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The History of Pine Grove UMC

 

 

(Written by David Miller)

In the early part of the 1800’s the ‘Evangelical’ movement was gaining momentum.  An ‘Evangelical Class’ was established in the vicinity of what is now Leader Heights by the year 1860.  Originally known as the ‘Conway Class’, the congregation probably met in a one room school house which was located near the spot where the current Church building is situated.   

The congregation erected its first church building in 1869 at the corner of Dew Drop and Pine Grove Roads and became known as Pine Grove Evangelical Church.  At this time, Pine Grove also began a 100 year association with the Loganville Charge that included the churches of Mt. Zion (Potosi), Jacobus (Paradise), Loganville and Pine Grove.  During the 1880’s two small additions were made to the church building, an altar at one end and a combination bell tower and vestibule at the other.  Church and Sunday School membership at that time was approximately 95. 

Near the end of the first decade of the 1900’s, the church obtained a bell.  According to local customs, church bells called people to worship and also tolled to share and memorialize the loss of a loved one.  Pine Grove, like other community churches, tolled its bell for everyone in the neighborhood, not just members of the congregation.  Before the 1920’s the church excavated a small basement in order to install a furnace.  During the winter months the building had previously been headed by three small stoves located in the sanctuary.  Even though the congregation’s size was limited in this era, Pine Grove managed to assemble a church choir and orchestra. 

From the 1920’s though 1960’s, Pine Grove followed the movement of the general church.  First, as a United Evangelical Church in 1922, then in 1946, Pine Gove became a part of the Evangelical United Brethren Church.  Finally, in 1968, ‘Pine Grove United Methodist Church’ was the result of a merger between the E.U.B. and the Methodist traditions. 

It was during the latter part of this most recent period that Pine Grove experienced some internal changes as well.  As the small country church found itself in the middle of the local movement to the suburbs in the 1960’s and 70’s. the cramped quarters of the original building made a new structure a necessity.  A combination Educational Unit and Sanctuary was constructed in 1963, on land obtained from Aaron Hess, a member of the congregation.  The cornerstone was laid on July 21, 1963. 

In 1966 Pine Grove left the Loganville Charge, as Rev. Leon Desenberg assumed a part-time pastorate.  He served until his death in 1975, when the Rev. Miller Schmuck began his tenure as pastor.  During this time a new sanctuary was constructed completing the plans conceived in the 1950’s and early 60’s.  The cornerstone was laid on March 14, 1976. 

For the first time a full time pastor was appointed to serve the congregation beginning July 1, 1981.  In 1984, a parsonage was purchased for the pastor and family at 80 Dew Drop Court. 

On Sunday, December 11, 1994, a Service of Note-Burning and Dedication was held for both the sanctuary and parsonage.  On December 14, 2001, a new Christian Education facility was completed.  The project consisted of an expanded narthex, nursery and prayer room, kitchen, multi-purpose room, church office, pastor’s study and six classrooms.  On Sunday, September 9, 2007, the annex addition to the sanctuary was consecrated to the Lord’s service.  In November of 2010 we added a video-sound system.  We continue to glorify God for all the blessing he has offered. 

We believe that God will use us to write the next chapter in the Pine Grove story as we continue with our vision to Know Jesus and Make Him Known and to share that with our community and throughout the world!