|Primitive Methodist Church,
On that day we will unite in prayer that the dreams and devotions of the Founder of our church will always be the inspiration to carry on in a steady upward climb. In addition to the Religious service we have an historical display that will be interesting.
Most of our church records were destroyed by fire in 1936, so what we have gathered for the church history are from the minutes of the annual Society meeting and personal records from some of our church families.
In relating the church history, please note the devotion of the Pastors and the people in their struggle to erect and sustain their church. Their faith was put to a severe test at times but under strenuous labor and the Blessings of God, they always succeeded.
The Church, which was begun by Laymen, was organized in 1880 and was known as the Mt. Zion Primitive Methodist Church. From 1880 to 1886, when the church was built, services were held in the Blacksmith Shop that was owned by the coal company and in homes they were erecting for their employees. After the homes were completed and occupied, services were held in the Pyne School House. During this period, local preachers Mr. Atkinson and Mr. Russell served.
On June 12, 1884, the land on which the church and parsonage is built was bought for the sum of $1.00 from the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company.
During the construction of the church, when the men were shingling the roof, a severe storm came and blew down the structure. Brother McKechnie, who had labored at various communities building churches, hurried to the scene and found the men very dejected. It was times like this that tried their souls and tested their patience. Because of their faith in God, they decided to make another attempt. The people of the community responded liberally to aid and in a short time the edifice was completed. About a year after, anticipating the probabilty of a minister being stationed there, the parsonage was built.
The first minister assigned was Rev. Mather Harvey. He was followed by Rev. James E. Moore and Rev. Proud(e), and they served from 1886 to May 1897. [Original document said 1895, but newspaper reports differ.]
Rev. James Walker was selected as our minister in 1897, coming to us from Shamokin, and during his pastorate, the Church wall caved forcing Rev. Walker to hold religious services in a tent that was erected near the Church. This condition existed for a number of months, but finally the Coal Company, after much persuasion, rebuilt the wall. The Church and parsonage were greatly improved during Rev. Walker’s ministry. In May 1908 he declined to serve another year, going to Dickson City, and his successor was Rev. Nicholas White.
During Rev. White’s pastorate, in the year 1914, Evangelist Billy Sunday was in Scranton, and the emotional appeal he exercised over his audiences had its effect in our community. There was a large increase in the Congregation, and these meetings also resulted in the organization of the Men’s Bible Class, an outstanding group of its kind in this area. Rev. White was our pastor until 1917, and he was followed by Rev. William H. Holder.
During the long pastorate of Rev. Holder, the Church flourished and this was a period most helpful in establishing the work of the Church. Rev. Holder served until 1929.
At this period in our Church history many of our families were ordered to vacate their homes. These buildings were owned by the coal company and after they were sold, the new owners had to tear them down. Economic conditions developed from this loss of so many families and we were financially unable to support a Pastor. We placed our case in the hands of the Conference requesting them to appropriate Mission money to our Church. Rev. White continued to serve until 1944 when Rev. Ficther was assigned.
List of Churches Articles
History of the Providence Welsh Congregational Church, Scranton
Return to Index of News and History Articles
Return to the Lackawanna County PAGenWeb Home Page