About the Church of God

The Church of God does not follow any particular creed or formalized doctrine, however, the church celebrates three ordinances - Baptism, Feet Washing, and the Lord's Supper. Theology generally follows the teachings of Jacob Arminius rather than that of John Calvin. We have adopted a set of beliefs common to the member churches (see What We Believe).

Center Bethel is a member of the Allegheny Conference of the Churches of God, main office in Greensburg, Pa. and the Churches of God General Conference, main office and seminary located at Findlay, Ohio. We have established cross-cultural ministries in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Europe, Brazil, Haiti, and Southwest USA (Native American).


History of Center Bethel
A minister, John Winebrenner, of the German Reformed Church, organized the Church of God in 1825 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Winebrenner was troubled by the rigid formality of the German Reformed Church and his subsequent informal Services finally resulted in separation. The heart of Winebrenner's beliefs centered on the Bible rather than a formal catechism. Emphasis was on man being justified by individual faith in Jesus, rather than by works of church law or by works of man's own righteousness. He believed in the free moral agency of man; that man has the free choice to believe in God and in Jesus as Christ and Lord. The first congregation formed at Alverton (then Stonerville) in the year 1839.

As traveling evangelists from the Churches of God toured the area, they held services at the local Mennonite Church. Many of the people at the services were young German folks desiring a more modern worship service in English rather than the traditional German language and so found the style and message of the evangelists appealing. The Alverton church was one of three new congregations established between Scottdale and Ruffs Dale. Later the three churches merged into a single central location at Alverton (Center Bethel). Since that time there are approximately 50 separate congregations in the Western Pennsylvania area.

In 1863 when the new congregations merged, they constructed a building in Alverton that is now the first portion of the present church building. Several additions to this structure have been made over the years, with the most recent being the addition of a large fellowship hall in 1984.













Pastors of Center Bethel:

Jacob M. Domer                                                                        1860 - 1868

Peter Loucks                                                                              1868 - 1870

John Hickernell                                                                         1870 - 1871

Peter Loucks                                                                              1871 - 1873

W. B. Long                                                                                 1873 - 1874

Joseph Grimm                                                                           1874 - 1877

B. F. Bolton                                                                                1877 - 1880

Robert L. Byrnes                                                                       1880 - 1886

W. R. Covert                                                                               1886 - 1890

W. H. McKlveen                                                                        1890 - 1892

Robert L. Byrnes                                                                      1892 - 1898

W. J. Umstead                                                                            1898 - 1906

William H. Guyer                                                                       1906 - 1912

H. R. Lobb                                                                                  1912 - 1918

Anna Edwards (Hoverter)                                                        1918 - 1930

Eugene K. Eakin                                                                        1930 - 1934

Arthur E. Eakin                                                                         1934 - 1943

Harold S. Kinard                                                                        1943 - 1948

Lester P. Thornton                                                                    1948 - 1952

J. Arnold Berg                                                                            1952 - 1956

John L. Woods                                                                          1956 - 1959

William D. Rodahaver                                                              1959 - 1979

Richard W. Daniels                                                                   1980 - 1981

J. ArnoId Berg                                                                            1981 - 1983

Fred J. Landolt                                                                          1983 - 1988

J. Arnold Berg                                                                            1988 - 1988

Robert W. Douglas                                                                   1989 - 1992

Wendell S. Grimm (Interim Pastor, 5 months)                      1993 - 1993

Robert Allison                                                                          1993 - 1997

Johnny Pennington                                                                 1997 - 2000

WendeII S. Grimm                                                                   2000 - 2002

Lee D. Kline                                                                            2003 - 2008

Donald R. Engelhardt                                                            2009 - 2011

Frederick L. Bauer (Interim Pastor)                                      2011 - 2012

Lee D. Kline                                                                           2012 -

“...The congregation of this church was organized in 1841, in which year was erected in Bethany a frame church edifice, now used as a cooper’s shop.  Its first pastor was Rev. Joseph A. Dobson.  In 1863 the congregation abandoned the old meeting-house in Bethany and erected a commodious brick church in Stonersville. (Alverton) Here its first pastor in the new edifice was Rev. Jacob A. Dohmer…”
“…The congregation is very large and flourishing, with an excellent Sunday-school.  The first two pastors at the old meeting-house in Bethany were John and Thomas H. Hickernell...”

--excerpt from History of the County of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania : With Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men. / Edited by George Dallas Albert. 1882. Philadelphia : L.H. Everts & Co., 1882. pg. 764  https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009809791

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