Our History

1888-2013

            In the early 1880’s the town of Houstonville was located at the junction of Chartiers Creek and little Chartiers Creek  There were no real churches in town at that time but a small group of Seceders met in a small brick building on the creek bank.  This building stood on the site of the Templeton Feed Mill structure.  This group met for only 10 to 12 years and disbanded.

            As the town increased in size, its needs for educational, moral, and spiritual guidance also increased.  So, in May of 1884 a committee met with Chartiers Presbytery to make a request for organizing a United Presbyterian Church.  However, this attempt failed because after canvassing the community it was decided that there was not enough support.

            Four more years passed.  The village of Houstonville was outgrowing its schoolhouse.  Erection of a new building was necessary.  The citizens requested that a second story be added and used as a town hall.  The request was granted and the community canvassed for funds.  The town hall would also solve the problem of a meeting place for a church.  So in 1888, Presbytery was petitioned for permission to organize a church.  A list of 82 names was submitted on June 14, at the Presbytery meeting being held at North Buffalo.  A commission consisting of Rev. A. R. Anderson, D.D. and Elders Thomas Miller, William Giffin, and Johnson Agnew was established to effect the organization.

            The committee first met in the town hall on October 9, 1888.  At this meeting Messrs. A. T. Haft, S. W. Berry, and James W. Pollock were chosen as elders.  The committee’s work was completed on November 15, 1888, when the afore mentioned were installed. Pulpit supplies were sent to the new congregation.  On December 8, 1888, a call to the pulpit was extended to Mr. E .E. Douglass, a young Seminary student.  On January 6, 1889, Mr. Douglass preached and announced his acceptance of the call.  He was ordained and installed on May 7, 1889.

The people continued to worship in the town hall for 5 years.  In 1891, Mr. William B. Houston donated the ground on which to erect a church.  A committee was established to raise funds.  When $7,000 was raised, ground was broken.  This event took place in August of 1893.  The building was completed and the church dedicated on May 4, 1894.  Cost of the building with furnishings was about $12,000.

            After serving the church for ten and a half years (1889-1900), Rev. Mr. Douglass accepted a call to East Palestine, Ohio.  His resignation forced the church to hear candidates and select a new pastor.  On the second Sabbath in August 1900, Rev. J.C. Kistler preached and held Communion.  In October of the same year the congregation extended a call to him.  In January of 1901, Rev. J.C. Kistler began his work.  During his pastorate a great increase in membership can be noted. The church debt was liquidated and the church basement was enlarged also under his period.  His pastorate ended July 16, 1922.

            When Rev. Kistler left the community, his home was purchased for a church manse.  This home is still our pastor’s residence.  Also, during this time a committee was appointed to solicit funds and purchase a pipe organ.  Generous contributions led to the completion of this task before the arrival of a new minister.

            A call was extended to a man from Washington D.C. and in November of 1922, Rev. W. F. Harkey became pastor.  He remained as pastor for more than 12 years, leaving in April of 1935.  His pastorate brought forth a financial budget system and the addition of a Bible School facility.  The new addition was dedicated March 3, 1929.  Work reaching youth was stressed and the membership swelled to over 600.

            On September 4, 1935, at a congregational meeting the call was extended to Rev. Evert L. Haney of Richmond, Kansas.  On October 16, 1935, he took over as church pastor.  All indebtedness of the church was dissolved and the mortgage was burned at a congregational dinner April 8, 1942, during his pastorate.  Mr. Haney remained pastor until November 1, 1942, when he left to become Synodical Secretary in the Midwest.

            On October 12, 1943, Rev. J.B. Orth began his work as pastor of the Houston congregation.  Rev. Orth left November 10, 1946, to take up work in another field.

            On March 23, 1947, Dr. E. V. Condron became minister and remained until his death on May 28, 1958.  Extensive repairs and remodeling of the sanctuary was done during his pastorate.  Discussion in 1951, established a need for another educational unit.  Therefore, at a meeting on September 17, 1952, the congregation voted to add on an educational wing and chapel to the church.  This was completed and dedicated in 1959, adding a chapel, a large kitchen, Fellowship Hall, a family room, and a large second floor for classrooms.  The church was undergoing rapid growth after WW II.

            Rev. Harry W. Rankin became our next pastor on December 14, 1958.  Rev. Rankin’s years as pastor were years of growth, especially in the Bible School.  A West Virginia Mission Project was established.  Also during his pastorate a badly needed parking lot was bought, radio services were introduced, and the pipe organ was completely rebuilt.  On March 31, 1968, an Easter Cantata, written and directed by Al Cole, was performed by the choir. A recording was made of the performance.  Many members may own a record of this special performance.

            In 1970 Rev. Samuel Lewis was called to the pulpit.  Under his pastorate the Open Door Nursery began.  The Meals on Wheels Program was begun under the direction of Virginia Craig, as our church turned toward Community Outreach.  While Rev. Lewis was pastor a Christmas card was published featuring our sanctuary decorated for Christmas services.  He remained with us until 1975.  The Lewises now reside in Tyrone.

            Rev. James Adair, came to us in 1977.  During that time our church purchased a new pipe organ, re-carpeted the sanctuary, repaired the roof on the sanctuary, refurnished the family room, and made major repairs to the church in preparation for the 100th Anniversary.  Also in the interest of community outreach and evangelism our church has continued to provide space for the Open Door Nursery, Meals on Wheels, and the recently formed Youth Club.

            The Annual Beach Mission projects provided evangelical experiences for many local teenagers.

            Rev. James Adair served as pastor from 1977-1992 when he retired.

            Rev. David Pieplow came in 1994 and left in 1997. 

            Rev. Dr. Clarejean Haury came to us as a designated pastor in 1998.  She was installed in 2002 and remains to this day as our pastor.  During that time many building projects were completed and continue to be done.  The stained glass windows in the sanctuary were removed, repaired and replaced in a project that lasted from 1998 to 2003; the parking lots were repaved in 2005; the windows in the Fellowship Hall were replaced in 2009 and the hall was renovated in 2010.

            The Deacons painted, purchased carpeting and new furniture for the Family Room in 2006.

            A new roof was put on the chapel in 2012 and the slate roof over the sanctuary was also replaced in 2012.  The slates were then used by the Girlfriends to make painted Christmas plaques.

            The pews in the sanctuary were upholstered in 2012.  Renovations continue to this day.  The office and the hallway connecting the Fellowship Hall to the rest of the church are being repainted and carpeted.  The basement has just undergone repairs and a new floor installed.

            Many blessings have been bestowed upon our church over the years and we pray that God will continue to bless us in the future.

 

                                   


So I say to you: Ask and you it will be given you,
Search and you will find,
Knock and the door will be opened for you.
… How much more will the heavenly Father
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.

— Luke 11:9 & 13