HISTORY OF THE

"BRICK CHURCH"

SWEET VALLEY, PENNSYLVANIA

This church history was handwritten by Neva Edwards, who researched the church

 records.

Ron Hontz merely typed it up. 

 

1894:  The Pleasant Hill Christian Church was organized on March 11, 1894.  Mr. Asa Smith donated two acres of land to be used for the edifice and cemetery.  The members met in Citizens Hall until the church was built.

April 7, 1894:  A meeting was held for the election of church officers.  The following were elected:  Phillip Edwards and J. J. Hontz, Deacons; G. K. Edson, Clerk; Harry Edwards, Assistant Clerk; S. K. Foss, Treasurer;  and G. K. Edson, Secretary.  The members drew up the "Principles" of the Church

1.      Christ, the only head of the church

2.      Christian, the only name for the followers of Christ

3.      The Bible, the rule of faith

Church Covenant (part):

"Thankful for God's everlasting mercy and His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord

We covenant and agree together to seek to know and to do His holy will and to promote, so far as in us lies, the triumph of our Savior's kingdom over a wicked world.

We believe the Holy Scripture is given by God, for instruction, reproof, correction, and doctrine."

August 9, 1894: Members met and got subscriptions from area residents to raise money for the purpose of building a Christian Church.

November 3, 1894:  Election of Trustees was held.  Officers were: James N. Edwards, 3 years, Thomas Shaw, 2 years, E. L. Frantz, 1 year.  Also, Michael Edwards was elected as the third Deacon.

February 24, 1895:  The dedication was held for the new church edifice and the church became a member of the New Jersey Christian Conference.

October 2, 1897:  Members voted to buy the parsonage.

February 7, 1906:  The Ross Christian Church was incorporated.  It was voted that the Rev. Hornbaker and sister Smith were to represent the church at the next session of the N. J. Conference to ask them to consider the  matter of deeding the church and church property to the N. J. Conference in trust, so long as the conference remains the same as present.

1909:  Pastor's salary: $400 per year plus parsonage, coal, and wood.

1911:  The church name was changed to The Sweet Valley Christian Church.

April 29, 1914:  Members voted that the church have communion the first Sunday of every month, every month starting in January.  Proceeds from the Decoration Day dinner were $103.60; expenses were #31.24.

November 7, 1917:  Church members decided to take an offering to buy New Testaments for the soldiers.

1921: Pastors' salary: $600 per year.

1924:  Membership was 61.

1925:  The fall session of the New Jersey Christian Conference met at Sweet Valley as a Home Mission session.

1926: Membership was 85.

October 1, 1926: At midnight, fire destroyed the church and hall buildings. Services to be held in the Junior O.U. A. M. Hall.

October 5, 1926:  A meeting was held to discuss rebuilding of the church.  The Church of Christ offered the use of their hall for any church purpose.  The following were elected to the building committee:  Rev, B. S. Crosby, Chairman; Clarence Edwards, Frank Oliver, Jesse Hann, Arthur Cragle, Charles Updyke, Wells Edwards.  Soliciting committee members were: Stella Rousing, Chairman; Louise Foss, Pearl Edwards, Worden Updyke, Otis Farver, Mrs. Charles Updyke, Clara Holcomb, Loretta Sheldon, LeRoy Bronson, Leona Zinn, A.M. Smith, Walter Covert, Sr., Noel Hamburg, and Mrs. Frank Quoss.

November 22, 1926: Members voted to sign papers for the contractor to start work immediately.  Security was signed for $500 each on a $5,000 loan by the following members: Wells Edwards, Arthur Cragle, Clarence Edwards, Stephen Foss, Thomas Rummage, Mrs. Martha Hontz, Charles Updyke, Jesse Hann, Charles Callender, and Asa Smith. 

January 22, 1927:  The ceremony was held for the laying of the cornerstone of the new church.  Items placed in the vault were the names of: Trustees, Soliciting Committee, Building Committee, church members, Architect Horace G. Cook, Contractor William Whitesell, and Inspector Rev. B. S. Crosby; a small Bible, the latest Herald Of Gospel Liberty, and the United States flag.  The speaker was the Rev. Rev. B. S. Crosby.  The hymn, "How Firm A Foundation", was led by William Lamoreaux.  Prayer was given by the Rev. R. H. Smith, pastor of the Roaring Brook Baptist Church.

March 14, 1927:  Members met to decide on building a hall.  They voted that the Building Committee be given power to erect a hall to the best of their ability, 62' long by 32' wide with a kitchen at the side.  Mr. George Callender gave permission to connect the water pipes to his main to furnish water to the hall.  Mr. Charles Updyke built and donated the pulpit for the new church.  The piano was donated by Mr. Charles Sherman. 

April 24, 1927:  A dedication was held for the First Christian Church of Sweet Valley.  Pastor was the Rev. B. S. Crosby.  The Dedication Service was held at 10:30 A. M.  Participating ministers were: Rev. B. S. Crosby, Rev. Roland Updyke, Rev. J. A. Dillon, Rev. P. S. Sailer, Rev. George Roemer, Rev. A. M. Smith, Rev. W. H. Hainer, D.D. , and Rev. J. R. Laird.  Musical selections were presented by the "Shawnee Warblers" of Plymouth.  Pianist was Mrs. Frank Quoss.  A presentation of the bell was also held at this service.  Church officers were: Minster, Rev. B. S. Crosby; Trustees, Arthur Cragle, Jesse Hann, Charles Updyke,  Mrs. Stella Rousing; Treasurer, Mrs. Macy Smith; Organist: Miss Thelma Updyke; Assistant Organist, Mrs. B. S. Crosby.

1930: Pastor's salary was $800.00 per year.

January 2, 1931:  Improvement of the driveway was made with cinders.  Twenty received Christ as their Savior during revival meetings.  Boy Scout troop was organized.  Sunday School Teacher's monthly Bible study was started.  Tithers' Band was organized.  Envelope system was adopted. 

April 29, 1931:  The congregation decided to withdraw from the N. J. Conference since it merged with the Congregational denomination.  Members voted that the First Christian Church of Sweet Valley would be independent of all conferences.

January, 1932: Active membership was 85.

March 16, 1932:  Members voted that the age limit for joining the church be stricken.  The age for voting was set at 14.

September 15, 1932:  The $5,000 note was paid off and burned.

January 6, 1934:  The following officers were elected:  Harry Edwards, Deacon; Clark Edwards, Trustee; Stella Rousing, Clerk; Della Hann, Stewardess; Jesse Hann, Treasurer.  It was voted that the Ladies' Aid had the right to have an electric pump installed in the parsonage.

July 22, 1935:  The members of the First Christian Church of Sweet Valley voted to withdraw from the Middle Atlantic Conference of Christian and Congregational Churches.  The Conference was so notified.

January 7, 1939: The following officers were elected: Jesse Hann, Treasurer; Della Hann, Clerk; Adda Edwards, Assistant Clerk; Della Hann, Stewardess; Maud Morris; Assistant Stewardess;  Charles Updyke, Treasurer; Finance Committee: Elizabeth Smith, Harry Edwards, Charles Long; Pianist, Thelma Updyke; Assistant Pianist, Jessie Edwards; Deacons: Arthur Cragle, Harry Edwards; Deaconess, Jessie Edwards.

May 8, 1946:  The Ordination Service of P. F. Loftus was held at the First Christian Church of Sweet Valley.  Prayer by Rev. H. E. Peters, missionary to Borneo.  Speaker: Rev. Didden.  Ordination Sermon:  Rev. Ira Button.  Charge to Candidate: Rev. Birdsell.  Prayer: Rev. Edwin Jacobson.  Benediction:  Rev. Pat Loftus.  Ministers taking part were: Rev. Clarence Didden, Lemerick Pa.; Rev. John Hoeve, Centermoreland, Pa.; Rev. Roy Yapp, Shreveport, La.; Rev. Allen Smith, Cresco, Pa.; Rev. A. F. Birdsell, Shickshinny, Pa.; Rev. Charles Ruth, Yeadon, Pa,; Rev, Elvin Peters, Missionary to Borneo; Rev, Ira Button, Sweet Valley, Pa.; and Rev. P. F. Loftus, Candidate, West Pittston, Pa.

1948:  Pastor's salary was $75.00 per month.  Carl Brandon and Lewis Button were ordained as ministers.

1953:  Church officers elected were: Charles Updyke, Trustee; Charles Long, Trustee; Jesse Hann, Treasurer; Dayton Long, Sunday School Secretary; Finance Committee Members; Fred Updyke, Walter Tworek, and Rena Adams.

March, 1954:  It was announced that a nursery would be provided for babies during the morning worship services.

1954:  Daily Vacation Bible School was held for two weeks.  Plans were made to purchase the lot between the two churches from the Smith estate.

March 14, 1956:  Members voted to hire Rev. Don Nutton for $10.00 per evening service until Rev. Button was in better health.

July 5, 1956: Daily Vacation Bible School enrollment was 58. Expenses for Bible School were $83.43 for books, a treat, bus, and gas. Offering of $30.00 to be given to missions divided between Rev. Kenneth Updyke in Africa and Rev. Din in India.

January 26, 1957:  A board was appointed to assist in the planning to build additional Sunday School rooms on the church. 

June 17, 1957:  Two bids were received for the adding on of classrooms.  Mr. Hildebrand, $20,941.00; Whitesell Brothers, $12,000.00.  Whitesell Brothers' bid was accepted.

November 7, 1959:  The hall was repaired and painted.  An oil stove was purchased from Rev. Button to replace one of the wood stoves in the hall.  185 chairs were donated for the hall.  A refrigerator was donated by the Tworeks. 

1960:  The Communion Set, candleholders, and vases were donated by Mr. Dean Long.

1965:  The Ladies' Aid proceeds from the sale of food at the annual Charles H. Long equipment auction were $445.90.

May, 1965:  The constitution of the church was rewritten.  Members voted to change the name of the church to the Community Bible Church.

1966:  Mr. Earl White donated a parcel of land to the church in memory of his wife, Arrilla White.  The land adjoins the property purchased from Mr. White.

February 3, 1970:  The Community Bible Church was incorporated.

1970:  The Communion cup holders and pencil and card holders attached to the back of the pews were donated by Gloria Long.

May 9, 1970:  Electric heaters were installed in the basement.  The hall was to be rewired.

January 14, 1971:  Bids were in on the cost of finishing the basement.  Accepted: Whitesell Brothers, $4,500.00.

February, 1972:  Discussion on bus ministry for Sunday School.

May 6, 1972:  It was voted to have only 2 business meetings per year; in November and May.

May, 1973:  Second bus was put on route.

1973:  Election of officers was as follows:  Richard Thomas, Deacon; Paul Taylor, Deacon; Ronald Thomas, Trustee; Bill Ferrey, Trustee, Bill George, Trustee, Donald Gross, Treasurer; Betty Barski, Financial Secretary; Audrey Edwards, Assistant Financial Secretary; Almira Long, Clerk; Lynn Sutliff, Assistant Clerk; Frances Smith, Pianist; Louise Shaw, Stewardess; Shirley George, Stewardess; Bob Adams, Sunday School Superintendent; Joyce Gross, Sunday School Secretary.

May 5, 1973:  Glenn Edwards, chairman of the Missionary Committee, reported that the following missionaries would receive the following amounts:  Robert and Ann Smith, $580; Dr. and Mrs. Din, $250; Kenneth and Arline Updyke $250; C. E. F., $250; Leon and Lorraine Dilllinger, $250, Bus Ministry, $250; Radio Bible Class, $60; WPGM radio station, Danville, Pa, $60.

December 29, 1974:  Plans were voted on for: extension of the vestibule, wall to wall carpeting, lighting, steel doors, and awning over steps.

1974:  After the death of Mr. Charles H. Long, Mrs. Almira Long and family set up an educational funs to be administered through the church for the furtherance of student education.  In 1975, Mrs. Long requested that money be diverted from the fund to finish remodeling of the vestibule.  After it was completed, it was dedicated in remembrance of Charles H. Long.

May, 1975:  The Christian Academy of The Community Bible Church was organized.  School opened September, 1975 in the church basement.

May 1, 1976:  A report was given on the renovation of the Fellowship Hall which will also be used for the school.

 1979:  After the death of Mrs. Almira Long, the family requested that the Educational Fund be put in both names, hereafter to be called The Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Long Memorial Fund.

October, 1979:  100 hymnals were donated to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Quoss in memory of his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Quoss.  They were used for the first time for Homecoming.

1982:  The lighted Map Board, showing the names and areas where our missionaries are serving, was built and donated by Edgar Cragle and Raymond Shaw.  The Missionary Item Display Table was made and donated to the church by Raymond Shaw.

1982:  Present officers of The Community Bible Church are: 

 Pastor, Rev. Jack Peters Deacons; Raymond Shaw, Chairman,  Robert Adams, Richard Thomas, Robert Smith Trustees: Ernie Morgan, Chairman, William George, Loren Sutliff, Dan Smith, Randy Walsh, Dale Edwards Clerk: Patricia Thomas;  Assistant Clerk, Clair Adams Treasurer: Brenda Morgan Missions Chairman: Edgar Cragle Junior Church Leaders: Lillie June and Ralph Bowman, Glenda and Merlin Lamoreaux Music Director: Richard Thomas; Assistant Music Director, Brenda Edwards; Organist, Frances Smith; Pianist, Carol Herring. Sunday School Officers:Superintendent: Ralph Bowman; Assistant Superintendent, Richard Thomas; Secretary, Marsha Walsh; Assistant Secretary, Carl Smith; Pianist, Lynn Sutliff.

Christian Academy enrollment is 45. 

Administrator: Rev. Jack Peters; Principal, Gloria Long;  School Board Chairman, Rev. Jack Peters; Treasurer, William George; Secretary, Dottie Peters; Board Members: Raymond Shaw, Robert Smith, Robert Adams, and Richard Thomas.

 

Researched by:

Neva Edwards Johns

June,  1982                                                                            Matthew 28: 19, 20  

 

Church Pastors  1894-2003

The Pleasant Hill Christian Church

1894                                            Brother O. Phillip Edwards

1894-1895                                  Rev. G.D. Shear

1896                                            Rev. P.S. Sailer

1896-1897                                  Rev. John Enright

1897-1899                                  Rev. J. P. Topping

1900-1901                                  Rev. J. R. Laird

1902-1904                                  Rev. C. F. Hook

1905                                            Rev. C. N. Rockwell

 

The Ross Christian Church, Inc. 1906

 

1906                                            Rev. Hornbaker

1907-1911                                  Rev. J. W. Hoffman

 

The Sweet Valley Christian Church  1911

1912-1913                                  Rev. J. A. Dillon

1914-1921                                  Rev. George Roemer

1922                                             Rev. J. V. Davis                                

1923-1926                                  Rev. Roland Updyke

 

The Sweet Valley First Christian Church 1927

1927                                             Rev. B. S. Crosby

1928                                             Rev. Archie Smith

1928-1930                                  Rev.  Joseph DelKanic                    

1931-1933                                  Rev. William Covert

1933-1936                                  Rev. Frank Ritter

1936-1958                                  Rev. Ira Button

1959-1970                                  Rev. Kirby Jones

 

                           The Community Bible Church  1965

1970-1973                                  Rev. Jack Cooper

1973-1979                                  Rev. Wayne Reese

1979-1982                                  Rev. Jack Peters

1983-1997                                  Rev. Raymond Purdy

1997-                                            Rev. Timothy Cappucci

 

 

Ronald E. Hontz

33 Whitcraft Lane

Shrewsbury PA 17361

(717) 235-5791

cell phone (717) 309-1402

e-mail: Sweetvalleykid@gmail.com

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