Stelvideo Christian Church Celebrates 100 Years

Local Church Building 100 Years Old Today

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Stelvideo Christian Church, a little white church by the side of the road, will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the present church building with a special service to be held on Sunday, October 24th.

The program will begin at 2:00 p.m. with the guest speaker being former pastor, Vernon Rodeffer, of Yorktown, Indiana.  Following the program, there will be additional fellowship with reminiscing and photographs, along with displays of Bibles and vintage tools from over the years.  Jack Sullenbarger, member, trustee and deacon, will also display his 1924 Model T, offering rides after the service.  We anticipate a blessed time of fellowship among friends, family and neighbors. 

The public is invited to attend – everyone is welcome!

 

Brief History

The village of Stelvideo was laid out by Solomon Farmer in the year 1851.  The village, located six miles northeast of Greenville, was infested with many “isms” and “ologies”.  Local residents who believed in the Bible as the Word of God were led to build a church.  On March 11, 1887 a group of local believers met at the one-room school house in Stelvideo to organize a Christian Church.  Trustees and deacons were elected and by-laws were established.  The thesis and the foundation of the church would be:  “The Holy Bible, our only rule of faith and practice.  The Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.  Christian character, the test of fellowship.”  

In 1888 the new church was dedicated and named the Stelvideo Christian Church.  

Over the years the church by-laws have been amended several times.  Included in the early by-laws was an interesting method of defraying church expenses.  Each male member was asked to pay 25 cents per quarter and each female member 15 cents per quarter.

On September 11, 1919 sparks from a nearby sawmill ignited a fire which burned the original church to the ground.  (Men were sawing lumber to be used for the construction of the East Zion Church, located on State Route 36, near Greenville.)  Down but by no means out, the congregation met and voted to rebuild immediately.  While the replacement building was in construction, the membership met for worship in the old one-room school house which still stands north of the former railroad tracks.  

In June of 1921, the basic church as we know it today, was dedicated.  Construction costs amounted to approximately $4,200. The new church was dedicated debt free.

Gertrude Ashman Pearson was the oldest member of the church. She was a member for 85 years, from January 1904 until her passing in 1989 at the age of 97.  Roland Erisman was the youngest member, joining the church at age five and was a member for 80 years until his passing in 2014. There are several current members who are in their 90s and have been members for many years.

Several families have attended Stelvideo Church for multiple generations — the oldest probably being the family of Dean Burk, the late Tom Burk and Sheri (Burk) Baker.  This family has a seven-generation history in the church family.  Their great-great-grandfather, Aaron Frampton, was one of the first founders of the church and was active in its organization.  Their great-grandmother, Mrs. Currie Frampton Burns, was a member in the early 1900s.  Their grandmother, Mrs. Minnie Burns Witwer and mother, Glenna Witwer Burk, were members; and now, children and grandchildren finish the seven generations that have attended the Stelvideo Christian Church.

The average attendance at Stelvideo Christian Church was around 60 each Sunday, prior to covid.

 

Over the years, improvements have been many and varied.  Some, of particular interest, include the purchase of the first piano in 1923 and the first organ 20 years later.  Electric lights were installed in 1929, with a monthly bill of $1.00.  A life-size picture of Christ in the Garden was painted by Rev. Denlinger’s son-in-law, J. Roth of York, PA in 1945 and is displayed behind the alter.  A much-needed parking lot, north of the church, was purchased in 1949.  The restroom wing was added in 1968.  The Sanctuary was renovated in 1987, followed by a new alter, pulpit and lectern in 1991.  A handicap ramp was installed in 1996, and air conditioning added in 1999.

 

Church Officers in 1921: Church Officers in 2021:

Chairman: George Brewer Moderator: Phil Baker

Secretary: Elva Marker Secretary: Jeannie Anderson

Treasurer: Estella Brewer Treasurer: Crystal Holler

Trustee: Solomon Brewer Trustees: Rich McKee, Gordon

Smith & Jack Sullenbarger

Pastor: R.P. Arrick Pastor: Tracy Brown

 

Current Deacon/Deaconess:  Phil Baker, David Bloomfield, Janna Mears / Annette Brenner, Jack Sullenbarger; Deacon Emeritus are Richard McMiller & Gene Schultz.

 

Pastors of Stelvideo Christian Church

1887 – 1889 Rev. Kemp 1929 – 1935 Rev. Bertha Driver

1889 – 1891 Rev. Metzgar 1935 – 1937 Rev. Sam Woods

1891 Rev. Hoeffer 1937 – 1939 Rev. Gerald Martin

1892 – 1894 Rev. Lott 1939 – 1941 Rev. Cecile Brouse

1894 Rev. Bontt 1941 – 1953 Rev. William Denlinger

1895 – 1897 Rev. Kemp 1953 – 1959 Rev. Nevin Haines

1897 – 1899 Rev. Cain 1959 Rev. Ron Peters

1899 Rev. Hoeffer 1960 – 1968 Rev. Charles Looker

1899 – 1918 Unknown 1968 – 1987 Rev. Ted Landis, Jr.

1918 Rev. Oren 1987 – 2001 Pastor Joe Soley

1919 Rev. Kessler 2001 – 2012 Pastor Vernon Rodeffer

1920 – 1922 Rev. Arrick 2012 – 2013 Pastor Alan Arment

1922 – 1928 Rev. Watson 2014 – Present    Pastor Tracy Brown

 

“Since 1921 the church has gone through many changes”, states current pastor, Tracy Brown. “The one thing that has not changed has been the people’s faith in God Almighty.  The members of the Stelvideo Christian Church love the Lord with all of their heart, soul and mind.  As pastor of the Stelvideo Christian Church, I want to personally invite you to join us on our days of worship and become a part of the Family of God by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  This is a family-oriented church that loves one another and worships the One True God!  Jesus Loves You and God has a plan for your LIFE!” 

Tracy Brown is the pastor of the Stelvideo Christian Church.  He and his wife, Heather (Hunt), came to the church in 2014.  They have two sons; Foster and Stuart, and live in Hollansburg.  

Pastor Brown and his family cordially invite everyone to attend the ceremony and join them as they commemorate this century-old church.

Darke County Press Release

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