Curwensville Methodist Episcopal Church
Karthaus Township
Clearfield County Pennsylvania

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Church: Bicentennial Celebration Curwensville Methodist Episcopal Church

Contributed by:
Ellis Michaels, <>, Feb 2011

This page was last updated:
12 Feb 2011

Bicentennial Celebration
1738 - 1938

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Methodist Episcopal Church


Bicentennial Celebration
of the
Beginning of Methodism
John Wesley's Heart Warming experience
at Aldersgate Street
May 24, 1738

of the
1738 - 1938


Rev. L. Vance Green, Pastor



Rev. L. Vance Green, Pastor


Curwensville Methodist Episcopal Church

Bishop Dr. Edwin Holt Hughes, Washington, D. C.

Dr. J. Merrill Williams, Williamsport, Pa.,
District Superintendent

Pastor, Rev. L. Vance Green, Curwensville, Pa.

Trustees and Stewards�Samuel P. Bressler, W. L. Dale, C. Orlie Norris, W. A.
Thompson, D. C. Griffith, Morris Bowers, Dema Cassidy, John A. Dale, Esq., Mrs.
John A. Dale, Mrs. W. L. Dale, Joseph 0. Errigo, Mrs. J. D. Haines, Sr., Frank
Harley, John Hudson, Jr., Mrs. H. J. Kittleberger, Eli Korb, Malvin McClure,
Scott McFadden, Ben. F. Moore, C. J. Moss, Ida B. Robinson, Mrs. F. F. Tate,
Josephine Thompson, R. K. Way, Mrs. R. K. Way, Mrs. W. K. Wrigley, John Wright,
Carl D. Grove.

Financial Secretary: Miss Josephine Thompson Treasurer: Miss Ida B. Robinson

Organist: Mrs. Margaret Errigo

Choir Leader: John D. Haines, Jr.

Pres. Music Committee: Mrs. Fred P. Robison

Officers of the Church School
General Superintendent John A. Dale
Assistant Superintendent . . . . Samuel P. Bressler
Adult Department Superintendent . . . . C. J. Moss
Young People's Department . Mrs. Chester Frankhouser
Senior Department R. D. Moose
Intermediate Department . . . Mrs Frank Harley
Junior Department . . . Mrs. H. J. Kittleberger
Primary Department Mrs. Eva Passmore
Beginners' Department Mrs. C. J. Moss
Home Department ..... . Mrs. F. F. Tate
Cradle Roll Department . . . Mrs. Raymond R. Bloom
Kindergarten Department . . . Mrs. Chester Whitaker
Secretaries: Edward Benson, Louise Kittleberger
Treasurers: W. L. Dale, Mrs. John D. Haines
Sexton: Mr. Charles Moose


Parsonage, September 25, 1938
My dear Friends:
So few people realize what an occasion like this really means to the
minister. For sixteen months (since my unexpected arrival) I have been hoping,
planning, working and praying for this day to come. Many times have I felt the
deep need for Divine Guidance. Many times have I called upon you, my loyal
friends, for help. Yet I must confess that never once did I feel that defeat,
rather than success, would be our lot.
As I stand before you now in our beautiful new Sanctuary, my heart is
singing. We are all happy that such a place of worship should be ours. Now I am
thinking not only in terms of natural beauty but of that deeper and far more
important Spiritual Union that has in some strange way been built up within our
May the real joy of planning and working together continue until we shall
see a great ingathering of precious Souls for the dear Redeemer's Sake.
Faithfully, Your Pastor,


September 25th to October 2nd, inc., 1938.

Opening Service, 11 A. M. Sunday, September 25th
Sermon by Rev. J. Merrill Williams,
District Superintendent, Williamsport, Pa.

Evening Service, 7:30 P. M. Rev. J. Ressler Shultz,
Pastor, First M. E. Church, Tyrone, Pa.

Preaching Service, 7:30 P. M. Monday, September 26th
Sermon by Rev. J. M. Brennan, Duncansville. Pa.

Preaching Service. 7:30 P. M. Tuesday, September 27th
"A Brief History of our Church"�John A. Dale

Sermon by Rev. Joseph V. Adams, Renovo, Pa.
Rev. Adams will sing several selections during this service.

Song Service, 7:30 P. M. Wednesday, September 28th
This Service will be led by the Pastor
Rev. L. Vance Green

Preaching Service, 7:30 P. M. Thursday, September 29th
Sermon by Rev. Ariel R. Turner, York, Pa.

Local Minister's Night, 7:30 P. M. Friday, September 30th Several ministers
from local churches, and nearby points, will participate.
All are invited to attend.

Closing Service�Rally Day�Sunday, October 2nd
Morning Worship, 11 A. M. Dr. E. R. Heckman.
Superintendent, Methodist Home, Tyrone, Pa.

Evening Worship, 8 P. M. Rally Day Program
Pageant�by various members of the Church School
Under the capable leadership of
Mrs. John Wright, Director

Note: Special music will be presented at all these services by members of the
Senior Choir and guests. We wish at this time to thank the organist, choir
leader, and all others who have helped to make these services a splendid success.


A Brief History of Methodism in Curwensville and Vicinity

IN THE YEAR 1810, three or four Methodist families resided in what is now
the Borough of Curwensville. In that year, the early circuit riders began to
visit, occasionally, these converts of John Wesley.

Two years later a small Methodist Class, as the meetings were called, met
in a log school house on East Filbert Street. A few years later the Class moved
into another log school house, built almost directly across the street, in the
year 1818. Here, in these two primitive buildings, meeting3 were held for
almost a quarter of a century.

In the year 1829, the Class having increased considerably in membership,
it was decided to secure a lot and as soon as possible build a church.
Accordingly, the lot at the northeast corner of State and Filbert Streets, now
occupied by the "Bonsall Garage", was purchased. In the year 1843, while Rev.
Robert Beers was the minister in charge of the circuit, of which Curwensville
formed one station, the first Methodist Episcopal Church in Curwensville was
built. It was a frame building, and was then considered a very fine church and
was largely attended by people coming many miles, as well as by a large local

Little of the history of the building and dedication of this church is
known, except that the leading members at that time were, Josiah Evans, John P.
Dale, Jacob S. Cole, James H. Fleming, Thomas W. Fleming, Jonathan McDowell,
Maria Whipple, Mary E. Robison, Kesiah McDowell, Anna Ross, Isabella Cross and
Susan Patton.

For two decades the congregation worshipped in this church. In 1860 the
grounds, now occupied by the present church and parsonage, were purchased from
John D. Thompson and John P. Dale who were both members of the church. Mr.
Thompson and Mr. Dale were engaged, in partnership, in the manufacture of
plows, and other agricultural implements. The present parsonage lot having had
built thereon a foundry.

Here, on the southwest corner of State and Walnut Streets, under the
pastorate of Rev. Wilson Lee Spotswood, D. D., what we call the "Brick Church",
was commenced during the year 1860.


The building committee was Dr. H. P. Thompson, John D. Thompson, Josiah
R. Read, Jackson Robison, Daniel Livingston and G. R. Wolfe. In the year 1862,
while our country was in the midst of the tumults of the Civil War, and when
almost every able-bodied young man of Curwensville and Pike Township were at
the battle front, fighting the battles of freedom, and few were left at home
except the old men, the youths and devoted mothers and sisters of the soldiers
at the front, this church was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God.

Our church was still a circuit, the minister living here, but also
preaching at Clearfield and Center, our congregation being much larger than
either of the others. After its dedication, even during the stress of the war
period, the membership rapidly increased, and many prominent citizens became
converted at the various evangelistic services held during this time. The
church was the most beautiful and commodious church building in all of
Clearfield County and one of the finest in Central Pennsylvania. The church was
largely attended by residents of the County living at a considerable distance
from Curwensville.

Not until the year 1869, when Rev. W. G. Ferguson was appointed Pastor,
did the Central Pennsylvania Conference set Curwensville charge apart from the
Clearfield Circuit. During his ministry a most gracious revival came to bless
the church and many of the converts later became active and useful members of
the congregation. In the third year of his ministry, in the year 1872, the
church was greatly improved at a cost of $3,600.00.

During all these years there was no church parsonage, the ministers
residing in a small house on State Street. In the year 1880, while the Rev.
James Curns was pastor in charge, the beautiful and commodious parsonage was
built and has since been occupied by the ministers and their families who have
been appointed to serve this church. This parsonage cost $5,000.00 and was then
one of the finest in this region.

In 1886 Rev. David H. Shields was sent as our minister, by the Annual
Conference and remained three. years. In the second year of his ministry, new
pews, stained glass windows and many other improvements were made to the church
at a cost of more than $2,000.00.

In the year 1892, John Patton, the most prominent member of the church,
and one of the leading laymen of the


Central Pennsylvania Conference, announced to the congregation that during his
lifetime he desired to contribute to the building of a new stone building for
the use of the Curwensville Methodist Episcopal Church, at the corner of State
and Walnut Streets, on the site of the "Brick Church", the new church to be
constructed of native stone from the Roaring Run Stone Quarry, about two miles
distant from the church.

Rev. M. L. Smyser was sent as the pastor this year, and a contract was
entered into with Reuben Thompson, to build the new stone church, for the sum
of $18,000.00, he subletting the stone work to Snyder Brothers, who then
operated the quarry where the stone was to be prepared. But before the work was
commenced, Rev. Smyser became critically ill, was compelled to retire from the
ministry and soon thereafter died.

Rev. J. Patton Moore was appointed his successor and remained as pastor
until the church was built and dedicated. On Sunday, August 27, 1893, the
corner stone was laid, with impressive ceremonies, the congregation marching
down State Street from the Friend's Church, where services were held during the
building of the church, there meeting a large concourse of people and many
prominent churchmen of the Methodist and other denominations, already
assembled, to take part in the services.

H. B. Thompson, Chairman; Fred J. Dyer, Joseph R. Irvin, Frank L. Arnold,
Samuel F. McCloskey, Charles E. Patton and Charles S. Russell constituted the
building committee and were untiring in their efforts to see that the church
was properly constructed. All of this Committee have passed on except the last
one named and he no longer resides here.
June 17, 1894, the new church was dedicated, the entire cost, being
$25,000.00, all paid in before the dedication except $800.00 which was that day
contributed, and the church presented to the congregation free of debt.

While Rev. J. Max Lantz was pastor, in the year 1919, the Church School
rooms were entirely remodelled and the Church School organized into the
Departments required, so that the entire school was fully organized. These
improvements cost $1,000.00 and were fully paid when completed.

Three years later Rev. John C. Collins was appointed as Minister in
charge and during his administration, in the


year 1922, the entire church auditorium and Senior Church School rooms were
redecorated, improved electric light fixtures installed, a beautiful new carpet
laid and other improvements made at a cost of $3,800.00, all of which was paid
at the time of the re-opening.

In 1937, Rev. L. Vance Green came as the pastor of the Church and was
returned in 1938.

During the second year of his pastorate numerous conferences were held by
the minister with Trustees and members of the congregation, in regard to needed
repairs to the property. While the church roof had been frequently repaired, it
still was in bad condition and its leaky condition had loosened large sections
of the plastering in the auditorium. Finally the Trustees decided to repair the
roof, re-plaster and redecorate the auditorium and all the Church School
Department rooms.

Much of the credit for these extensive repairs must be given to the
Trustees, to the Ladies' Aid Society, many members of the congregation and to
certain departments and classes whose liberal contributions made possible these
improvements. The minister in charge was untiring in his efforts while the work
was progressing and assisted materially in having the repairs completed promptly.

The improvements cost more than $3,500.00, and it is hoped that, during
the re-opening and re-dedicatory services to be held from September 25th to
October 2nd 1938, the entire amount will be contributed and the church made
free of debt. Our hope is that the old church on the corner will continue to be
a great power for good in the community for many years to come.



Seventy-three (73) ministers have served the Curwensville M. E. Church
since the organization of the congregation in 1814. During all these years only
one man remained for six years. This minister, Rev. J. Max Lantz, had that
distinction and served the church from 1913 to 1918. The next longest pastorate
was that of Rev. Ariel Turner, who was here for five years, from 1930 to 1934.
All other pastors have been here for four years or less.

The present pastor, Rev. L. Vance Green, was appointed by Bishop Edwin H.
Hughes, April 19, 1937. He has been here for sixteen months (now in his second

During all the years there has been a continuous growth in membership
until within the past few years, when a very large number have removed to
distant places without taking a letter of transfer. The present membership is
listed at 707 but there are many inactive members.

Numerous Revival Services have been held here in the past. In some cases
there were more than two hundred converts in a single meeting and the entire
community deeply stirred. Unfortunately the spirit of Revivalism has pretty
largely disappeared here as elsewhere. New methods of evangelism are being
tried. Last year there were eighty-eight decisions made here and yet no revival
meetings as such were conducted. This year our goal for the Williamsport
District is 3000. Our hope is to report at least 100 converts here at the end
of the conference year.

Curwensville is to be commended for having sent at least two of her sons
into the ranks of the active ministry, The Rev. N. D. Shirey, Methodist Pastor
at Karthaus and The Rev. Paul E. Dale, Baptist Minister at Curwensville.


Special mention should be made of the untiring efforts of the Board of
Trustees during the entire period of repairs and improvements made to our
church building. These men have, given time thought, money and much work to see
that the many details were properly cared for.

Special mention should also be made concerning the service of Brother W.
L. Dale, one of the Trustees, who personally supervised most of the work and
was appointed by the Trustees to oversee all of it. He was untiring in all
these matters and we are deeply grateful.

The entire cost of redecorating the Sanctuary, including new side lights
and cleaning of carpet was borne by the Ladies' Aid Society.

The Sue Owens S. S. Class paid for the painting of their own class room
and they are planning to replace old carpet with new in the near future.

The Emerson Weber S. S. Class has agreed to pay for repairs to and tuning
of the pipe organ.

New lighting fixtures were installed in the Primary and Junior Department
Class Rooms and were paid for by the Departments.

Painting and other improvements in the Social Hall were all paid for by
the Intermediate Department of the Sunday School.

We appreciate very much the untiring efforts of the Program Committee in
arranging for the fine services of this week.

One of the most important additions made during this past year was the
installation of a new No. 150 Stokol Automatic Coal Burner in the furnace. This
came as a rather unexpected extra expense as we did not at first realize how
bad was the condition of the boiler. However, when the whole matter was brought
to our attention it seemed to be the only thing we could do that would give
satisfaction. At any rate, it is now properly installed and we need not fear
the wintry blasts as we are prepared for them.


�of members and friends of the
whose generous contributions have made this book possible.

P. D. SMITH (Insurance)


John A. Dale, Esq., Chairman
Samuel P. Bressler
Cloyd J. Moss
Carl D. Grove, Secretary
Scott McFadden, Jr.
Rev. L. Vance Green, Ex-Officio

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