A Brief History of Epiphany Lutheran Church


The Beginning
   In June of 1955 Pastor Charles Ruby initiated the gathering of people in the Pleasant Hills neighborhood to form a new church. Within six months, with the assistance of the Central Pennsylvania Synod, the group had purchased two lots. The existing house on one of the lots would serve as the Parsonage. The exterior of a house was constructed on the neighboring lot to serve as the House Chapel. The first service was held on January 8, 1956. 156 attended. The offering was $115. Pastor Ruby had Janitor duty for the week. Two months later, on March 18, our Charter was signed by 70 members. Epiphany’s fledgling spirit began its history of growth.
 
The Early Years
   In 1959 Pastor Ruby moved on to lead another church, and Ernest Vetter agreed to serve as Interim Pastor. In September of 1959, Philip Lambdin was installed as Pastor.
   Within its first five years, Epiphany was outgrowing its space. In February 1961, with 133 members and an annual budget of $12000, a Capital Fund Drive to raise $24,000 was initiated. Farmer Norton agreed to sell four acres of his land. On January 10, 1963 the cornerstone was laid at Epiphany’s new site, our current location on Colonial Road.
   On June 19, 1963 Epiphany held its first worship service in its new building which included a Sanctuary to seat 150, classrooms, an educational section, an office, and a Pastor’s study.


Yoked Ministry
   In 1967 Paul Case stepped in as Epiphany’s next Pastor. A strong emphasis in his ministry was to care for the widows. However, as was the case for many churches, the ‘60s and ‘70s seemed to be a time of testing for Epiphany in terms of budgetary struggles and declining church attendance.
   In order to keep two churches going, Epiphany and Our Saviour were yoked together under the leadership of Pastor John Schaertel in 1974. The resulting merge of the two youth groups led to the first Youth Retreat in June 1975. Epiphany’s Twentieth Anniversary celebration in 1976 and a return visit to a worship service in the House Chapel seemed to re-energize the congregation. In November, 1980, Epiphany withdrew from the yoke with Our Saviour. Pastor Albert Myers agreed to serve as the interim Pastor.

Tragedy and Survival
   May 13th 1982, was an arduous test of Epiphany’s mettle when fire burned out most of the Sanctuary and severely damaged the rest of the building. The members of Colonial Park United Church of Christ generously offered the use of their church for Epiphany to worship during the recovery process.
   May 1, 1983 marked another date of celebration and thanksgiving in the life of Epiphany. This time it was to worship in the morning and dedicate the rebuilt edifice, the result of energy, support, and prayers from the congregation, Pastor Myers, and the community. The Sanctuary and office area were rebuilt. The Education wing was restored.
   A few years later, the education wing was expanded by pushing out the south wall and opening the area into one large room. This area was dedicated in May of 1987 to Clair Geesaman, who worked so hard in its planning and construction.
   During the ‘80s and ‘90s, led by Pastor Collns and Wirick, Epiphany was marked with a healthy spirit and emergence of a maturing vision. No longer seeing survival as its main cause, Epiphany now turned its focus outward. It was time to expand again, but this time it was so that Epiphany could better serve the community.

Expansion
   A three-year Capital Campaign, initiated in 1998 to raise $250,000 was successful. In 2002 another cornerstone was added. Epiphany now had a Fellowship Hall, a large kitchen, plus renovated classrooms. Later, an outdoor Pavilion, cooking area and worship space were added as the Gold and Eagle award projects of some Epiphany scouts. This expansion has allowed us to enhance our life together as a community and provide meeting space for various community groups, Scouts, worshipping communities, homeless families, and the list goes on.


We proclaim Jesus the Christ has made a difference in our lives, and so we dedicate ourselves to making a difference with our lives in His Name.


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September 21, 2017

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