Jersey Shore Presbyterian Church – The Church Journey

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October 12, 2020   http://mynetzone.com/

I had the privilege to visit Jersey Shore Presbyterian Church that has a history going back to 1792.  Founded in 1792, is one of the oldest churches in this area. Its first meeting place was in God’s great outdoors, shadowed by the famous “Tiadaghton Elm” near lower Pine Creek Bridge.  It was organized by Carlisle Presbytery (a presbytery is a collection of Presbyterian churches in a particular region) in what today is the Presbytery of Northumberland.   The first pastor, Rev. Isaac Grier, preached his first sermon on June 28, 1792. [1]

The first building, known as the “Pine Creek Church,” was built near the “Tiadaghton Elm” and dedicated in 1798. When it was built, Jersey Shore did not yet exist.  The building had no seats, people brought their own,  and no heat but worshipers thronged to it.  The former Indian Reserve Territory was sparsely settled. in 1800 there were only four houses on the present site of Jersey Shore.  Without a pastor after 1806, the church declined to 30 members, but began to grow again after Rev. John Grier began 37 years as pastor in 1814. [1]

In 1832, Presbyterians joined with Baptists to build an edifice on the corner of Broad and Seminary Streets in Jersey Shore.  For years, it was known as the “Union Church.”  Gradually the Presbyterian attendance moved from Pine Creek to Jersey Shore.  In 1836, the Pine Creek building was converted into an academy, and was used as such until it was destroyed by fire.  In 1844, Presbyterians bought out the Baptist interests in the “Union Church,” making it Presbyterian property from then on. [1]

In 1849 it was decided to build a new church on S. Main Street.  In 1851 Rev. Joseph Stevens was elected Pastor, serving 35 years.  On November 28, 1852, the new building was dedicated.  It was a large and beautiful edifice, elegantly finished and furnished.  The initial cost was $5,920.  The first pipe organ in Jersey Shore was later installed, and was played for the first time at the Christmas Service of 1892. [1]

Less than a year later, on September 13, 1893, the building was destroyed by fire.  The day after the fire, the congregation met and decided to repair the Union Church to use temporarily.  The cornerstone of the present building was laid on September 12, 1894.  It cost $35,000, and included a 16 ft. square, 102 ft. high tower with a 1550 lb. bell and, later on, a town clock.  The building was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God on July 14, 1895.  In 1967 a Christian Education wing was added. Since 1895, our church has been served by 17 pastors. [1]

Fires are not the only adversities they have overcome.  There have been three major floods, in 1889, 1936, and 1972, and a minor one in 2004.  The ’72 flood occurred when Hurricane Agnes caused the Susquehanna River to rise to an all-time high that flooded the church with almost eight feet of muddy water, coming up to the bottom of the stained-glass windows and covering the last four of the Ten Commandments painted on our front wall!

In over two centuries of Presbyterian work and witness, thousands of lives have been touched by the love of Christ.  Those, who now offer service to God in this beautiful church, realize the rich heritage they have inherited from those in the past, and look with excitement to what God will do among us in the future. [1]

MY JOURNEY:

I had the opportunity to visit this Presbyterian Church during a September trip to the state of Pennsylvania. I have always admired the church building for its old stone work, and the beautiful clock tower supporting a large roman numeral clock that provides a viewpoint high in the sky.

I had the opportunity to visit this Presbyterian Church during a September trip to the state of Pennsylvania. I have always admired the church building for its old stone work, and the beautiful clock tower supporting a large roman numeral clock that provides a viewpoint high in the sky.

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The church is located just a few hundred yards from the Susquehanna river banks. Before European conquest, the Susquhannock, an Iroquoian tribe lived along the river and gave the Susquehanna its name. The approximately 444-mile river winds from Cooperstown, New York’s Otesgo Lake, through Central Pennsylvania, and to Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.

The river has played an enormous role throughout the history of the United States. In the early days, the Susquehanna River played a significant part in transportation, housing a canal system that was used to move coal and people. When the railroad took over, however, the canals became all but obsolete. Just a few blocks from the church you can still see some of old canal banks that was used to transport goods by barges pulled by donkeys.

I had a great trip visiting this church  brought back fond memories of the area. I finished my visit praying outside the church. I admired the pictures presented in the stained-glass windows. The stained glass in this church is some of the best I have seen on The Church Journey.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Jersey Shore Presbyterian Church was founded in 1792, and just 4 years earlier in On April 30th, 1789, America had a Constitution and a newly formed government. On that day, the government, the House, and the Senate gathered for the Inauguration of our first president, George Washington. In his Inauguration Address. [2]

Washington gave a prophetic warning: “We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and the right which heaven itself has ordained.” Washington’s warning was, if we would begin to depart from God, He would remove His blessings, His prosperity and His protection from our nation. [2]

After Washington’s address, the government, the House, the Senate, and America’s first president traveled on foot to Saint Paul’s Chapel. No one knows exactly what was said inside but we do know the entire government was on their knees praying and consecrating this nation to God. {2]

In the chapel there is also a plaque above Washington’s pew with the words “Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that you will keep the United States in Holy protection.” Saint Paul’s Chapel is located at the corner of Ground Zero and is the spiritual birthplace of America. [2]

As a religious country we need God’s protections.  St. Paul chapel located at ground zero is a perfect example of God’s protections. This is where 1789 our first president leaders prayed for our country’s protection. The brown stone chapel remained unharmed during the 9/11 attack. Please continue to pray for the United States as government continues to cancel God from our way of life.

FELLOWSHIP:

With the National emergency for the COVID-19 virus many churches are remaining closed during the week.  At the time of my visit the church was closed, so I spent time outside the church in meditation and prayer. I was able to find some inside pictures of the church provided by the church Facebook page.

DETAILS:   

Church Website: http://jspresby.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jspc1792

Date Visited: 2020 September 18th

Location: 235 S Main Street Jersey Shore, Pa.

If you would like to learn more about this church, upcoming events, or listen to a sermon I encourage you to visit the church website listed above.

May our Lord continue to bless this church in Jesus name.

“And He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” – (Matthew 22:37)

Please Pray for all our churches as they continue to face challenges in the year 2020.

May this find you well and happy, God Bless

PICTURE GALLERY:  Inside pictures of the church provided by the church Facebook page.

REFERENCES:

  1. Jersey Shore Presbyterian Church, “The History of Our Church” (2020, October 12) Retrieved fromhttp://www.jspresby.org/the_history_of_our_church
  2. Alliance for Religious Freedom. (2020, October 12) “America Dedicated to God” Retrieved from https://allianceforreligiousfreedom.com/educate-yourself/america-dedicated-to-god/

 

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