Churchyard Work

By Bob Josuweit
History Committee

Each year the Church sponsors one or more Church clean up days. The help is appreciated by all involved. Did you know there was a period of time when yard work was required?

During the early years of the Church a pastor would spend all of his money to travel from Sweden to the New World and find nothing there. Pastor Andreas Sandal found that to be the case in 1702. Many members of the congregation pledged ewes, wheat, rye, hens, roosters, corn, calves, colts, plates, pots, bowls, and spoons to name a few. Yet the Congregation, Church Council, and Sandal agreed that each and every family should contribute work on certain days for three years on a few acres of cleared land.

The first year every family promised 3 days of work, the second year 2 days, and the third year 1 day. This cultivable land which was owned by church was known as the glebe. The glebe wasn’t next to the Church, but about four miles below the Church at Passayungh, now Point Breeze, on the Schuykill. In fact it was one of the sites that the congregation considered building the Church.

Much of that year was spent cultivating the land, however there was still more to be done. The next year a horse stable and barn were built. Sandal hired four people from the congregation to build them. The congregation paid for the workers. Promises continued to come in for wheat and oats. Sandal indicated that some of them came in and some didn’t.

In 1717 the parsonage burned down. According to various accounts “a moderate house was erected afterward.” Gloria Dei Church was still renting some ground at Point Breeze. If the Church still owned the land that was once in their hands they would be very rich, as the city now covers the property.

Written by Amy Grant

Amy Grant is a graphic designer and web developer. She is the founder of the Southwark Historical Society, a volunteer based group that studies the Southwark Historical District located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.