The Idaville Church was formed by a body of Christians faithful to the original constitution of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ following the division of the church in 1889. From 1889 until construction of the church building, meetings were held in the home of George Group, Sr., in the village of Idaville.
In 1896, through the inspiration of God, George Group, Sr., William Smyers and wife, Anna, Amos Little and wife, Hannah, were inspired to erect a building on ground donated by Jessie and Liberty Little to be known as the Idaville United Brethren in Christ Church. The first trustees, Amos Little, William Smyers and Isaac Bowers were elected by the Quarterly Conference on March 21, 1896. Charles Waiter, Gates Slaybaugh, and Samuel Orner erected the building at a cost of $2400. They bought the furniture—pulpit, altar, and pews—from the Evangelical Church in Bendersville for about $250.
The building was dedicated on October 11, 1896. Our church was a member of the York Springs Mission until 1897 when the Annual Conference changed the name of the Franklintown Mission. Rev. W. R. Burkholder was pastor during this period.
At the annual session of the Pennsylvania Conference on September 23-25, 1914, the Idaville, Heidlersburg, and Mount Olivet churches were designated as the Heidlersburg Circuit. Rev. Jacob H. Bender was appointed the first fulltime pastor. Pastor Bender reported in a letter that there were only six members at Idaville when he came to the circuit and only one was active. During the winter of 1914-15 it pleased the Lord to send a gracious revival. During this meeting more than 100 persons were converted. As a result of the revival, a Sunday school and Christian Endeavor were organized. Norman K. Hoffman served as the first Sunday School Superintendent, and Edgar Hoffman as the first Class Leader.
Rev. Leroy Perry was assigned to the Circuit by Pennsylvania Conference in 1928. Pastor Perry reports that he found the Idaville Church almost inactive and they were considering selling the building. He persuaded the conference to paint the building at a cost of $35 and to continue the work in this community. The conference sent Rev. Harry Barnes to the circuit in the fall of 1930.
On January 1, 1931, in cooperation with the Idaville Evangelical Church, a union revival was begun. Pastor Barnes and Rev. W. X. Hosterman, pastor of the Evangelical Church, delivered the messages. The Spirit of conviction gripped the community and it was not unusual to see a double row of seekers at the altar each evening. The meetings lasted, without a break, for three months. Three hundred conversions were recorded.
The Lord blessed the ministry of his Word and the congregation continued to grow. The need for additional facilities was apparent. Under the pastorate of Rev. O. A. Kerns, in 1946, the interior of the building was redecorated and new pews installed.
In 1947, Rev. Arbe Dorsey was assigned to the circuit. The church was still holding Sunday school in the one-room building. That year the basement was excavated to provide a large Sunday school room and space for a new central heating plant. The same year a new parsonage for the circuit was erected.
The Sunday school soon outgrew these facilities and the need for additional space again was apparent. Off-street parking was limited to four automobiles, and the street was too narrow to permit safe parking. Plans were laid to acquire additional property for a parking lot and future expansion as soon as suitable property was available.
A congregational meeting was called on April 14, 1957, to consider proposed articles of incorporation. The Board of Trustees was authorized to present the incorporation petition to the Adams County Court. On April 17, 1957, the articles of incorporation were approved and the court granted a charter. Ground adjacent to the church building was purchased at public sale on April 28, 1957, to provide off-street parking.
A building committee was appointed on February 28, 1959, to explore ways to provide better Christian Education facilities. They immediately began exploring the best way to provide the needed facilities. That is: add a wing to the building at the present location, move the building to the center of the parking lot and add a wing, or erect a completely new building.
On April 3, 1963, negotiations were begun with Church Enterprises, South Bend, Indiana (now Evangelical Church Building Corporation), as church building consultant. Their survey clearly revealed that our present building was inadequate and that the lot was too small to accommodate a new building. The doors seemed closed, but the Lord again answered our prayers.
On April 30, 1963, the old schoolhouse property, located on State Route 34, was purchased. The church now had a lot large enough to consider a new building. On October 4, 1963, a contract was signed with the Evangelical Church Building Corporation to prepare plans for a new building. On July 18, 1965, the congregation instructed the Building Committee to proceed with construction at the earliest possible date. Ground was broken on September 12, 1965. “And so we built–for the people had a mind to work.”
The Lord continued to bless the ministry of this church. In January 1990, the Board of Administration appointed a committee to explore ways to provide better Christian Education facilities. The committee considered many options, looked at what other churches were doing, and had rough drawings made. After two years of “seed planting,” discussion and need, recognition occurred. In October 1991, the congregation voted to move ahead with yet another new building.
In January 1992 a contract was signed with the TAM Agri Corporation of Dillsburg, Pa., to construct a multi-purpose building.
On September 27, 1992, the congregation presented this building, the product of our cooperative labors, to be dedicated to the glory of God, to be “a Lighthouse to the lost” and a “Greenhouse to the saved.”
In 1998, Idaville Church hired a second staffperson—a fulltime Director of Student Ministries. The pastor and Director of Student Ministries guide the congregation forward to do the work of the Lord. An emphasis upon worship, ministry, evangelism, fellowship, and discipleship was adopted as the driving purposes for the vision of the church.
In 2007, Idaville Church ventured forth in faith again. A second service was launched. The 8:15 morning service is characterized as “traditional.” This service includes a blend of hymns and choruses, children’s church, a well-staffed nursery, and a variety of choirs. The 11:00 service is contemporary, celebrative, and casual. A coffee kiosk is provided with flavored coffees, cold drinks, and light snacks. The praise band provides the music for worship in the second service.
Today, this fellowship is poised for the future. May she press on in obedience to her living God.