Serving Christ since 1842
Jerusalem Presbyterian Church’s founding coincides with Welsh families’ settlement in Waukesha County in the 1840s. Over the many decades that followed, the congregation’s physical and spiritual presence have been cornerstones of the community. The church history continues to be written as our congregation grows and evolves.
Following are key historical milestones:
- 1842: Original Welsh congregation worshipped at the Richard “King” Jones family farm, Bronbyerllan, a mile east of the present Village of Wales. The first elders were Hugh Elias (whose former home is now Pedal’rs Inn in Wales) and Griffith Roberts.
1844: First resident minister, Rev. William T. Williams arrived.
- 1845: Congregation dedicated its first house of worship at the intersection of what is now Highway 83 and County Road G. It’s named Capel Log, which means “log church” in Welsh. The modest 18- by 20-foot log structure featured plank seats arranged around a wood stove.
- 1859: First Jerusalem Church built using frame construction on land along Highway 83 where Jerusalem Cemetery is now located.
- 1870: The congregation enlarged and remodeled First Jerusalem Church and renamed it Second Jerusalem Church.
- 1878: Rev. R.H. Evans became the first installed pastor of Jerusalem Church.
- 1882: The first Chicago and Northwestern Railroad trains steamed through what later became the Village of Wales. Train travel soon brought growth to the community, including a grocery store, bank and hotel. When the congregation began to outgrow the Second Jerusalem Church, many were in favor of building a new church 1.5 miles north in the rapidly developing village.
- 1913: Current Jerusalem Presbyterian Church dedicated on Main Street in Wales. The new stone church cost $15,000 to build. Church members carved the entire basement out by hand, hauling out the fill with a stone boat and team of horses. With its beautiful stained glass windows, the building remains an important landmark in the Village of Wales.
- 1920: Jerusalem Church, along with other Welsh Calvinistic Methodist churches, merged with the Presbyterian Church to take advantage of the wider appeal and resources of the larger denomination.
- 1930: Presbyterian Church first allowed women to be ordained as elders.
- 1954: Welsh Presbytery disbanded. Jerusalem Presbyterian Church became part of Milwaukee Presbytery.
- 1992: Congregation marked the 150th anniversary of its founding with a year-long celebration.
- 1997: Jerusalem Presbyterian Church became handicapped accessible with a 2,480-square foot addition that included an elevator, new Sunday School rooms and updated restrooms. Significant funding came from the Donna Lexa Memorial Art Fair, held in memory of a church member killed in a car accident in 1996. The art fair continues annually the third Saturday in August.
- 2012: Land purchased west of Jerusalem Presbyterian Church for an expanded parking lot and storage facility.
- 2013: Congregation celebrated the 100th anniversary of the construction of Jerusalem Presbyterian Church with a special worship service at former site of First Jerusalem Church at Jerusalem Cemetery.