Rev. K. A. Fleischman, whose mental and moral worth, and earnest labors in behalf of his "kinsmen according to the flesh," have secured for him so large a place in the hearts of American Baptists, has the honor of being the first German Baptist minister in this country. He arrived in New York in March, 1839. Receiving an invitation to preach in Newark, he came to stay one Sabbath, but was induced to remain. Many of the Germans, however, finding that he would not sprinkle and confirm their children, but would preach only those doctrines and administer only those ordinances for which he could find
authority in the Scriptures, became bitterly opposed to him. But the Lord was with him, blessed his labors, and permitted him, in October, 1849, to baptize three persons, the first Germans in this country who received the ordinance from a German Baptist minister.
Mr. Fleischman soon after this time left Newark to labor in Pennsylvania. He continued, however, to make frequent visits to this city, and from time to time souls were converted under the preaching of a pure gospel, and added to the little band of baptized believers. They united with American Baptist churches, but continued to hold among themselves regular meetings in German.
After long and patient waiting, their heart's desire was fulfilled by the organization of a German Baptist Church, September 7, 1849.
The Church was recognized September 20, 1849, by a council consisting of delegates from the following churches: South
Baptist Church, New York; First German Baptist Church, New York; and First Baptist Church, Newark. The council was organized by appointing Dr. Summers, of New York, moderator. Immediately after the recognition services, the council proceeded, by request of the Church, to examine the pastor elect, with the view of ordaining him to the gospel ministry. The examination being satisfactory, Mr. S. Kupper was solemnly ordained by prayer and the laying on of hands. Mr. Kupper having resigned his charge March 1, 1850, the Church were without a pastor more than eighteen months.
In October, 1851, Mr. A. Huni was ordained to the work of the ministry in the First Baptist Church, by the request of the German Church which had called him to be their pastor. The number of their membership had increased to thirty.
After a successful pastorate of four years, Mr. Huni resigned February 7, 1856, the Church having then fifty-eight members.
A call was extended to Mr. Conrad Bordenbender in August, 1856. Mr. B. was ordained in the First Baptist Church, August 26, 1856. Mr. Bordenbender labored earnestly for over five years, during which time the membership increased to ninety. He resigned October 31, 1861.
The Church called Rev. J. C. Haselhuhn, of Wilmington, Del., who began his labors in Newark, January, 1862. Until 1861, the Church suffered greatly for the want of a house of worship, having always met in hired rooms, sometimes unfavorably located and otherwise inconvenient. The necessity of a proper place for worship was keenly felt by their American brethren as well as by themselves. The subject was more than once introduced and discussed at the anniversary meetings of the City Mission.
In February, 1859, the Church resolved to make an effort to secure a house of worship. Committees were appointed; one to solicit subscriptions, and the other to select
a proper place. Subscriptions among themselves soon amounted to over a thousand dollars. The Church then resolved to lay their case before the City Mission Board. The Board kindly received them and gave them much encouragement. It was also voted that the German Church be invited to appoint delegates to represent them in the Board. A committee consisting of D. M. Wilson, of the First Church, J. O. Nichols, J. M. Barrows, and R. Johnston, of the South Church, was appointed to cooperate with the German Church in selecting a location for a house of worship. About this time the German Presbyterian Church in Mercer Street, above High Street, was offered for sale. The joint committees were unanimously in favor of purchasing the same. The Church, February 5, 1861, authorized the Mission Board to buy it for them, at the price of twenty-five hundred dollars, which was accordingly done. Thirteen hundred dollars, which the German brethren had raised among themselves,
was paid on it. The balance the Board became security for, besides repairing and putting the house in good order.
The dedication services were held April 7, 1861. In the morning the dedication sermon was preached by Rev. K. A. Fleischman, of Philadelphia. In the afternoon a general meeting was held, and addresses made by Drs. Fish and Levy. In the evening interesting services were held in German, and the occasion was one of joy and gladness to the little band who had been so long without a religious home.
In 1864 an effort was made to pay off the debt that still remained against their chapel. The Church raised two thousand, and the balance was paid by the American churches. These results placed the German Baptists in Newark in a position for aggressive movements among their countrymen.
The contributions of this Church for benevolent objects have amounted to $4,092.93. The number of members is two hundred and twelve.
[From Edgar M. Levy, History of the Newark Baptist City Mission: from its origin in 1851 to its ..., 1869, pp. 71-76. Document from Google Books. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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