OUR HISTORY

Our church once known as the Lower Twin Church was organized in 1830 and presided over by Elder John Brower for 33 years. In 1845, the first church was built on his farm in Lanier Township, at the corner of Enterprise and East Carlton Roads, and was used until 1874. In the meantime, the Sugar Hill church was built in 1858 to serve the members in this area. This building was torn down and the good timbers were used in erecting our new church in West Alexandria in 1923-1924.


The churches, Toms Run and Sugar Hill, were served by several Elders and Ministers during the years before a full-time pastor was installed. Israel Brower, David Flory, Jacob Lowman, Ezra Gilbert, Francis Cotterman, Landon West, Jonas Horning, D.M. Garver, Aaron Brubaker, Emanuel Shank, J. Franklin Brubaker, Noah Erbaugh, Samuel Miller, Noah Berry, John Good, B.F. Petry and Frank Brower took turns preaching without pay.


During the Eldership of B.F. Petry, 1920-1935, the Toms Run Church was sold and the Sugar Hill Church, which stood just east of the Sugar Hill cemetery, was dismantled. The new church was built and dedicated in 1923 and 1924. In February 1923, it was decided to have three men from outside the district come in and make a study as to where to locate the new church. J.A Robinson, S.A. Blessing and Levi Minnich, after much study, located it in West Alexandria. George Kempton, D.P. Groff, Arthur Henry, William Brubaker and Mardo Buckingham served on the building committee.


Rev. Franklin Brubaker and wife donated two lots and the same plans were used as the Bradford Church. The estimated cost was $24,000 and 75% of the money was raised or solicited before the building was started. Mr. and Mrs. William Brubaker donated the bell. An auction was held at the Sugar Hill Church, many things were sold and the result of the sale was $66.03. The Toms Run Church was sold for $1,710 and $79.50 was the result of another auction there. Many members donated hours and equipment helping to dig the basement, haul gravel from Twin Creek and haul in fill dirt after the church was built. Native maple trees were planted around the church. R.N. Leatherman became the first pastor. He served the church until 1929, receiving around $1500 a year. John H. Good, who was installed in 1919, became a part-time pastor and managed a shoe store on the side. In 1931, he answered the call to the Springfield Church and Jonas Groff, who was licensed by our church in 1931, became the next pastor. He served during the depression and deserves much credit for helping the church financially, nearly always endorsing his check and giving it back to the treasurer.


Rev. Paul Kinsel became a part-time pastor in 1941 and served until 1946. In 1945, the mortgage for the new church had been paid. Rev. John Good returned as a full-time pastor in 1946. This same year the lot east of the church was purchased in contemplation of building a parsonage there some day. New hymnals were purchased in 1951 and shrubs planted around the church in 1953. The Arthur Henry family donated loud speakers. A piano had been used until the new Conn Electric Organ was installed in 1949. The children of D.P. Groff donated the chimes in memory of their parents. Modern fold doors were placed in the basement in 1954 and the front of the church was remodeled in 1958. IN 1958, Emory Smith was installed as pastor.


Rev. Marion Petry came in 1962 and resigned in 1966 to do social work. Rev. Jessee Pittman who left in 1971 followed him. The new Allen Organ was purchased in 1966 and the house across the street was purchased in 1955 to serve as our parsonage at that time. Rev. Don Deffenbaugh ministered to the congregation for about 18 months. In 1972 the Women’s Fellowship purchased a food trailer to serve the community and to use the profits from their sales to help the church. Rev. John Martin became our pastor in 1973 and we celebrated the 50th anniversary on April 28, 1974. Paul Kinsel was the guest speaker that morning.


The new parsonage was built east of the church with members donating their time and talent. The old parsonage was sold so we were debt free on this new home. When Rev. Martin retired, Burt Wolf came to us as a seminary student in September 1978 and was ordained 34 months later.


Between 1983 and 1985, the kitchen was remodeled and we began our annual turkey suppers with profit going to outreach programs. A pictorial directory was done so each home had one. The sound system was updated , new hymnals were purchased, new copy machine and the benches were covered. Beulah Riegal did all the calligraphy on the inside of the hymnals. A Judy Wolf Memorial Fund was started and, out of that money was given to a student member of our church to attend college.


In the fall of 1985, Rev. Burton Wolf accepted a call to West Milton and Rev. Jim Davis became the pastor. Followed by 1985-89 James Davis, 1989-1991 Ruben H. Steele (part-time), 1991-1995 Phillip Dell, 1995-1999 Matthew Fike (part-time), 1999-2007 Manfred Schreyer, 2008-2012 Mark Gardner. Our current Pastor is Brody Rike – commissioned in January of 2013. 

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