Our History

Earliest History

The McClure’s Gap Union Sabbath School consisted of two denominations, namely, “The Church of God” and “The United Evangelical” which was organized May 13, 1855 in Mentzer’s schoolhouse. This was an old stone building immediately east of the Church of God Cemetery.


Services continued for a number of years at this place until it was found necessary to seek other quarters. For about three years a dwelling just opposite Andrew Snyder’s store, was occupied. At the end of this time, plans were made and executed for the erection of a church of log construction where the present Bethel Church now stands. However, the building standing at present is not the original. 

At the organization in 1855, the following persons were elected to serve as Superintendents: 

Samuel Raudabaugh, Daniel Oiler, Samual Berry, William Wagner 

Their method of devotions consisted of questions and Bible verse memorization. The school continued fifteen Sunday, with the following names on roll: 
Sauel Berry, David Mentzer, Sarah Drawbaugh,
William Bender, John Drawbaugh, Levina Oiler, Emmanuel Doner, John Mentzer, Mary Buckwalter,
Willaim Rex, Levi Bender, Nancy Darr, Samuel Brenner, William Berry, Catherine Darr,
William H. Oiler, E. Oiler, Mararet Oiler, John Berry
Joseph E. Buckwalter, Jane Buckwalter, Thomas Berry, Daniel Oiler, Sara Mentzer, Samuel Doner,
John Oiler, Elizabeth Buckwalter, Isaac Miller, John Dunbar, Harriet Oiler,  John E., S. Miller, Abraham Mentzer, John Dell, William Dell, Israel Buckwalter
John Darr
The next year in 1856, the school was organized May 27 with William Dunbar, Joseph Dewalt, and Jasiah Kennedy as leaders. It continued for sixteen Sundays with a slight decrease in attendance. May 10, 1857 found Michael Marintz and George Oiler elected as leaders with an attendance roll of 37. It is impossible to say whether the work progressed or discontinued, for the records carry over to the year 1863, when William Snyder and William Dunbar were Superintendents, followed by Levi Miller in 1864. After a lapse of about ten years, records show the following names on roll: 
John Mentzer, Ellen Beecher, Mary Beecher, James Miller, Catherine Ludt, Annie Mentzer, Robert Miller,
Lizzie Ludt, Agnes Mentzer, C. Miller, Francis Walf, 
Matilda Miller, John Dewalt, Isabelle Mitchell, Martha Hipple, Jonathan Beecher, Mary Ludt,
Edward Dunbar, David Miller, Rubin F. Miller, John Ludt, James Miller, William Clouse, Charlie Wolf,
Jacob Allen, Silas W. Mountz, Alex Dunbar
Again the records fail us and we arrive quickly at May 1867, when Tobias Dewalt and William Dunbar became superintendents at the organization. The offering for the previous month of June was 72 cents, and the attendance was 42.  Time does not permit of a lengthy discussion nor of a complete record, so we hasten forward to the year 1872 with John Stine and Francis Mentzer as Superintendents. Services were held at 2:30 and 3:00. The number on roll gradually increased to as many as 57. Both leaders presided, with one at the opening of the session, and the other at its close. The following extract has been taken from the ? of A/ Pierce Shimf, Secretary. “The Union Sunday School of McClure’s Gap was opened the 2nd day of May 1875 at 9:30 with prayer and reading of the 2nd. Chapters of Acts by assistant superintendent Mr. Edwin Koser, and closed with singing the 328 Psalm and prayer by Francis Mentzer, Jacob Allen being a third superintendent”. More than twenty years have now elapsed since the organization of the McClure’s Gap Sunday School and it is interesting to read the names now on roll:
John Logan, Minnie Rhodes, Ida Ludt, Alec McCrea,
Sadie Rhodes, Susan Clouse, J. H. Boyles, Sara Beecher, Sadie Drawbaugh, John Ludt, Edwin Koser,
Lizzie Myers, Samuel Myers, William Myers, Florence Boules, John Mentzer, George W. Myers, Sallie Boyles, Lizzie Ludt, Daniel Myers, Meymie Oiler,
Mary Ludt, David Zeigler, John Oiler, Sophia Ludt,
Parker Drawbaugh, Lucy Myers, Ettie Mentzer,
David Ludt, Moltie Mentzer, Kate Mentzer, John Kunkel, Emma Oiler, Lucy Myers, Samuel Allen,
Laura Drawbaugh, Mary Allen, Charles Drawbaugh,
Ellen Drawbaugh, Fannie Gefhert, Sadie Darr,
David Myers, Laura Mentzer, Ida Myers, Charlie Mountz, Mary Myers, Mary Finkenbinder, Thomas Belthoover, Edward Beltzhoover, Frank Ferris, 
Harvey Mentzer, David Miller, Harry Ferris, Francis Mentzer, Philip Graham, Annie Orris, Ida Zeigler,
Albert Mountz, Sara Zeigler, Thomas Dunbar,
David Beecher, Neal Kennedy, Jesse Beecher,
John Dunbar, Fred Mentzer, Abner Mentzer
The latest full record of the Union Sabbath School is 1881 when Francis Mentzer was chosen as superintendent with Samuel Allen and Aaron Smith as assistants. During the next few years the Church of God denomination continued their Sunday School, but that preaching services were conducted by the evangelical with Graham, Booz, and Sharters as ministers. During these intervening years however, plans were being made for a separate place of worship for those who followed the evangelical faith. Consequently, in 1881 the present building in Bloserville was contructed. On March 22, 1885, the Evangelical Sunday School of Bloserville was organized with L. J. Shambaugh as superintendent. He served in this capacity until 1896, except for the year 1888, when David Beecher served. L. J. Shambaugh again served during 1898-1903. Andrew Miller was assistant superintendent, Fred Mentzer and J. E. Allen were secretaries, George Mentzer was treasurer, and Mervin Shambaugh was librarian. 
S. S. Albright was appointed to teach the class of younger folk and Francis Mentzer, the Bible class. The attendance then was about 50, the offering about 40 cents and for the year $6.50. In 1890, the attendance had increased to 60 and the offering was between 15 and 40 cents. 
The elections of 1900 was as follows:
L. J. Shambaugh
G. R. Fry
Mary Mentzer         
Charlie Beecher
B. F. Freet
Clara Mentzer
Jennie Alexander
Florence Basaw      
Charlie Barrick

The offering swayed between 13 and 39 cents and the attendance between 10 and 75. Sessions were held throughout the year. In 1896, Mr. G. R. Fry was elected Superintendent and served during the following years: 1896, 1897 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, and 1911. Mr. J. S. Darr served during 1904. A. H. Calaman began in 1912 as leader with G. R. Fry as assistant until 1924 and Mr. C. E. Jumper, for that time to 1938. Mr. J. E. Shambaugh served during 1910 with A. H. Calaman as assistant. The roll in 1938 was about 90.

The "Plainfield Circut"

The following information was provided from the North Middleton First Church of God history booklet dated 1878-1978.

This was taken from the old First Church Record Book of the North Middleton Church of God, on page 7.

“By appointment of the Standing Committee, Elder H. Whitaker assumed the Pastorate of the Plainfield Circuit, embracing six appointments: Plainfield, North Middleton, Doubling Gap, McClure’s Gap, Possum Hill, and South Fairview, April 1, 1899. Elder H. Whitaker closed he labors with the Plainfield Circuit the first Sunday in November 1891, having served as pastor two years and a half. Accessions during that time, seventeen baptisms.”

The pastor that followed evidently didn’t find things to his liking for he wrote in the first Church Record Book (pages seven and eight) the following: 

“I assumed charge of the Plainfield Circuit the second Sunday of November, 1891 and served the circuit one year. While the work required much travel, yet I met the appointments regularly. At this place there were six conversions, six baptisms and three fellowshipped. That my successor may have the cooperation of the entire Church is my prayer. My labors on the circuit close October 30, 1892.”

---W. J. Schaner

Following the departure of Elder Schaner, the number of appointments fell back to 5 with South Fairview being taken off the Plainfield Circuit. The next recording the the first Church Record Book on pages 8 and 9 reads: 

“November 11, 1892, by the powers that exist invested in the Stationing Committee, I, J. T. Fleegal took charge of the Plainfield Circuit, embracing five appointments: Plainfield, North Middleton, Doubling Gap, McClure’s Gap, and Possom Hill.” 

The last Pastor to write in the in first Record Book of the Church was Elder F. Y. Weidenhammer, who wrote:

“By appointment through action of the Standing Committee, I, F. Y. Weidenhammer, took charge of the Plainfield Circuit, including North Middleton appointment, in November, 1896”

He was the last one to write in the first Record Book, however, on the “Pastoral and Statistical Record” in the middle of the book it says that William Palmer was assigned to the Plainfield Circuit in November 1898 and continued as Pastor until his death on March 16, 1901. Then Wilson Smith was assigned in April, 1901 and filled the pulpit until October 1, 1901. In October 1901, Elder J. F. Meixel was assigned to the Plainfield Circuit and continued as Pastor until October 25, 1903. He was the last Pastor recorded in the first Church Record Book of the North Middleton Church of God.

Previous Pastors

NAME                    Began         LEFT

H. Whitaker           4/1/1889 - 10/31/1891
W. J. Schaner          11/1/1891 - 10/31/1892
 J. T. Fleegal           11/1/1892 - 10/31/1896
F. Y. Weidenhammer   11/1/1896 - 10/31/1898
William Palmer       11/1/1898-  3/16/1901

Wilson Smith         4/1/1901   9/30/1901

 J. F. Meixel           10/1/1901 10/31/1903

F. Y. Weidenhammer  11/1/1903 -10/31/1905

 J. A. Staub            11/1/1905 - 10/31/1909
William H. Shade   11/1/1909 - 10/31/1916
 James Bear           11/1/1916 - 10/31/1919
Ira J. Sollenberger  11/1/1919 - 10/31/1924
Charles D. Collins  11/1/1925 - 10/31/1929
Wilmer R. Weaver   11/1/1929 - 10/31/1930
Harry M. Mumper   11/1/1930 - 10/31/1933
W. C. Fortney         11/1/1933 - 9/30/1940
L. A. Harman         10/1/1940 -  9/30/1940
Howard P. Johns    10/1/1942 - 9/30/1949
Earl R. Yoder         10/1/1949 - 9/30/1953
Ammon E. Sipel     10/1/1953 - 9/30/1957
E. E. Fackler           10/1/1957 - 9/30/1961
William D. Petry     10/1/1961 - 9/30/1965
Henry A. Lutz, Jr.  10/1/1965 - 9/30/1969
William J. Turner   10/1/1969 - 6/30/1973
Lloyd Kulp            7/1/1973 -   6/30/1975

Earl Binkley            1975          1977

William J. Turner   1977          1978
Harvey Wagner, Jr.  1978          1980

Joseph Kostanos    1980          1983

Paul P. Moore         1983          9/1988

David Wynn           10/10/1988 - 4/2/1995

Paul Hauk               3/1995      2001

Robert Stauffer       2002         Present