Districts. Pastor Karl Hessemer was called in 1857 for the Leonberg District.

Plans were made to build a new church and residence at Leonberg. Hessemer visited the Neusulzfeld district to collect money for building materials. The church and house were dedicated in 1858.

A new two-storey church was built in 1865. The older church was used for Sunday School, Bible Study, choir and band practises. Georg Queck, a neighbor with a large yard, built a stable to accommodate visitors who came long distances with horse and buggy during festivals. In 1897 and 1901, the church complex was enlarged and renovated.

The 1863 Revolution brought fear and terror to the Leonberg settlement. Hessemer held services every evening to over-flowing crowds. Many refused to go home; instead, they stayed in church and slept on the floor. Russian soldiers passing through Leonberg provided some guns and ammunition for protection against the Poles. The Germans were caught in the middle of the up-rising as they did not support the Poles. Hessemer had to wait until the spring of 1864 before resuming his visits to Moravian settlements.

Another former teacher from the Moravian Colony at Sarepta on the Volga, Hermann Steinberg, was called in 1878 to replace Hessemer. He served the spread-out district of Leonberg for 25 years with only a 13 month break when he was trying to establish a congregation in Volhynia.

In 1908, Pastor Heinrich Schiller was sent to assist the work in the large Leonberg district. He resided in Stanislawow.

Today, the church is a Catholic church and it is in good condition.

The following Pastors served Leonberg District:
1857 - 1878 Pastor Carl Hessemer( -1895
1878 - 1903 Pastor Hermann Steinberg(1846-1935)
1901 - 1911 Pastor Joh. Arnstadt(1872-1952)
1908 - 1914 Pastor Heinrich Schiller(1883-1955)
1921 - 1925 Pastor Joh. Arnstadt
1926 - 1932 Pastor Karl Mark(1893-1968)
1932 - 1940 Pastor Karl Schafer(1909- )
1940 - 1943 Pastor Johannes Hafner(1907-1944)

Lay-workers: Christoph Schmidt, Ferdinand Lebert, Jacob Rometsch Sr., Friedrich Vogel, Johann Gerstenkorn, Philipp Bauer, Johann Mertz

Choir Directors: Gustav Gruber, Philipp Bauer
Band Directors: Philipp Gruber, Eduard Held

A church hall was built in 1875. The parish was served by Pastors from Leonberg on a monthly or every 14-day basis. In addition, about 60 families in surrounding villages were visited.

WW I struck a severe blow to German settlements in this area. In Jan 1915, they travelled to Modlin by wagon and then loaded into cattle cars to travel to Sarepta on the Volga. Life was difficult on their return as businesses and homes were ransacked.

The dedication of lay-workers and hours of work that went into congregational life was outstanding. Duck Dinners in fall were well known in the area. Wilhelm and Johann Freiheit provided leadership in choirs and bands in a number of Moravian and Lutheran parishes. The first Moravian band in Poland was formed here in 1875.

Lay-workers: Johann Hell, Eduard Kubler, Wilh. Freiheit, Joh. Freiheit, Leopold Ast, Ferdinand Gruber

Director of Youth: Eduard Kubler, Hermann Ohm, Joh. Schwarz
Director of Band: Johann Freiheit
Director of Choir: Wilhelm Freiheit
Directors of Children's Classes and Assistants: Leopold Ast, Frieda Ohm, Berta Jeske, Olga Freiheit, Olga Kubler, Berta Kubler, Berta Barth

Congregational life was essentially carried out by lay-workers with some visits by Leonberg Pastors. A church-hall, with seating for 100, was built in 1939.

Lay-workers: Joseph Oldach, Johann Oldach, Johann Schwab Sr., Johann Schwab Jr., August Schwab

Youth Director: August Schwab
Choir Director: Joseph Oldach Jr.
Band Director: Joseph Oldach Sr., Joseph Oldach Jr.
Director of Children Services: Johann Schwab

This village and near-by villages of Golas and Andrzejow, used a small school in Golas for church activities in the early 1900's. The Pastor from Leonberg held services every two weeks.

Ferdinand Freiheit: Founder of Parish, Lay-worker, Choir and Band Director
Adolf Ulmer: Director of Youth and Children Group

This congregation included members and affiliates from the German settlements of Grabowiec, Koschajec and Matyldow. Steinberg was the first Pastor to visit this area around 1880. Services and other church activities were carried out in homes of Moravians as a church hall was never built. A choir and band was formed in 1927.

Lay-workers: J. Lutz, K. Rossol, G. Engelhard, G. Krentz

Youth Director: J. Oswald, F. Rossol
Band Director: J. Rossol I, R. Sattelmeier, J. Rossol II, Th. Lutz, Joh. Oswald
Choir Director: F. Rossol
Director of Children Services: W.Rossol, B.Rossol, E.Lutz

A church hall, log building with straw roof, was built in 1862. Members from Alexandrow, Isabellin and Augustow assisted with the cost of the building. A large parsonage was erected at a later date.

The Stanislawow congregation had a choir and band. Leadership in all of the church activities came from Samuel Schulz and his twelve sons. Work came to an end at this location in 1940 as many were re-settled to other areas.

Following Pastors served the Stanislawow congregation and District:
1908 - 1911 Pastor Heinrich Schiller(1883-1955)
1927 - 1928 Pastor Elfriede Nigrin(1898- )
1932 - 1933 Pastor Karl Mark(1893-1968)
1933 - 1940 Pastor Wilhelm Zwick(1907-1945)

Lay-worker: Samuel Schulz(1875-1944)

Choir Director: Artur Schulz
Band Director: Heinrich Schulz

The assembly of Moravians in this town built a church hall around 1900. As this was destroyed in WW I, a new church hall was built in 1937.

Moravian assemblies at these villages were served by Pastors from Stanislawow. Services were conducted in homes as there were no church halls at these places.

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