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The roots of this church go back to the early years of the present century when foreign labor was brought to the area to be employed in the construction of a dam and power plant at what was known as McCall's Ferry in Martic Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This place had, since Colonial days, been the location of the many ferries operating on the Susquehanna River and a main route of travel between Lancaster and York Counties. The need for some sort of religious activity on behalf of the foreign labor employed here was brought to the attention of Westminister Presbytery at a meeting held in York in April of 1906. The committee on Synodical Home Missions was directed to investigate the situation and undertake work there if possible. An appropriation of $200.00 was authorized for the Summer of that year. This work continued, with additional appropriations, for about three years, when most of the imported labor had departed.
The place and its need for religious services, however, was not forgotten by Presbytery. The Reverend Thomas G. Baxter had become Pastor of the Pine Grove Presbyterian Church of York County in 1908, and immediately became interested in the work at McCall's Ferry. Mr. Baxter realized that although many of the foreign population had moved away, there remained a number of permanent employees, as well as other local residents, who desired regular religious services in their midst. He therefore continued his ministrations here until 1911, when his report at the Fall meeting of Presbytery was of such a favorable nature that at the April meeting of Presbytery in 1912, he was "encouraged to secure the signatures of such permanent residents as would agree to unite with a Presbyterian Church if in the future the way should be clear to organize a Church there."
The names of twenty persons being secured and thirty more who promised to be adherents of the Church, Presbytery's committee immediately set in motion the regular machinery for organizing a congregation. On December 19, 1912, the committee met at Holtwood and formally constituted a church consisting of four members. Mr. Harry Myers was elected, ordained and installed as Ruling Elder. It was also decided at this time that the name should be "THE
HOLTWOOD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH." The new name of "HOLTWOOD" had recently been adopted by the Power Company and the community in honor of the construction of the dam and power plant. The name "McCall's Ferry" was discontinued. The immediate need after organization was to secure a suitable house of worship. By 1913 the employees of the plant had secured about half enough money to build a Church, and the Pennsylvania Water and Power Company generously contributed the sum of $1400.00. The employees did all the necessary digging by hand themselves, and the building was dedicated free of debt May 18, 1913.
The congregation has at no time been large enough to support a full time Minister, but has been served by Supply Pastors on a three month basis. Following Pastor Baxter, the Pastors of Chanceford, Chestnut Level, Little Britain and Middle Octorara have supplied this pulpit by the direction of Presbytery. It was of course necessary for these Ministers to preach at Holtwood on Sabbath evenings, since they were in their own pulpits in the morning. Presently, 1967, the Reverend Hugh W. Rendall D.D., retired, of Atglen is filling the pul-pit, and services of worship are conducted on Sabbath Morning. The membership of the Church is 44 and the Sunday School enrollment is 32.