A Brief History
For over seventy years, the Emmanuel Wesleyan Church of Gratz, Pennsylvania has served as a light for the gospel of Jesus Christ, a voice for the message of holiness, and a haven where souls find peace and comfort in God. The church began in 1946 when a group of individuals set out on the exciting adventure of establishing an Independent Holiness Church. The group began its meetings in Pillow, PA. A year later a church building was purchased for $5,000 and the congregation relocated to Gratz, PA. The Rev. Errold Yoder served as the first pastor of the Emmanuel Wesleyan Church. He was a good pastor and laid the foundation for a healthy church that would continue to step forward into the future. Since that time, the church has been led by many capable leaders who have established the ministry of the church and have grown it into a vibrant member of the body of Christ. A list of these pastors include the Rev. Paul Pierpoint, Rev. B.L. Bidwell, Rev. M.R. McCrary, Rev. Jack Hooker, Rev. Tim Dotson, Rev. Jonathan Heath, Rev. Daniel Durkee and currently Rev. David Bubb.
A key to the vitality and success that Emmanuel Wesleyan Church has enjoyed over the years has been its unwavering commitment to fulfill the Great Commission. While outreach has always been a part of EWC, 1982 marked the beginning of a bus ministry that revolutionized the impact of the church in the local community. Since that time dedicated members of the congregation have faithfully operated this ministry. Currently, bus routes to the Williamstown and Millersburg areas are in operation. Along with this particular ministry EWC has operated a broad range of ministries that reach young and old alike. These ministries have included youth and children's ministry, a Christian Day School, regular nursing home services, prayer support, annual dramas, and a heavy support of world missions.
In October of 2004 the main phase of the Journey of Faith project was completed. This project was to build a new church auditorium. The project was started in Sept. 2002 under the leadership of Rev. Tim Dotson. As the building project went forward the church body gave their support and truly lived out the campaign slogan, Not equal giving, but equal sacrifice. With the new church auditorium now completed growth of many ministry opportunities has been made possible.
Under the leadership of Rev. Jonathan Heath, Rev. Donald Winter, Rev. Mark Calderon, and Lay-Pastor of Outreach Lester Hoch the expansion of Sunday school rooms and church offices was tackled in the church basement. The fall of 2010 saw the completion and dedication of that worthy project. This is a place were Sunday school classes, children's and teen worship rooms, as well as church and pastor's offices reside. This could not have been possible without the constant flow of volunteers from within the church and community. The Lord has truly blessed the people of Emmanuel Wesleyan Church.
Our prayer is that we will not only enjoy the fruit of physical growth, but that we will reap the fruit of spiritual growth. We must have God's blessing and anointing if we are to be effective in the years to come. May God grant us a spiritual harvest in Gratz, PA!