York Seventh-day Adventist Church

Caring Disciples Sharing the Hope of Christ

York Church History

       The history of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in York dates back to 1908 when there was a company of seven.  Apparently it was of short duration.  Soon it disbanded and the members became a part of the Conference church.  For the next fifteen years, no known meetings were held.  In October of 1925, Mr. and Mrs. John Delauter and two daughters moved to York.  Mrs. Delauter wrote to her mother in Maryland that there were no Advent believers meeting in York.  Her mother wrote to the Chesapeake Conference who in turn wrote to the East Pennsylvania Conference.  As a result, Mrs. Adella Seitz was sent to visit Mrs. Delauter.  Mrs. Seitz had been a member of the company disbanded many years before and knew of others who were still in the area.  These people were contacted and a Sabbath School was started in the Delauter home at Chester Place in York in January or February 1926.  Ernestine Hockshorner came from the conference office to help organize the Sabbath School.  There were ten adult members and thirteen children.  The group grew rapidly and on September 25,1926, Elder Clarence V. Leach, President of the East Pennsylvania Conference, organized the York Church.  There were eighteen charter members.  Dr. Wilford Venen, was the first pastor. 

       In the eighty years since then we have had twenty-two pastors.  In the beginning, York was part of the Harrisburg district.  Later a part of the Lebanon district before becoming half of the York-Hanover district.  Looking to the future the members almost immediately discussed starting a building fund.  A number of years would pass before this hope would become a reality.  In the meantime, services were held in the homes of members or rented places.  Among these included: a room in the Engineering Building on Beaver St., a church building at the corner of Duke St. and South St., the Malta Temple on East Market Street.  When H. A. Vanderman succeeded Pastor Venen he used the new medium of radio to spread the message in this area.  Finally late in 1940, a small church building at West College Ave. and Dewey St. was purchased.  In 1943, this building was sold.  At this time, Pastor Harold Veach was holding a major evangelistic campaign in the Valencia Ballroom on North George St.  Those helping Pastor Veach were Sister Catherine Dick, Verna Graham, and an intern Oliver Jacques.  This was a most successful meeting and brought into the church many gifted people.  Later that year (1940-1941), the Lutheran church on Manor St. and West Cottage Place was brought. On January 1, 1944, the new baptismal pool was opened and twenty-two people were baptized.  On October 7, 1944, the church building was dedicated free of debt.  Elder Frank Robbins of Columbia Union Conference and L.H. King of East Pennsylvania Conference officiated. 

       In 1946, Pastor Francis Wernick came to York, seeing the need for a church school.  A side room to the sanctuary seemed to be a convenient place.  It was however 1950-1951 before the school began.   The teacher was Miss Sammie Eckenroth-Harner.  The pupils were: Nancy Daugherty, Jimmy Albright, Donnie Albright, Lorraine Wilt, Ronnie Wilt, and Linley Beitzel.  The highlight of that first year was a trip to Washington, D.C. to see General McArthur when he came home.  Since Miss Eckenroth-Harner, we have had 36 teachers.  The history of our school is much the same as the history of our church.  With its growth, we could tell of all its many pupils and their service to mankind.  The need for a church school building became imperative.  In 1960, Pastor Winton Anderson came to York.  Property was purchased and the construction of a three-room school began.  Our next pastor was Bruce Fox who designed and led out in the construction of the gymnasium which was used for our church services.  Plans and architectural drawings were made at the same time for the sanctuary.  It wasn't until 10 years later that Pastor Albertson initiated work on our present sanctuary.  Pastor Albertson's first Sabbath message prepared us for a new and energetic start.  To spur the church into action, the ladies organized a sewing group.  They made crafts for the benefit of the building fund.  The ground breaking was September 27,1976.  Those officiating were Pastor Albertson, R. I. Gainer-Treasurer of the East Pennsylvania Conference, Samuel Reese-Head Elder, and Terry Barley-Chairman of the Building Committee.  Our contractors were Paul Daughtery and Richard Ganther.  Pastor John Robbins came to us in January 1977 as the church building was getting underway.  He assisted in the completion of the sanctuary by using his carpentry skills.  The first use of the baptismal pool was on April 7, 1978 when Becky Fraker was baptized.  Lois Brandt and Sidney Golden awaited the carpet laying and were the first bride and groom to march down the aisle.  Consecration services were held on April 29, 1978.  Many former Pastors were present to rejoice with us.  The Speakers were Dr. William M Loveless, Elder Wernick, and Elder Bruce Fox.  During the pastorship of Forrest Howe the church debt was eliminated. 

       Construction was started in the summer of 1994 for three Sabbath School rooms. By the summer of 1995, the rooms were completed and assigned to the Cradle Roll, Kindergarten and Primary departments because our youth departments seem to be growing continually.  In 2005, Don Albright chaired a committee to remodel the sanctuary.  They spent many long hours looking at upholstery and carpet samples, to be sure we had the right one.  At the end of 2005, we had completed the painting of the sanctuary.  This past summer, we remodeled the balcony and platform and updated the carpet and pews.  The new sound system and the stain glass window completed the project.  In 2008 the church celebrated 100 years of the presence in York.

       God has been extremely good to the York Church and its members.  We have been blessed in many ways.  Our goal has been and continues to be, to reach out and share the love of God and His mercy for us and to tell them of His soon return.