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The Union Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The present Union Presbyterian Church building is a commodious two story red brick edifice located just off route 472 eight miles south of Quarryville and six miles north of Oxford. The present manse, completed in 1955 during the pastorate of the Reverend Glen C. Knecht, is adjacent to the Church.
The name "Union" was taken by the first members of the church because they comprised two Presbyterian groups which decided to unite in worship and in building a sanctuary. The town Union de-rives its name from this fact.
The original Union Presbyterian Church building was constructed of stone in the grove opposite the present sanctuary in 1814. The cost was covered by the donations of 121 people who began circulating a subscription on June 22, 1811. Twenty-two communicant members formed the first congregation which was organized by the Presbytery of New Castle in 1816. The Reverend William Finney, D.D. and the Reverend Samuel Martin, D.D. represented the Presbytery and the Reverend Ebenezer Dickey, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Oxford, preached the first sermon. Two of the first elders elected were James Jackson and John Crawford; the other elders were probably Abram Whiteside and Abram McConnell The first Trustees were John Andrews, William Bunting, John Coulter, James Thompson and Abraham Whiteside. Joseph Andrews and John Crawford were elected as a building committee. James Jackson was the first treasurer. The original stone sanctuary was rough in appearance by our standards and measured about thirty-six by forty feet. Each family furnished its own rude pew made of a plank supported by four rough hewn legs. We know that John Hayes of Little Britain Township laid the foundation, built the walls and did the other masonary work for $388.52. William Taylor did the carpentry work.
The first pastor, the Reverend Elkanah K. Dare, was installed November 18, 1817, and served until his death August 26, 1826. Mr. Dare also served the Doe Run Presbyterian Church and it is said that he road on horseback each Sunday between his parishes. He was dearly loved by his congregations. The second pastor, the Reverend Alexander Gamble Morrison, was born in Colerain Township and served from 1825 to 1834. One of our stained glass windows was given in memory of Mr. Morrison. It is said that he was an earnest and impressive speaker and was endowed with more than ordinary abilities. The former rude plank seats were replaced during the pastorate of the Reverend David McCarter (served from 1837 to 1843), and the church was repaired and painted.
Our fourth pastor, the Reverend Samuel Dickey, son of the Reverend Ebenezer Dickey, D.D., served from 1844 to 1853. The membership matured in Christian spirit and grew in numbers during Mr. Dickey's pastorate, making it necessary in 1851 to take out the west end of the sanctuary and extend the building fifteen feet. In 1852, elder Abner Davis, Christopher Davis, Samuel Martin, and Jane Martin of the Union Presbyterian Church joined with eight other persons from Presbyterian churches to form the Free Presbyterian Church of Colerain. The reader will find more details of this separa-tion written by Mr. Madison E. McElwain later in this book. Suffice it to say here that those who separated felt that they could not accept pronouncements of the General Assembly of the Church concerning the slavery question. When, after the Civil War, this was no longer an issue, some returned to their former congregations. Our fifth pastor, Reverend Calvin W. Stewart, served the Union Presbyterian Church from 1858 to 1891 for over thirty-two yean, and the congregation progressed in several ways. The original manae, which is nearby on Route 472 and the home of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Watson, was built in 1860. Increased membership, and especially a revival in 1865, when 135 persons united with the church, required the building of a larger sanctuary. In 1869 the old church was taken down and the lower level of the present building was constructed.
The Union Presbyterian Church continued to grow during the pastorate of the Reverend Robert H. Kirk (1891-1905) and it became necessary to add a second level to the building in 1898-1899. A vestibule with two stairways and a bell tower were also constructed at this time. Down through the years twelve other pastors, aided by their respective congregations have tried to serve God as best they knew how. All pastors are listed below along with the present elders and trustees.
In 1936, during the pastorate of the Reverend George Marsdon, a number of members separated from the Union Presbyterian Church to form what is now the Kirkwood Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Kirkwood, Pennsylvania. Mr. Marsdon became the first pastor of the new church. In very general terms, the reason for the division was given, by those separating, as modernism in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.
In 1966 the Union Presbyterian Church celebrated its 150th year of service to the Lord. Special services were held, one being a service of sacred music led by the choir of the Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey. Over 600 persons attended this interdenominational service of worship. In May 1967 the newly renovated Christian Education area and the Chapel on the first level were completed. The building committee supervising this work consisted of: Mr. Paul M. Miller, chairman, Mr. John Herr, Mr. Lewis Shoemaker, Jr., Mr. Conrad Swinehart, and Mr. Glen Weicksel.
Those leading our ministry of music are: Mrs. Ernest Miller-Senior Choir Director Mrs. Hugh Lesley-Junior Choir Director
Mrs. Helen F. Bushong-Organist
Mrs. Earle Hershey-Assistant Organist
Mrs. Elmer Wade-Junior Choir Pianist
Our Sunday School Officers are:
Mr. Lewis Shoemaker, Jr.-Superintendent Mr. Donald Hastings-Assistant Superintendent Mrs. Donald Hastings-Secretary- Treasurer
Our Board of Trustees consists of the following:
Mr. John Hastings-President
Mr. Kenneth Shoemaker-Secretary
Mr. Martin Greenleaf
Mr. Paul Thompson
Mr. Paul Shivery
Mr. Conard Swinehart-Treasurer
Our Session now consists of the following:
Mr. Miles Cochran-Worship Committee
Mr. Harry Cramer-Evangelism Committee
Mr. Hervey Ferguson-Clerk of Session and Christian
Mrs. Martin Greenleaf-Evangelism Committee
Mr. Albert Hart-Interpretation and Stewardship Mr. James Z. Martin-
Christian Education Committee Mr. Granville Trimble-Worship Committee
Mr. Emory Wagner-Evangelism Committee
Mr. Robert Weicksel-Benevolence Treasurer and Interpretation and Stewardship Committee The Reverend Richard G. Yates, Sr.-Moderator
Pastors who have served the Union Presbyterian Church are:
1. Elkanah Kelsy Dare-November 19, 1817 to August 16, 1826. 2. Alexander Gamble Morrison-November 1828 to April 2, 1834. 3. David McCarter-June 13, 1837 to April 19, 1843. 4. Samuel Dickey-October 9, 1844 to October 12, 1853. 5. Calvin Wilfred Stewart, D.D.- June 24, 1858 to January 1, 1891. 6. Robert Hutchinson Kirk-May 11, 1891 to March 13, 1905. 7. Frederick Walter Evans-June 20, 1905 to April 10, 1906. 8. Robert Andrew Hunter-December 11, 1906 to April 12, 1910. 9. John Wythe Lewis-October 13, 1910 to March 15, 1915. 10. Maurice Seal White-June 18, 1915 to June 3, 1918. 11. John Gezon Noordewier-January 3,1919 to October 31,1923. 12. Thomas Eddy Kerr-January 5, 1924 to May 29, 1932. 13. George Marsdon-April 19, 1933 to June 28, 1936. 14. William Horatio Crapper, D.D., Ph.D.-October 11, 1937 to August 31, 1953. 15. Glen Charles Knecht, Th.M.-July 13,1954 to June 2,1957. 16. J. William Giles, M.R.E.-June 26,1958 to December 7,1963. 17. Richard Grant Yates, Sr.-September 2, 1964 to present.
Our Sunday School enrollment is 245 and the average attendance in 1966 was 163. There were 306 communicant church members at the end of 1966 and the average church attendance was 163. The Union Presbyterian Church extends a cordial welcome to everyone.
Sunday School 9: 45 AM.
The Worship Service 11:00 AM.
Senior High and Junior High Young People 7:30 P.M.
The Wednesday Service 7:30 P.M.
Union Church.-In view of establishing a church, a lot of land containing one acre and one hundred and thirty-five perches,strict measure, was purchased from Joseph Andrew's. The land was conveyed to James Thompson, John Andrews, John Coulter, Abram Whiteside, and William Bunting, Jr., in trust for the people. The first subscription paper for money to buy land and erect a building was dated June 22, 1811, and was signed by one hundred and twenty-one persons with sum's ranging from fifty cents to forty dollars. The meeting-house was originally erected as a preaching place for Presbyterian and Seceding ministers, as a union chapel, taking its name from that fact. The contractor for the carpenter work was William Taylor. John Hayes, the father of the Hayes of Little Britain township, was contractor for the mason work. The amount paid to William Taylor was three hundred and eighty eight dollars and fifty two cents. The building committee consisted of Joseph Andrews and John Crawford. James Jackson was the treasurer. The original building was made of stone, and was about thirty-six by forty feet. 'the church was organized about the year 1816, and consisted of eighteen members and four elders. The elders were James Jackson, John Craw Cord, and probably Abram Whiteside and Abram McConnel. The first sermon preached in the church was delivered by Rev. Ebenezer Dickey, pastor of the Oxford Presbyterian Church, Chester County, Pa. For many years the congregation worshiped in this building, with unplastered walls, rude seats made of planks, with four sticks for legs, each family being required to furnish their own seat. The first pastor was Rev. E. K. Dare, installed Nov. 18,1817, and served until his death, Aug. 26, 1826. In September, 1818, Samuel Martin, Joseph Andrews, and William McCommon were elected elders. William Hayes, John Whiteside, David Jackson, and Abner Davis were elected elders in March, 1826. The next pastor was Rev. Alexander G. Morrison, installed in 1828, and served until 1834. In 1838 permanent seats were put in, the church repaired and painted. The church was without a pastor from 1834 to 1837. David McCarter was installed June 3, 1837, and remained until 1841. During his pastorate William Galbraith and Hugh Andrews were elected elders, in the year 1839. Rev. Samuel Dickey, of Oxford, Chester Co., Pa., was installed Oct 9, 1844, and resigned Oct 12, 1853.
In 1845 the church was repaired, new roof put on, a new pulpit made, the pews were remodeled and painted. Owing to increased attendance, in 1851 one end was taken out, the building extended, and more pews put in. Messrs. Robert Andrews and Robert Jackson were the contractors for the work. From 1853 to 1855 the church was without a regular pastor. Rev. G. Van Artsdalen was called to be pastor, but was not installed by Presbytery, and in 1857 he was removed by Presbytery suspendiiig him from the ministry. April 12, 1858, Mr. Calvin W. Stewart, the present pastor, then a student in Princeton Seminary, received a call and became pastor. The call was placed in his hands at a meeting of Presbytery April 18th, and he was installed June 24, 1858. The following-named elders have been elected during his pastorate Joseph J. Andrews, Joseph L. McCommon, William R. White, and James G. Morrison, installed Sept. 19, 1858; James R. Jackson, John A. Alexander, and Dr. James P. Andrews, installed Sept. 30, 1860; Thomas Ferguson, installed April 6, 1867; Joseph B. Davis, installed April 14, 1874; James S. Patterson, Robert Morrison, Washington B. Paxson. and Francis N. Scott, installed Sept. 24, 1881.
The present house of worship was erected in 1869, built of brick, eighty-five by fifty-five feet, and cost about Len thousand dollars. There have been about five hundred members added on profession of faith, and one hundred by letter from other churches. The whole number of communicants in regular attendance at the present time Is about four hundred and fifty. The present organization consists of Pastor, Rev Calvin W. Stewart; Elders Joseph J. Andrews, Joseph McCommon, Thomas Ferguson, James K. Jackson, Joseph B. Davis, James S. Patterson Robert A. Morrison, Washington B. Paxson, and Francis N. Scott; Trustees, Robert B. Patterson, Joseph White, William R. Wright, Cromwell Blackburn, Charles Hayes, and George D. Hastings.
The church has the following missionary societies: Women's Home Missionary Society. -President, Mrs. C. W. Stewart; Secretary, Mrs. Albert Worth; Treasurer, Mrs. Joseph D. Hastings.
The Mackey Mission Band.-President, Miss Mary C. Stewart; Secretary, Miss Mary White; Treasurer, Miss May Jackson.
Women's Foreign Missionary Soeiety.-President, Mrs. C. Blackburn; Secretary, Mrs. G. H. hastings; Treasurer, Mrs. Rachel Jackson.
The Sabbath-school in connection with the church is conducted by the following-named Officers; Rev. C. W. Stewart, D.D., pastor; James S. Patterson, superintendent; George R. Hastings, chorister; V. H. Alexander, secretary; Robert A. Morrison, treasurer. The whole number enrolled is two hundred and twenty-five, including officers and teachers.