1852 to 1881
1881 to 1955
The History of Central Christian church was written by LeRoy Chisholm, pictured here with his wife Marian
1955 to present
In 2018, Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Hermitage, PA will celebrate 190 years of ministry in the Shenango Valley. In fact, our congregation is one of the oldest in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), in which it can trace its roots back to Walter Scott, premier evangelist for the denomination. In the history of this church, first written by Leroy Chisholm for the church’s 150th anniversary, he said “the history of a church is a history of its people."
And so it was, that after a long study of God’s word, Alexander Campbell (one of our denominational founders), concluded that the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ would be better served by a return to the worship of the New Testament church. That is, a simple service of scripture, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, preaching, and the singing of hymns. Also, having no creeds and using the good confession as an unhindered entry into the family of God was vitally important.
Campbell’s theology spread rapidly through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee. In 1828 an invitation was extended by the Baptist Church in Sharon, PA to Walter Scott and Adamson Bentley to come to Sharon and preach. They accepted and made the trip from Warren, Ohio. After a period of preaching, Bentley returned to Warren and Scott continued for three more weeks, and many were converted to Campbell’s way of thinking.
After Scott left, the Baptist Church decided that the new converts who had been baptized upon their simple confession of faith and belief in Jesus as the Son of God, had not appeared before the church or committee to be questioned as to their worthiness and then voted upon. The church insisted on their recognition of the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. But the converts and many of the Baptists sympathetic with them said, “if the Lord has accepted them, then the church should not reject them.” This brought on contention and bitterness and soon eleven (11) of the sympathizers were excluded from worship. Thomas Campbell was called to settle the differences. He worked for three weeks – all in vain.
After Campbell’s attempt to reconcile the differences failed, another attempt was made before the June Congregational Meeting. However, when the people met there was a banner on the church door saying, “let no Campbellite cross this threshold.” Even after this harsh statement the people made another attempt to reconcile. After this was rejected, thirty-three (33) of the people met on the following Monday just northwest of the present State Street Bridge under the trees on the grassy banks of the Shenango River. There they organized a Disciple of Christ church – Our Church. George McLeery was named Elder, John McLeery and Bashara Hull, Deacons. Others began coming until a hundred or more were members.
This new group of Christians met in Daniel Budd’s barn, private homes, an old log cabin on the east bank of the river, and under trees weather permitting, much like the early biblical disciples. From 1830 to 1836 they met in Jesse Hoagland’s shop south of State Street. In 1836, the shop was sold. Until 1840, they returned to private homes, school houses, and under trees. In 1840, a frame church was built on Bashara Hull’s farm in what is now North Sharon. In a few years this proved to be a mistake to have built so far from town.
In 1850 a small brick church, 40 feet by 50 feet, was built at the corner of Railroad and Silver Streets in Sharon for a total cost of $1926.76. Here they worshiped until October, 1881, when they purchased the Presbyterian Church at Vine and Pitt Streets in Sharon. They worshiped there until 1955 when the last service was held on January 2, 1955.
On January 9, 1955, the first service was held at the new church property on Meadowbrook Road in Hermitage, where the congregation continues to worship today.
The church has been capably served by many pastors through its 189 years, and presently Associate Pastor Lew Voisey serving as minister.
We are blessed with a beautiful building and a caring pastor here at Central Christian Church and look forward growing together through Christ.