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Second United Presbyterian Church - New Castle PA

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The congregation that became the Second United Presbyterian Church was organized in 1884 for residents of the East Side of New Castle. I believe the approximately 100 members, led by the Reverend J.Q.A. McDowell, mainly came from the First Presbyterian Church in downtown New Castle. Services were initially held in the Zion Reformed Church and the county court house until a church (shown above) was erected on Pittsburg Street (later East Washington Street) in 1887. (c1908) Full Size

The original church was replaced with a much larger building (shown above) on Countyline Road, which was dedicated on Sunday, April 27, 1913. An estimated 3,700 people attended the three sermons held throughout the day. The congregation thrived and eventually celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1984. Due to dwindling attendance the church was closed in late April 2009. The building was soon purchased by the county for approximately $250,000 and renovated into a Lawrence County Court House annex that became known as the Albert P. Gettings Government Center. Gettings, of New Castle, was a twenty-seven-year-old Marine Corps Corporal killed in action in Fallujah, Iraq, in January 2006. (c1960) Full Size

(c1950) Full Size

The Reverend J. Q. A. McDowell, the first ever pastor of the church, served from 1886-1904. He oversaw the construction and dedication of the first church building. (c1900)

The Reverend A. J. Randles served as the fourth pastor of the church from 1915-1932. He was able to raise considerable funds to pay off the congregation’s debt incurred while opening a new church in 1913. (c1925)

The Reverend George W. Henderson served as the longtime pastor from 1955-1978. He was essentially a part time pastor in the mid-1960’s as he and his wife spent much time in Cleveland as their daughter battled a serious kidney ailment. (c1975)

The Reverend Philip S. Gittings III, who served as pastor from 1979-1982, preaches a Sunday sermon to the congregation. (1979) Full Size

The Second United Presbyterian Church along Countyline Street. (2006)


The interior of the church. (2006)


The altar area of the church. (2006) Full Size

A stained glass window from inside the church. (2006)


Parishioners pack the church for a Sunday service. (1979) Full Size

The choir of the Second Presbyterian Church. (c1989) Full Size

The congregation faced a very turbulent time in the mid-1990’s. In January 1995 the Reverend George R. Yates, having issues with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), renounced his pastorship and broke away to form his own church – the New Covenant Evangelical Presbyterian Church. He took almost 200 members of the church with him. (c1995) Full Size

The Reverend Phil S. Gittings III, coming from an assignment in Kingsville, Ohio, took over as pastor in August 1979 and served the church for the next three years. (1980)

The Reverend George R. Yates assumed the post of pastor in April 1990. Due to differences of opinion with church doctrine he renounced his association with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in January 1995. He took half the congregation and formed the New Covenant Evangelical Presbyterian Church. (1994)

The Reverend Donald A. Aull, longtime pastor of the Bessemer Presbyterian Church, took over as pastor in April 1998. He abruptly departed in early 2006 to serve as a supply pastor with the Eastbrook Presbyterian Church. (1999)

(May 2013) Full Size


  1. I was baptized here in 1950 and confirmed in 1961. Attended till the doors were closed in 2009. Broke my heart. Also was married here and my daughters were baptized and confirmed and one was married here. My only grandson and my husband were baptized here. So happy to see there is a record of a wonderful church. The last service was April 26, 2009.
    There were 44 members left on that last day.

  2. Cindy,
    We were confirmed in the same class. My dad was Clerk of Session for 19 years. It was a shame that a pastor could use an issue to divide a congregation and take half the members with him.

  3. Death of Rev. Dr. Philip S. Gittings—
    It is with tremendous sadness that the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo announces that our Interim Pastor, Phil Gittings, died February 26, 2016, after having suffered a massive heart attack. We mourn this tremendous loss, and ask for prayers.

    A memorial service is being planned by Phil’s children, and the date will be announced when details are finalized.


  4. My family went to this church when Rev. Rose was the pastor. He was a wonderful person! His son also drove our school bus.

  5. My family lived on Milton Street and we walked to the church from the time of my birth in 1943 until 1961, when I left for college. I was baptized and confirmed there.
    The pastor who preceded Dr Henderson was Dr J Calvin Rose. He was a real fire and brim stone preacher and retired to Florida as I recall in the mid-1950’s.
    As kids we had many happy summer days playing baseball and football in the church parking lot during the 1950s. Also enjoyed playing basketball for the church in the county-wide church basketball league.


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