History of Our Church
The first entry in the session minutes of our congregation is dated May 30th, 1857. The congregation was not yet chartered, but services were held and members received. On Saturday, Reverend Conner, the moderator, preached on the verse “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” (Song of Solomon 2:4). Sunday morning the text was “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” (Hebrews 11:17). Services continued that afternoon with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. In those days, worship continued with a service on Monday. The passage for this Monday was John 1:47.
On Sunday, June 21st, 1858, fifty-five dedicated residents with diverse social and economic backgrounds gathered to worship the Lord in Ebenezer Steel’s barn. It was not uncommon for early barn services to be joined by birds, dogs and other animals. Later arrivers— human ones— sat in hay lofts above the rest of the congregation. Little did any of them know that they were building a foundation for what would become Union Presbyterian Church. Construction for the first Union Church building began in 1858. By 1930, more room was needed, so the congregation purchased a schoolhouse and moved it by trucks to the church property.
In the 1950’s, it became increasingly apparent that a new church building would be needed to accommodate the needs of Union’s growing congregation. Ground for the new church was broken on May 19th, 1959, on a 23 acre site across Route 380 from the original church. On January 31st, 1960, the church closed it’s doors with the observance of communion, just as it had begun one hundred years prior. One week later the new church opened, again with the celebration of communion.
On May 20th, 1990, Union Presbyterian Church celebrated a service of dedication for the newly renovated sanctuary. Beginning in 1989, the chancel was completely updated. Choir was moved to the front of the sanctuary along with a new Allen organ. A beautiful new communion table and pulpit was built by Richard Gardner Jr. Mr. Charles Stauffer, with assistance of Mr. James Love designed and constructed the cross. This bronze cross is a replica of the Scottish cross of St. John. It is the largest known cast bronze cross in the United States.
Union Church has served Washington Township and the Murrysville area for over 150 years, and we look forward to continued service to Jesus Christ and to the people of this community for another 150 years or more, if the Lord is willing. As in the past, we attempt to live out our mission to the best of our ability.
Our mission is to serve Jesus Christ, our Lord, by telling the good news of salvation, by proclaiming the grace of God through faith, and by calling all people to respond to Jesus Christ as our only Savior and Lord. Our common prayer is that our church family will be a living instrument of God’s love, welcoming all with caring and understanding. We seek guidance from the Holy Spirit for clarity of our purpose in living out the ever-changing challenge of Christ’s Great Commission. We commit ourselves to work together, and we encourage each other to use our diverse gifts as a testimony to the life, death, resurrection and teachings of Jesus Christ.