Lebanon Valley Mennonite Church, located north of Myerstown, Pennsylvania, USA, was the fourth congregation to join Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship (MAMF). The congregation was begun by a number of families from the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite (EPMC) churches in the Lebanon and Berks County area who preferred Mid-Atlantic leadership. The first Sunday service was held 21 October 1979 with approximately 60 people attending. The members voted on several suggestions for a name for the new congregation and chose the name of Lebanon Valley.
The Jacob Dundore Meetinghouse (United Brethren in Christ Church) was located along Route 897, two miles (3.2 km) east of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in the village of Iona. The vacant little red-brick one-room church building (with no basement) was rented as a temporary meeting place for the new congregation. Every Sunday Lester Shirk pulled his camper on site to be used for restrooms, Sunday school rooms, and a nursery. The building was dismantled in 2012 but the adjoining Fairview Cemetery remains to identify the spot where the church once stood.
A building committee was soon formed to consider the options for a larger facility. The congregation continued to meet at the Jacob Dundore Meetinghouse until a new building was constructed on land purchased along Route 501, five miles north of Myerstown. On 8 February 1980, blueprints were finalized for the new building. Over the next several months, the building was erected with Peter Shirk as the general contractor and the help of many volunteers. A dedication service was held on Sunday afternoon, 17 August 1980. The name was retained when the congregation moved from the first location in Lebanon County to the new location just across the line in Berks County.
The Lebanon Valley Christian School was held in the basement of the church for four years until a separate school building was built beside the church in 1984.
Aaron Bowman, bishop from the MAMF Sharon congregation, accepted responsibility for the Lebanon Valley congregation. Lester Shirk, who had been ordained in 1949 at Shirksville Mennonite Church (Lancaster Conference), continued his ministry at Lebanon Valley. On 16 February 1980, James Doutrich was ordained as deacon in the first ordination held at Lebanon Valley. In 1982, James was ordained as minister and Mervin Hoover was ordained to take his place as deacon. On 4 December 1988 James Musser was ordained as minister. When Aaron Bowman retired from his position as bishop, Joseph Rudolph from the MAMF Fairhaven congregation provided bishop oversight.
In February 1993 Joseph Rudolph, James Doutrich, and Mervin Hoover resigned from their positions in the ministry and moved to other states. On 10 March 1993, the Lebanon Valley congregation reorganized with Ivan Weaver from the MAMF Sharon congregation serving as bishop. Dale Schnupp was ordained as minister in 1994 and Donald Hollinger as deacon in 1996. In 2010, Joel Stauffer was ordained as minister to assist Dale Schnupp. James Musser was ordained as bishop in 2012 for the Lebanon Valley congregation.
As of 1 January 2013 the Lebanon Valley congregation had 115 members. James Musser was bishop, Dale Schnupp and Joel Stauffer were ministers, and Donald Hollinger was deacon. Kevin Hurst was ordained as minister on 16 March 2014 to replace Dale Schnupp who retired.
Stauffer, Romaine, ed. Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship 1972-2013. Myerstown, Pa.: Little Mountain Printing, 2014.
Address: 7821 Lancaster Avenue, Myerstown, Pa. 17067
Phone: (717) 933-4411
Denominational Affiliations: Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship
Lebanon Valley Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders
|Date Published||May 2014|
Cite This Article
Stauffer, Romaine. "Lebanon Valley Mennonite Church (Myerstown, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2014. Web. 24 Jan 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lebanon_Valley_Mennonite_Church_(Myerstown,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=123557.
Stauffer, Romaine. (May 2014). Lebanon Valley Mennonite Church (Myerstown, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 January 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lebanon_Valley_Mennonite_Church_(Myerstown,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=123557.
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