As we begin running down the corridor of our memory we recall the days when our forefathers trembled before a Holy God. In their trials & tribulations they came out as gold purified. After each test they came forward stronger in their faith, and better able to continue in the work of their Master. With their faith deepened and their strength renewed, they practiced the presence of God in the sanctuary of the church. They found in God their keeper, and never failed to see Him "As a very present help in time of trouble."
This great work dates back to the year of 1895 when a small group of believers met and the church was organized. The church was organized according to the first minutes recorded March 26, 1895, with an enrollment of 39 members. The first pastor was Rev. C. D. Sawtelle. The first secretary was Mr. Thomas Byers. The board of Elders and Deacons being as follows:
Elders - C. R. Stiffler, Silas Westover, S. J. Byers.
Deacons - John Cibulka, Judd Westover and John Thompson.
The first meeting was held in a hall, and later moved to a room above the J. S. Gallahers store, then belonging to S. J. Byers. During the time they occupied this room the present Gospel Tabernacle Church building was erected by S. J. Byers. The building was dedicated September 15 & 16, 1900. It was later deeded over to the District of the Christian & Missionary Alliance and the church is now incorporated into and is a part of the Parent Organization. It is believed that the church building is the first building constructed by an Alliance congregation in Pennsylvania. At this time, Rev. E. H. Mink was the pastor and according to reports, Rev. A. B. Simpson, the founder of the C. & M. A. church occupied the pulpit at this time was well. If one should ascend the ladder to the belfry he would find a unique inscription on the bell. It is inscribed with a verse of Scripture taken from Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
The first Missionary Convention was held October 1901, and an annual Convention has been held each year since that time. The first Missionary offering was $371.88.
Rev. C. D. Sawtelle resigned as pastor on May 4, 1902 to accept a call to the C. & M. A. Church in Harrisburg. He was succeeded by Rev. W. D. Lord who was the pastor for eleven years. He resigned in 1913 and was followed by Rev. E. H. Patterson. The pastors who followed Rev. Patterson are in the following order.
Rev. S. H. Berger
Rev. Reese McGarvey
Rev. W. F. Eicher
Rev. D. N. Snow
Rev. C. J. Chrimes
Rev. Charles Pennington
Rev. Wilmer Heffer
Rev. E. G. Murray
Rev. F. Paul Henry
Rev. C. W. Kelly
Rev. D. G. Miles
Rev. J. D. Schmidt Sr.
Rev. George Hobbs
Rev. E. G. Murray
Rev. E. H. Mink
Rev. Richard Jenks
Rev. Jack Waite
Rev. Jeffrey Hober
Rev. Robert Baer
Rev. Mark Lockett
Rev. Daniel Webster
Rev. Timothy Dietrich
Rev. Richard Wood
Rev. Isaac Stuart (Present)
Two of the former pastors resigned to go as foreign Missionaries:
Rev. Charles Pennington to China
Rev. Edward Murray to Tibetan Border
We feel our best days are not in the past, splendid as they have been, but they are in the present and in the years ahead. We inherit yesterday, but we stand on the threshold of tomorrow, for a man must know where he is before he can see where he is going. We have a responsibility to our generation, just as Paul had to his. God will hold us accountable for the way we conduct His work.
Surveying the wonders of the past the Christian can say "Glorious though these things be, to me belongs that which is more glorious far."
Many times our hearts have been quickened by the presence of the Holy Spirit in His sanctuary.
Our earnest desire as the body of Christ is to aim high. Now we are challenged by the great task to be done. We pray something may happen in our worship-perhaps one of the reasons worship often seems dull to us is the fact that we have made it a matter of words without action, we listen but we do not speak, hear but do not answer, receive and do not give. May the prayer of our hearts be that our faith will be one of action. May each member’s eyes be directed outward and not inward. In this day may we know that we have but one source of help and strength- God alone. He is the same yesterday, today and always. Ours is to stands fast and pray, He will hear and respond.
We exist to love God by constructing caring and open relationships while actively building bridges between our community and Jesus Christ.
Coalport CMA Church
511 Main St
PO Box 344
Coalport, PA 16627
Phone: (814) 672-5452