Bethany Presbyterian Church to celebrate 200 years in Bridgeville area |

Bethany Presbyterian Church to celebrate 200 years in Bridgeville area

Bethany Presbyterian and cemetery along Millers Run Road as it looked in 1839.

Bethany Presbyterian Church, a mainstay in the Bridgeville community, is officially celebrating its 200th anniversary on October 18 with the theme “Blessed to be a Blessing.”

The congregation kicked off the year with in-house activities and also participated in the Bridgeville Memorial Day Parade with a “singing float.” Their annual church picnic was held on Aug. 24 celebrating this milestone.

Upcoming activities include a radio skit on Sept. 21, Heritage Sunday on Oct. 12, a bicentennial celebration dinner and program on Oct. 18, and a special worship service on Oct.19 that will include music by an alumni choir. A book covering the church’s history and each of the 13 pastors who have served is undergoing production.

Their history began in April 1814 when a group of people living in the Millers Run area traveled to the northern panhandle of Virginia to petition the Presbytery of Ohio, which was in session at that time, to establish a congregation. They had already chosen the name Bethany and had boldly purchased land from the Middleswart brothers to build a meetinghouse. Initially successful with the request, they then purchased additional land for a burial ground. By June, however, the pastor of the congregations of Bethel and Lebanon churches raised objections and asked for a reconsideration because several members had left Bethel and were set to join Bethany. After further review by a committee and a site visit, the Presbytery ruled in their favor and Bethany Presbyterian Church was now officially established on October 18, 1814.

By 1816, the first brick meetinghouse was built and the congregation now stood at 40. By 1838 they had 196 members; the tiny church was torn down and a new larger brick building was built at the same site. By 1860, Bethany started a mission in Bridgeville in a wooden chapel, called The Lord’s Barn, built on the site of the present-day church. Rev. Cyrus Braddock held Sabbath services at the Bethany Meeting House in the mornings and at the Bridgeville Chapel in the afternoons. In 1876, a petition was presented to Pittsburgh Presbytery (the former Ohio Presbytery) to organize the Bridgeville group into a congregation. Talks of merging both sites began in 1882 and, on March 31, 1884, the membership of both churches joined to become the Bethany Presbyterian Church of Bridgeville. The burial ground on Millers Run still remains, with the last burial completed in 1946.

In 1914, the church celebrated its bicentennial with a new brick building with a steepled bell tower built in Bridgeville, the old meetinghouse on Millers Run torn down and all the bricks sold for $110. By 1953, a pastorate, an educational wing had been added. In 1968, the present church was built. In 2001, under its twelfth Pastor Rev. Daniel Hrach, following the receipt of the McDivitt Charitable Trust, the congregation purchased additional land for continued expansion and, by 2006, a great room, a chapel, a new Bethany meeting room, additional classrooms, a welcome center, a new bell tower, a new library, offices, and a new kitchen were constructed, doubling the size of the facility.

On Sept. 26, 2010, the Rev. John G. Hamilton, D.M. was installed as the thirteenth pastor. The congregation currently has more than 810 members. The church has many activities and actively support the community with a food bank and preschool. They also hold numerous spiritual and social events.

For more information about anniversary events or the church in general, call 412-221-5132.

Charlotte Smith is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at 724-693-9441 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.