History

The History of East Fairview Church of the Brethren:

The Church of the Brethren originated in Schwarzenau, Germany, in the year 1708, when eight persons covenanted their faith in God by engaging in the rite of Trine Immersion baptism in the Eder River.  Choosing Alexander Mack as their leader, these pietists moved forward in their New Testament faith to face bitter persecution.  After encountering so much hostility in Europe, they chose the challenge and opportunities of the New World.  With Peter Becker as their leader, a group of 120 persons endured the horrors of an ocean voyage and landed in Germantown (Philadelphia) in the year 1719.

Pioneering westward through the Conestoga Valley, the Brethren extended their mission and influence.  In 1772, the White Oak group became the first organization of Brethren in this area.  In 1868, part of this White Oak territory organized as the Chiques Congregation.  In 1902, the Chiques Church divided into four separate congregations: Chiques, Elizabethtown, West Green Tree, and East Fairview.

Prior to the organization of our present congregations, steps were taken at a council meeting in the Elizabethtown Church, March 13, 1893, to build a church at some point east of the original Chiques Church.  Consequently, a committee composed of seven deacons decided on a plot of ground consisting of two acres donated by William Nauman.  In 1894, a frame structure 50′ by 70′ by 14′ was erected at a cost of $3000.00.  This building was known as East Fairview.

On June 9, 1902, our congregation was organized with a membership of 125.  Elder Hiram Gibble was elected Elder-in-Charge.  Other ministers were Charles C. Maderia and Samuel B. Fahnestock.  The first deacons elected were Henry B. Gibble and John B. Brubaker.

Early in 1967, The Church Council, upon encouragement by the presently serving local committee, voted to take steps to institute a pastoral program for the congregation.  A pastoral committee was elected.  As a result of the diligent work of the pastoral committee, a pastor was secured for the congregation in the person of Glenn E. Kinsel who began his ministry as the first pastor of the congregation September 1, 1967.

The original frame building stood without any significant alteration until 1949, at which time the building was encased with brick siding and extensive improvements and additions were made.  In 1959, the congregation, having experienced a marked growth, embarked on another building program.  A large and well equipped Christian Education Building was added.

In 1985, the congregation began planning for future growth which culminated in the “Pursuit Of A Vision” campaign.  Approximately 12 acres of land was purchased from John Peters and a pavilion and softball field were added.  Then, in 1994, the first phase of “The Vision” was finished with the completion of a new fellowship hall and kitchen facility.  In 2005, an extensive improvement was made erecting a spacious narthex for fellowship.  The lower level was remodeled to include additional classrooms, a café, and a serving kitchen.

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