On July 1, 2004, the former Saint John’s and the former Newberry congregations merged to form Saint John’s – Newberry United Methodist Church. This completed months of negotiations together. Pastor Kraig Faust served as pastor of the merged congregations. The former Newberry Church building was kept. Later, a community center was organized – now known as the West End Christian Community Center (WECCC).
Here is a brief history of the two former congregations:
NEWBERRY – In 1854, Newberry opened it’s doors at the corner of Diamond and West Fourth Street as the Methodist Society. In May, 1855 Newberry was incorporated as the Newberry Methodist Episcopal Church.
NEWBERRY – In 1868, the Newberry Methodist Episcopal Church had enough money to hire a full-time pastor. The church built a parsonage next to the church.
SAINT JOHN’S – In April of 1871, with the help of Reverend George Hunter, pastor of First Evangelical Church of Williamsport, Saint John’s was started as the Newberry Mission of the Evangelical Association at 1025-27 Race Street. The Sunday School was started five years later. Last services were held in this building in the fall of 1894. The building still stands today.
NEWBERRY – Only July 4, 1898, the old church was torn down and a new structure was completed for dedication by September 3, 1899.
NEWBERRY – In 1916, a new parsonage was built with access from the church pastor’s study.
SAINT JOHN’S – From October 13, 1894, to December 6, 1895, the church worshiped in Central Hall on Arch Street while a new church was being built. Dedication was October 27, 1895. The church was on the corner of Funston Avenue and Newberry Street.
SAINT JOHN’S – From 1908 – 1922, the church was Saint John’s United Evangelical Church of Williamsport. From 1922-1946 the church was known as Saint John’s Evangelical Church.
SAINT JOHN’S – In 1908, an addition was built to this church. The pipe organ was installed in 1917 and rebuilt in 1953, it is the organ we use in our church today.
SAINT JOHN’S – A children’s unit was dedicated on January 12, 1936.
SAINT JOHN’S – During 1946, the Evangelical and United Brethren Churches merged and the church became Saint John’s Evangelical United Brethren.
SAINT JOHN’S – From 1961 to 1964, additional properties were purchased until the land on which to build a new facility was a fraction less than three acres. Services were held in this church until 1966 when we moved to the Fellowship Hall for worship since the old building had to be razed to finish the new church. Dedication of the present church was September 24, 1966.
NEWBERRY – On June 6, 1965, a portion of the sanctuary ceiling gave way during a worship service. No one was injured and it cost $23,000 to reinforce the ceiling.
SAINT JOHN’S – During 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist Churches merged and our church became Saint John’s United Methodist Church.
SAINT JOHN’S – Since then new property has been purchased so that in the future we will be able to expand. In 1992, part of this land was made into a parking area, thus doubling our paved parking space.
SAINT JOHN’S – In 2003, Saint John’s raised the Children’s Unit and constructed a new ground floor Sunday School and Music Room complex completing a square walkway around an outdoor children’s play center.