There are antiques and antiques; museum pieces and relics; mementoes and ephemera; primitives and archeological remains — we’ve seen samples of them all. But we have never seen anything which is so closely associated with early history of Berks County as the priceless objects which are in the possession of the John A. Reed family of Stouchsburg. These pieces form the original communion set of the ancient Rieth’s Church, 1727, the oldest Lutheran church in Pennsylvania north of Philadelphia. For generation after generation these pewter pieces have remained in the Reed (Rieth) family, ever since the time of Leonhart Rieth, the first pioneer settler of the Tulpehocken. The old church building is gone, the old settlers are gone, but these vessels of the sacraments remain as mute testimonials of the faith of our fathers.
There are four vessels in the set, all of pewter. One is the huge communion cup, shaped like modern goblets. This vessel was passed from lips to lips by the officiating pastors of Rieths as they administered the elements of Holy Communion to the Weisers, Spyckers, Rieths, Batdorfs, Kurtzes, and many other pioneer families in Tulpehocken. Pastor Stoever, Leutbecker the impostor, Zinzendorf the zealot, and Muhlenberg the father of Lutheranism may have handled it.
The wine pitcher is the most elaborate vessel of the four. It is made of a heavier substance and is covered with an ornate lid, still well hinged. The bread tray is the third piece of pewter in the set. It is nearly flat in form and does not differ in style from similar dishes today.
The fourth vessel is not a part of the Communion set, as such, but it is a sacramental vessel, too. It is the baptismal bowl, shaped like a small basin and unadorned in any way.
Both Mr. John A. Reed and his wife Annie (nee Scholl) are direct descendants of old Tulpehocken families. Mrs. Reed had many ancestors named Reed. It is therefore understandable and proper that such treasures should be guarded by the surviving Reed’s of Reed’s Church.
Zion’s St. John’s Reed’s Lutheran Church
Image Source: http://mapio.net/o/1966449/