The historical traces of this church reach back to April 12, 1851, when the constitution was adopted. The dedication of the new church in Pennsville was held in the fall of that same year. Charles Dinkey graciously donated the land and his brother, Reuben, was a strong supporter from the beginning as well.
Repairs and remodeling were done as needed while the church continued to grow. The church served the needs of both the Lutheran and Reformed families in the eastern end of East Penn Township. Throughout the years, the surrounding area grew and became known as Ashfield. In the early 1900's the original structure began to deteriorate and major repairs were being considered. Good luck and God's blessings came to this congregation by the way of Reuben Dinkey's daughter.
Emma Eurana was born into the Pennsville congregation on September 12, 1859. She married Charles Schwab on May 1, 1883. Charles, as some of you may remember, helped to orchestrate the merger of two large steel corporations owned by Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan. The company created became U. S. Steel, of which Charles naturally became president.
Charles learned much from his mentors, especially about benevolence. As a child Eurana's family moved to Weatherly where she grew up. The local area began to benefit from their generosity. The old Oak Grove Seminary was replaced with the Mrs. C. M. Schwab School for $85,000. In 1914, Charles paid $7,000 to Rolin Blakeslee for his twenty-three and a half acre grove which was turned into Eurana Park. There are now two lasting tributes to his dear wife.
About that same time, the church that Reuben and Charles Dinkey were instrumental in forming needed costly repairs, too much for the congregation to handle. Charles and Eurana stepped in and supplied funding to build a new church. Construction began in 1914 and the new edifice was dedicated Spetember 12, 1915, Eurana's birthday. The church was re-named Dinkey Memorial at that time to honor the memory of her father and uncle. Every Sunday near that September date, for years after, became known as "homecoming or anniversary Sunday." The Schwab's always came to celebrate with the congregation, until their last visit in 1932.
The church family continued to grow and prosper. In the 1980's, a very generous couple in the congregation donated the funds to have a Christian Education building placed behind the main church building. Herman and Helen Steigerwalt saw the need for more Sunday School rooms and saw to it that the need was met. In 1988 the two congregations of the "union" church consolidated to form Dinkey Memorial Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ashfield, Pennsylvania.
The 150th anniversary celebration, held in 2001, had special events occuring nearly every month of that special year. In the yearlong celebration, the most significant events taking place were History Sunday on May 20, where we celebrated our rich and diverse heritage. We welcomed the Evangelaires, who supplied special music. Our friend, Dr. Eugene Stine, shared his talents by reciting an appropriate opening verse and the Lord's Prayer in Pennsylvania German. We had a visit from the past by our founding fathers and benefactors. Hal Resh and Dayle Smith portrayed Reuben and Charles Dinkey, while Linda and Charles Bierman portrayed millionaire/philanthropist Charles Schwab and his lovely wife, Eurana.
Throughout the year we've had people from all walks of life come and share their God given talents, to help us celebrate this special time. One of the most touching was when Michael John Bodnyk came back to visit. When his father was Pastor here, Michael John was born and raised in this congregation. He left as a little boy and returned as a young man to melt our hearts with his singing talents.
On September 16, 2001 (about as close as you can get to Eurana's birthday) we celebrated our anniversary in a big way, conducting a special church service with Bishop David Strobel of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod as our guest pastor. Afterward the congregation gathered for a lovely banquet with fun, food, fellowship, and song.
Dinkey Memorial Church has a rich history, a devoted and caring congregation with a desire to do good for those around them. Generations of congregations have worshipped here, and as time marches on, we know that trend will keep Dinkey Memorial Church continuing into the future.