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Our STory 

 
A group of Presbyterians in South Fayette Township wished to form their own congregation instead of making a long trek each Sunday to Bethel Church. So on the warm spring day of April 20, 1814, several traveled to a Presbytery of Ohio meeting in Wheeling, West Virginia. There they presented a petition to form a new congregation to be called Bethany. While awaiting the decision of the governing body of fellow Presbyterians, they confidently purchased a tract of three acres overlooking the mouth of Miller’s Run from the Middleswarths for $40.77. On October 18, 1814 at Pigeon Creek Church near the present I-79 Dunningsville exit, the investigating committee of The Rev. John McMillen, D.D., The Rev. James Patterson and Samuel Ralston presented their recommendation to the Presbytery and Bethany Presbyterian Church was born, in spite of the opposition of representatives from Bethel Church.

The new congregation of 40 members invited The Reverend Alexander Cook to become their new pastor. In 1815 they erected a house of worship on the new property and established an adjacent cemetery.

In 1838 the growing congregation replaced the building with a larger brick structure measuring 50 x 70 feet. The new building was constructed by Cornelius Borland at a cost of $3,000.

The congregation, however, saw that the future of the Church was located not in the rural location in South Fayette but in Bridgeville, the town of its offspring.

On April 23, 1884 Pittsburgh Presbytery appointed a committee to see to the combining of the two congregations. On June 3, 1886, Reverend Virgil C. Sheeley was installed as pastor of the two congregations, replacing Reverend Hill. On April 9, 1888 the two congregations were merged by the Presbytery into one, the Bethany Presbyterian Church of Bridgeville, with 207 members. Plans were started almost immediately to build a larger building. The “Lord’s Barn” was then torn down and by June 23, 1889 a new sanctuary stood on the property, complete with a bell tower and built of brick fired on the site. It was designed by James Campbell and built by Joseph Ross for $15,085.

During Reverend Wilson’s pastorate the time to rebuild came again to the congregation. In August of 1968 the sanctuary of 1888 was torn down and by October 5, 1969. Holy Communion was first held in the present sanctuary. It was designed by Ted McConnell and Associates and built by John Deklewa and Sons at a cost of $351,860.

On December 12, 1971 The Reverend Clyde Brown became Bethany’s 10th pastor. On November 9, 1986 The Reverend Carl Engstrom, D.D. became the 11th pastor. On June 26, 1994 The Reverend Daniel Hrach, became the 12th pastor.

The manse built in 1952-53 was torn down in December 2003. Ground breaking for our new addition, funded by the generosity of the McDivitt Trust,  was held June 13, 2004. The entire project was completed by the beginning of 2006.  The new addition houses the Great Room, Youth Room, Kitchen, Offices, Library, Bethany Room and classrooms. The Christian Education Wing was also renovated. The Sanctuary was renovated with new pews, carpet, organ and chancel.

The Rev. Dr. John G. Hamilton was our 13th pastor from 2010 through 2019. Our 14th pastor, the Rev. Dr. Brian Janssen began his ministry at Bethany in January 2021.

During all of its years as a congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ, Bethany has purposed to show God’s love, compassion and forgiveness in the area along the banks of Chartiers Creek known as Bridgeville. After more than 200 years of rich history and God’s blessings, we continue to strive to make disciples and bring Christ’s love to our community and the world beyond.
 

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