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God has been faithful to Bakerstown Alliance Church for over one hundred years and has done remarkable things in our midst.  While we just celebrated the centennial of our building, our congregation can be traced back almost thirty more years.  One has only to search the term “Bakerstown” in the Alliance Weekly magazine to trace a compelling story; a story not of the great deeds of men and women, but a story of the faithfulness of God.  The Alliance Church at Bakerstown began out of the ministry of A.B. Simpson and his “deeper life” conferences in Pittsburgh.  The earliest evidence of an Alliance meeting in Bakerstown comes in an obituary written by E.D. Whiteside about Miss Jennie Reed.  In this account, Miss Reed helped organize a convention held in Pittsburgh in 1887 “for the deepening of the spiritual life” after the testimony of the healing of Miss Mary Morehead.  Whiteside stated,


There Miss Reed saw her privileges as a child of God. She sought and received the Holy Spirit, and was prompt to obey his voice and to witness the light He imparted.  She at once began a personal ministry in her own neighborhood, then secured the assistance of competent teachers to advance the fourfold gospel.  At first meetings were held in her own and other homes, and the in a hall in Bakerstown nearby. [1]


The inception of the Alliance church in Bakerstown grew out of the conviction that we were redeemed in order to become more like God: Christ our Sanctifier.  In the same way that the ministry of healing sparked an interest in Simpson’s deeper life convention in Pittsburgh, the Alliance church in Bakerstown reflected a commitment to this ministry.  In a 1921 report in the Alliance Weekly, pastor P.H. Hyde reported remarkable episodes of Christ’s healing ministry,


Pastor P.Y. [sic] Hyde of Bakerstown, Pa.. reports a series of fruitful tent meetings covering ten weeks in Tarentum. Pa.. which resulted in much blessing, many being saved and healed. The deaf heard, the blind received their sight. crippled limbs were made whole. and others healed of various physical troubles. Others were filled with the Holy Spirit. [2]


Christ manifested Himself as more than a savior through his healing and sanctifying ministry.  Some may read these words as a riff on a Biblical trope that is not meant to be taken literally.  The publication of a specific claim such as “crippled limbs were made whole” suggests that these reports must reflect what actually occurs in the fall of 1921.  Had those in attendance at these meetings read this account and found it inaccurate, it is doubtful it would have gone to press.  This means that Christ showed up in a supernatural way through the ministry of Bakerstown Alliance. 


From Bakerstown’s beginnings, it was evident to others that God would do something special in their midst.  God was busy building His Kingdom and He intended Bakerstown to be a part of this work.  In 1892, the earliest mention of Bakerstown in the Alliance Weekly, the account of the travels of “Brother Farr” into Western Pennsylvania reveal the potential of Bakerstown,


Bakerstown is a promising field. A hearty missionary spirit pervades the people, and already two young men are in the Training College, and others will follow. Bro. Farr was much used at this Convention, as indeed at all the public and social meetings during his trip, making a week of joyful service and sweet fellowship in the Lord. [3]


God had implanted within the people of Bakerstown a burden for building God’s Kingdom throughout the world.  This came through financial assistance, prayer, and even members of their community pursuing training at the fledgling Missionary Training Institute.  This commitment to the Coming King was demonstrated through both global and local activities.  In 1923, the Alliance Weekly records,


Brother W. A. Tenney, who has been connected with the Alliance for many years as evangelist and pastor in different places, tho last one being in Durham, North Carolina. where his health broke down, after resigning and taking a needed rest, did considerable evangelistic work and helping in conventions. Last June he took charge-of the Alliance work in Bakerstown, Pennsylvania, where the Lord Is blessing his labors. On a recent Sunday nine came to the altar. They have a nice brick church, an active membership, and a growing Sunday school. There is also a modern parsonage and the outlook is promising, and the outlook is inspiring in view of the speedy coming of Christ. [4]


Christ showed up as Savior in their midst and added to their number.  Christ as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King has been manifest in the ministry of Bakerstown Alliance church since its inception as early as 1887. 


Even when the faithfulness of God was not recorded in our denominations publications, God has continued His faithfulness.  Bakerstown has been a part of planting other churches (e.g. Grove City) and establishing large-scale ministries such as The Lighthouse.  Many people in the church today have remarkable personal stories about God’s faithfulness.  WHile we are thankful for the blessings God has bestowed on us for over a century, we are more excited about where God is leading us over the next 100 years because "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."  


[1] Whiteside, E.D. “Miss Jennie Reed: An Appreciation” Alliance Weekly. June 24, 1911. P. 197.

[2] Alliance Weekly. October 15, 1921.

[3] Alliance Weekly. November 11, 1892.

[4] Alliance Weekly. December 8, 1923. p. 678.

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