It was 1767, and a renewal movement was sweeping through the colonies. Back then, Christians would gather in what they called “Great Meetings.” Several hundred people from all over might spend several days hearing a string of stirring speakers.
Isaac Long hosted a Great Meeting at his big barn in Lancaster, Pa. Martin Boehm, a Mennonite preacher, told his story of becoming a Christian and a minister. It deeply moved William Otterbein, a German Reformed pastor. Otterbein left his seat, embraced Boehm, and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “We are brethren.”
Otterbein and Boehm realized that, despite their many differences, they agreed on the basics of the faith. These were the perfect guys to head a faith community which united diverse people from many backgrounds around the essentials of the faith. Out of this revival movement came a new denomination, and it took its name from Otterbein’s words: United Brethren in Christ.
The movement included churches in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. The movement spread west, into Ohio, Indiana, and on to Oregon. Circuit-riding preachers, on horseback, carried the Gospel from community to community, organizing churches and doing whatever they could to tell people about Christ. They served at great sacrifice. And the church grew rapidly under their leadership.
By 1889, the United Brethren church had grown to over 200,000 members. It had six bishops, churches from coast to coast, and a full-blown denominational structure. But trouble was brewing. The movement which had always celebrated unity amidst diversity came unglued. When the dust had settled, one bishop and about 10,000 people found themselves starting over. Mount Pleasant Church was part of that rebirth.
That same year, a small group of farm families began gathering for worship in the brick schoolhouse (at the corner of Black Gap and Mount Pleasant roads), called Sharp School. Our ancestors were people of great faith, prayer, vision and determination. In the spring of 1892, ground was broken for a new church building across the street from our present location (on the corner of the cemetery). On September 18, 1892, the church was dedicated to the glory of God.
Over the years, the ‘White Church’ was expanded several times as the congregation continued to grow. By the early 1960’s, it became clear that God’s plans for Mount Pleasant required a new and larger facility. We decided to hold high the torch of faith to future generations as the past generations had faithfully held the torch of faith for us. So, in 1963, the present sanctuary building became our home.
Since then, multiple additions (multi-purpose room, modular classrooms & educational wing) and renovations have been necessary to provide for the needs of expanding ministry. But our focus has never been on ourselves. Rather, it has been responding to God’s call to build His Kingdom which has guided our steps.
Along the way, investing in missions has been part of our DNA as a congregation. We have been privileged to see God raise up pastors, missionaries and other Christian leaders from among our people. And we’ve been blessed to partner with missionaries and agencies around the globe as we look for every opportunity to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Today, as in the past, Mount Pleasant Church continues to make disciples who make a difference. We remain people of faith, prayer, vision and determination. And we’re convinced that the future God has for us is greater than any story of our past.