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Township, Lancaster County, Pa

"Churches of Today and Yesterday in Southern Lancaster County" by Fellowship of Solanco Churches, Raymond Dunlap, George Herbert, & Richard Yates , Sr. printed 1968

This church was organized by J. C. Owens in the home of J. A. Augustine on August 17, 1849. The following December it was de-cided to build a House of Worship to be called the Union Bethel. This was a stone building and was completed in March, 1853, at a cost of $463.18. In 1851, this Church was admitted to the East Pennsyl-vania Eldership, which is affiliated with the incorporated body known as the "Churches of God in North America," with churches through-out the United States, East Pakistan and India. Our headquarters are now in "The Protestant Center" at Harrisburg, Pa. All persons who have professed conversion and have publicly accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, promising to obey the teachings of the New Testament, or those coming by Letter of Transfer, may be received into the fellowship of this Church by the Pastor and the Church Council. Carlton Price was the first pastor of this Church which was then known as the Lancaster County Circuit. On November 12, 1893, a new Bethel was built at a cost of $1,425. This was a frame building, which still serves the congregation.

The first mention of a Sunday School is made in the minutes in 1896, when E. C. Aston served as Superintendent. At that time, Sun-day School Sessions were held only from April through September. With the aid of private contributions, pulpit furniture was bought in 1895. From the records, it seems at that time that money for the Lord's work was very scarce. At one Council Meeting the Treasurer reported a balance of $0 .15 and a motion was passed to pay the bills and the Pastor's salary when the money was available.

On October 23, 1899, Elder O. E. Martin donated ground for a Par-sonage. This Parsonage was completed March 27, 1901, at a cost of $973.50, which was paid by both Smithville and Fairview, since the same pastor served both Churches at that time. On September 29, 1908, land across the road was bought from the Pennsylvania Rail-road Company for a parking lot.

In 1912, a Christian Endeavor Society was organized, a retaining wall along the cemetery and a steps from the roadway to the Bethel was built. In 1913, the basement was excavated and rooms for the Junior Department of the Sunday School were built. In 1956, a ves-tibule was built and the entire Bethel was brick veneered; a driveway was made above the cemetery and a new tool shed was built at a cost of over $8,000. In 1959, the parsonage was renovated at a cost of $1,800, and a brick bulletin board was built at the Bethel for $158. In 1960, the parsonage was covered with aluminum siding at a cost of $2,211.

1961 seems to have been a Banner Year for the Smithville Church. Mr. and Mrs. Martin Fellenbaum gave the Church $2,475. Out of this gift, a new piano was bought and new pulpit furniture was made. 26 believers were baptized and 37 new members were received into the Church. Several men of the Church spent many hours of hard labor clearing the brush from the bank back of the Bethel. The fill was used on the parking lot. Then the parking lot was paved and the drive-way at the parsonage was paved at a total cost of $3,176. A mimeo-graph was purchased, the Ladies Aid donated scarves for the new chancel furniture, and they had a new capping put on the wall along the cemetery. Pastor Lucas donated a new Pulpit Bible. In 1962, a new Hammond Organ was purchased and a Constitution was adopted and printed for all members.

In 1963, the Parsonage was again improved by building a semi-bath on the First floor and installing storm windows. In 1964, the Ladies Aid had an automatic water system installed in the Bethel at a cost of $1,130. A water conditioner was installed at the Parsonage as a Christmas Gift from a friend of the Church and Pastor. The Class in the Corner put an awning on the kitchen window. In 1965, Mrs. Mabel Eshleman donated a parcel of ground adjacent to the Parson-age, which adds ten feet to both the north and south sides of the parsonage lot.

In 1967 the House of Worship was renovated by installing all new windows, a new ceiling, wiring and lights, and new paneling at the base of the walls. The walls were painted and new window shades were installed. A roof was built over the steps to the entrance. At the parsonage improvements were made by removing the big tree and grading the lawn.

This Church is located just east of Route 272 near the underpass. The regular Services are: Sunday School at 9:30 and Worship at 10:30 AM. each Lord's Day; Evening Worship and C.G.Y.A every Second Sunday; Prayer Meeting and Bible Study on Wednesday at 7:30 P.M. Sunday School Enrollment is 190, average attendance 120. The Church membership is 152; average attendance is about 90.

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