CHURCH OF GOD
The Rev. W.R. Weaver, in
his brief historical sketch of the Windsor Church of God, located in Windsor
Township, York County, near Windsor, PA, traces the history of the Church to
1858 in the following words of his presentation compiled in 1938.
“The Church of God at this place owes it’s origin to Rev.
Jacob Keller, an able and earnest minister of the Eastern Pennsylvania
Eldership (now Conference) of the Churches of God, who began missionary work
here in the Summer of 1858, meeting for organization at the home of one Daniel
“The first services were conducted in this home. Some of the first members were: Daniel Holtzinger, Godlove
Barley, George Aughenbaugh, Lydia Holtzinger, Catherine Manges, Leah Holtzinger, and Henry
“All the preaching was in German. This little band of believers was faithful in
serving the Lord; teaching the Word of God; and observing the ordinances,
Baptism by Immersion, Feet Washing and the Lord’s Supper.
“Just when this small organization was planning to build
a Bethel, the Civil War broke out, and many of our strongest men were called to
war to settle the issue on the field of conflict, Rev. Jacob Keller, the
pastor, that brave and true man of God giving his life in action on the
“The little church almost died out during the war, but in
1865, Rev. J.M. Busch and Rev. J.F. Weishampel held revival meetings in this
community and the church was revived and reorganized. There was a steady growth
and in the year 1876 a Bethel was built.”
The seal of the Windsor
Church of God shows an incorporation date of 1861, which would seem to indicate
that the Windsor Church of God , even in that early time showed promise of
becoming a strong Church. Much of the
history of the Church from 1860 to 1868 was not recorded or was lost.
The following is taken
from a record of Rev. J.F. Weishample dated March 27, 1868:
“Following a visit from Washington Boro, Lancaster
County, I came to Brother Holtzinger’s home where Rev. J.M. Busch had been
conducting meetings with much success. I preached in the neighborhood several
nights and over the Sabbath and left after a number of persons were added to
the church which is known as South York Mission which now numbers about twenty
On July 1, 1876, an
article appeared in the Lancaster paper by Rev. Weishample:
“The weak dutch Church of
God in Windsor is now engaged in building a House of Worship and asks for
aid. We bid our readers to send them
contributions, they are Germans, poor and few in number, but strong champions
of the faith and the German interests."
This Church Building (the first House of Worship erected
by the Congregation) was built of native stone, and was used continuously by
the Windsor congregation until the Second House of Worship (the one now in use)
was built in the Summer of 1954 and the early part of 1955. It was Dedicated in May of 1955.
The Church of God at Windsor organized it’s first Bible
School (Sunday School) on the 9th of May 1880. The following officers were elected: W.W. Liebhart,
Superintendent; D.K. Ruby, Assistant Superintendent; Jacob W. Kraft, Secretary;
Miss Mary Baker and Edward Clemens, Librarians; Peter Baker, Treasurer.
Rev. O.J. Farling was appointed to Windsor Circuit in
1887 and, in 1888, he organized a church at Vander Avenue, York and the Mount
Olivet Church. In the year 1926, by request of the Windsor Church, the
boundaries were changed and Windsor became a separate charge. Rev. Eli Howard remained at Vander Avenue,
York and Rev. C.W. Peters became the pastor at Windsor.
In the year 1927, the Windsor Church bought a parsonage
at 22 North Penn Street in Windsor, PA. The church experienced steady growth.
It was during the pastorate of Rev. W.R. Weaver and due
to his insistence that a Church Building Fund for the erection of a New House
of Worship was established. That
Building Fund grew to the point that on May 30, 1954 ground was broken, and on
July 1 1954 the Cornerstone laying ceremony for the building of the New House
of Worship was held. The work progressed
steadily during the summer of 1954 and the House of Worship was Dedicated to
the Glory of God on May 1, 1955. The newspaper article which announced the
event read as follows:
“Windsor Church of God, organized 95 years ago, will
dedicate it’s new bethel, built adjacent to the old one (formerly Holtzinger’s
Church of God), several miles North of Windsor, Sunday afternoon.
“The new brick building, 74 by 54 feet in dimension, is
valued at $85,000 according to church officials. Much of the construction work has been done
by men of the 142 member congregation.
Ground was broken May 30, 1954, and the cornerstone laid July 1, 1954.
“Three services on Sunday will open the week-long
dedication ceremonies. Rev. Dr. C.H.
Lefever, pastor of West Poplar St. Church of God, York, will bring the message
at the 2 P.M. Dedication Service. Howard
and Nancy Glatfelter will sing some duets at the service.
“Rev. G.F. Broske, pastor of the congregation since 1950,
will preach the first sermon in the new bethel during the 10 A.M. Worship
service. There will be duets by Gladys
Frey and Elsie Strickler, also by Vada Hilt and Charles Baker. The 7:30 P.M. service, Rev. Dr. Roy
Schreiner, Harrisburg, Editor of the Church Advocate, will bring the message
and the Friendly Four will sing.
“Other services scheduled are: Tuesday, Rev. C.W. Peters,
York, Pastor from 1926 to 1930. Music by
Mr. And Mrs. Herman Smith, also by Maxine Runkle, accordionist. Wednesday, Rev.
J.E. Strine, Carlisle, music by Mr. And Mrs. Austin Wright. Thursday, Rev. H.E. Wagner, Jr., Roaring
Springs, PA, pastor from 1938 to 1940. Music by the Chapel Four also by
accordionist Patsy Shaw and Faye Miller.
Friday, Rev. J.D. Ensminger, Harrisburg, pastor from 1940 to 1950. Music by a ladies’ trio from Chapel E.U.B.
Church also by Fred Shaw accordionist.
“The Building Committee was composed of these Church
Councilmen: Charles Loyd, Lester Neff and Theodore Hilt, Elders; Harry Runkle
and Harry Gohn, Life Elders; Wilbert Loyd, Elias Frey, Eugene Hilt and Hannigan
Frey, Deacons, and Jacob Runkle, Building Fund Treasurer.
“Enrollment of the Sunday School is 177.”
At the time of that
Dedication Sunday in 1955, the Sunday School was presided over by Mr. Charles
Loyd, Sunday School Superintendent.
Other officers were Mr. Lester Neff, Ass’t. Supt.; Frederick
Flinchbaugh, Secretary; Barry Miller, Ass’t Sec.; Edna Poff, Treasurer and
Jacob Runkle, Building Fund Treasurer.
The Sunday School attendance was 203 and the Offering was $49.12. Teachers in the Sunday School were Harry
Gohn, Preston Mundis, Eva Smith, Charles Kinard, Lester Neff, Charles Loyd,
Gerald Herman, Eugene Hilt, Clara Loyd, Freda Hilt and Miriam Warner.
Shortly after the congregation occupied the New Church
Sanctuary, the first House of Worship was demolished and the stones therein
were used to form the foundation (the base) for the Church parking lot.
The story of this Church reminds one of reading in the
Book of the prophet Nehemiah (chapter 4 verse 6): “So we built the wall and all
the wall was joined together. . . etc. . . .FOR THE PEOPLE HAD A MIND TO
WORK.” The mortgage burning service for
the New House of Worship was held on July 20, 1958.
A fund to build a parsonage adjacent to the New Church
was begun following the paying of the total indebtedness of the Church. The new parsonage, a ranch type home of
eleven rooms on the main floor, with full basement, which included a large area
for social gatherings and a one care garage, etc. was built and dedicated on
December 6, 1959. The plans for the new
parsonage were drawn up by Brother Wilbert Loyd, assisted by Roy Filmore, the
builder. The parsonage was paid in full
September 13, 1963.
In 1974, the Church parking lot was enlarged. By 1979, plans were made to enlarge the
parking area still further which was accomplished by paving an area to the rear
of the church. The lot can now accommodate 80 cars.
A new lighting system was placed in the Church Sanctuary
with all the fixtures being presented by various members. The folding curtains separating two class
rooms from the Church sanctuary were replaced by more sound-proof folding
dividers in early 1978.
Between 1974 and 1979, four men of the church dedicated
themselves to the preaching of the Gospel: John Baker who studied at Washington
Bible College; Richard E. Smith who pursued the Conference Course of studies;
Michael Walker who studied at Findlay College, Findlay, Ohio and Dr. Richard D.
Smith who planned to enter Winebrenner Seminary, Findlay, Ohio in September of
In that same time period, eighty-three new members were
received into the church bringing the membership in 1979 (after losses by
death, etc.) to an even 200. Fifty
persons followed the Lord in Christian Baptism during that same period. The
Sunday School enrollment showed 224.
The Fiftieth Anniversary
of the new Church building was held as a “Homecoming and Anniversary
Celebration” on Sunday, October 24, 2004 at 9:00 AM. The morning service held
messages from Rev. William Smith, the presiding Pastor, and former pastor Rev.
Russell Aults. A video of the construction of the new church was narrated by
New Tribes Missionary, David Hilt who had grown up in the Windsor Church of
A luncheon was served in
the Parsonage Social Room after the Morning Worship Service. The menu was soups and sandwiches along with
an Anniversary cake and drinks.
An afternoon service was
held at 2:00 PM with messages and remarks from former pastor, Rev. Preston
Lucas; Dr. Michael Walker, pastor of Bowmansdale Church of God; David Hilt and
Pastor William Smith. A second video was
shown, different from the morning’s video, showing the construction of the new
church. It was a time of remembrance of people and happenings over the years
which was aided by Memorabilia Displays containing photos in the Vestibule and
Downstairs. Memories were also jogged by “Remember When. . . “ remarks by Vada
Himes in the AM service and by Norva Junkins in the afternoon service.
The following is a list of
pastors who served the Windsor Church since it’s founding. Those named from 1926 until the present are
those who have served since it became a station.
Jacob Keller 1858-1865
J.M. Busch 1865-1868
Rev. J.F. Fleegal 1908-1909
John Sherborne 1869-1870
Rev. C.D. Rishel 1909-1912
S.C. Stonesifer 1870-1872
Rev. C. Carmichael 1912-1913
H.C. Hockenberger 1872-1875
Rev. G.H. Knox 1913-1914
Rev. L.H. Eckart 1914-1916
Rev. W.H. Shade 1916-1925
Rev. Eli Howard 1925-1926
H.W. Long 1879-1882
Rev. C.W. Peters 1926-1930
Rev. W.R. Weaver 1930-1938
S.E. Herman 1884-1885
Rev. H.E. Wagner,
H.C. Banzhoff 1885-1887
J.D. Ensminger 1940-1950
O.J. Farling 1887-1891
Rev. G.F. Broske 1950-1964
J.H. Martin 1891-1901
Rev. Russell Aults 1964-1974
S.E. Kline 1901-1902
Rev. Preston Lucas 1974-1982
H.W. Long 1902-1904
Rev. William C.
Anthony Zumbo 2005-