Back in 1955...
In June of 1955 the English District purchased the present 10 2/3 acres with a 25 room mansion called "Square Shadows," built in 1934 as the residence of Mr. and Mrs. William Stix Wasserman. Purchased for $135,000, "Square Shadows" served as the first unit for our congregation's house of worship and base of operations.
In July 1955, the English District Mission Board extended a Call to the Reverend Herbert Mirly of Castor Gardens, Philadelphia, to become the pastor of a new church and Christian day school about to be born in Whitemarsh Township on Butler Pike.
In August the Mission Board extended a call to Mr. Albert Mueller of York, PA, to become the principal of a new parish day school. The plan was to start a church with a parish day school so that the young church could use the day school as an additional way for reaching into the community.
The Mirly and the Mueller families moved into "Square Shadows" just prior to Labor Day. The Mirly residence, on the first floor, included the north wing which originally contained the kitchen, a small apartment for a maid, the solarium, and a small room by the back entrance, next to a four car garage, which was later converted into a larger classroom.
The Mueller residence, on the second floor, included the north wing, which had been used as an apartment for live-in servants, and the rooms connected to the hallway. Thus in 1955 the servants' quarters at "Square Shadows" became the residence for the Lord's servants.
The living room became the worship center. The dining rooms were used for a classroom by day and a meeting room in the evenings. The cloak room was converted into a secretary's office and the library was used as the pastor's office. The master bedroom on the second floor and the first room down the hall were turned into classrooms. The corner room next to the lavatory became the principal's office.
In early September, news releases informed the people in southeast Montgomery county that there would be Sunday worship services at "Square Shadows" and that a Christian day school would be established. While Pastor Mirly was contacting people about worshiping at the new worship center, Mr. Mueller was recruiting prospective pupils and faculty members.
The first worship services and Sunday School classes were held on Sunday, October 2nd. The Day School was opened on September 17th. Pastor Herbert Mirly and Mr. Mueller were installed on Reformation Sunday, October 30th, 1955.
During October and the first half of November, there were frequent meetings and weekly instruction classes for persons planning to become members of the new congregation. On Sunday, November 13th, forty-one charter communicant members banded themselves together in the Lord to become a new congregation which they called Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Whitemarsh, PA.
The rest is history.
For more on the history of Gloria Dei, click here.