In early 1901 about a dozen people organized themselves as the First Christian Church in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, and began meeting in a building on 6th Street. The congregation was associated with the Disciples of Christ, a Protestant denomination founded with the merger of several groups in 1832. A small wooden frame church was soon built and opened in October 1901 on the corner of Wayne Street and 4th Street. The first fulltime pastor was the Reverend J. M. Davies and he was followed by others to include Harry F. Rector, F. F. Schultz, B. F. Johnson, Frank Taylor, John Howarth, W. E. Arnold, and Harry Huber.
The congregation quickly grew and in the early 1920’s a drive, led by the Reverend Harry R. Belles, was started to build a larger church. Belles, who took over as pastor in 1922, was on his second stint in that position having previously served from 1918-1920. Unfortunately Belles passed away in early October 1925 before seeing his dream realized. The old church was razed sometime in late 1926 and work commenced on a new brick building at the same location. A memorial service was held for the Reverend Belles on the morning of Sunday, October 31, 1927, and in the afternoon the cornerstone was laid for the new building.
On Sunday, November 20, 1927, the new First Christian Church (shown above) was officially dedicated. An article in the New Castle News of November 19, 1927, revealed the dedication “…has been divided into three parts. One at 10:30 a. m. with a dedication sermon by Rev. Cloyd Goodnight; a union communion service at 3 p. m. when Rev. H. A. Denton, secretary of the Western Pennsylvania Missionary Society will be the speaker and at 7:30 in the evening when Dr. Goodnight will deliver another sermon. The famous Temple Male quartet will sing two selections at each service. It comprises four choir leaders, and is led by George H. Eisenluth, singing evangelist of East Liverpool. Other members of the quartet are Kurt Bergner, J. A. May and C. G. Woods.”
The congregation of the First Christian Church continued to grow and paid off the church mortgage in October 1946. Over the years the building underwent various upgrades, but by the early 1990’s the issue of rebuilding – and relocating – was debated. In late 1994 it was decided to build a new church at a different location. In February 1998 a lot of almost eight acres was purchased off Mercer Road in nearby Franklin Township in Beaver County.
In late April 1999 the old church was sold to the congregation of the Love Hope Baptist Church, previously located near McElwain Motors on Beaver Avenue and founded back in 1919, and construction of the new church began in early May 1999. The new house of worship was opened for services in early November and officially dedicated during a ceremony on Sunday, November 21, 1999. Two years later, in October 2001, the congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary with a weekend ceremony. The church, which I believe is no longer associated with Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) and touts itself as “a new testament, non-denominational church,” is still going strong today.
The First Christian Church, also known as the First Disciple Church, was chartered in July 1901 and a wooden frame church (shown above) was opened on the corner of Wayne Street and 4th Street the following October. The congregation quickly grew and in the early 1920’s a drive, led by the Reverend Harry R. Belles, was started to build a larger church. In 1926 the old church was razed to make way for a new building at the same location. (c1910) Full Size
A memorial service was held for the Reverend Belles on the morning of Sunday, October 31, 1927, and in the afternoon the cornerstone was laid for the new building. The First Christian Church was dedicated on Sunday, November 20, 1927. (c1930) Full Size
The congregation of the First Christian Church held services at this location for many years, until it was decided to build a new house of worship in the mid-1990’s. In late April 1999 this church was sold to the congregation of the Love Hope Baptist Church, previously located near McElwain Motors on Beaver Avenue and founded back in 1919. (May 2012) Full Size
(May 2012) Full Size
The new First Christian Church along the Mercer Road in Franklin Township was dedicated in November 1999. It was here in October 2001 that the congregation celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding. (Mar 2013) Full Size
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