Union Valley Mennonite Church (Ulster, Pennsylvania, USA)

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Union Valley Mennonite Church, 2013.
Photo courtesy of Wanita Histand.

The Union Valley Mennonite Church near Rome, Pennsylvania, USA, was established after Arthur and Doris Histand moved into the area from Doyelstown, Pennsylvania. They learned of a small, abandoned church building and began holding services in 1960. The first two-week Summer Bible School was held in August 1961.

An advertisement was placed in the Gospel Herald asking for help in the work. The Harold Sollenberger and Oscar Delp families responded to the call. Anna Grace Horst, a single lady from the Chambersburg area, also moved to Bradford County. Clinton and Mabel Ferster, from Juniata County, helped in many aspects of the work during much of the 1960s.

Arthur Histand was ordained as minister for the small congregation in October 1966. His ordination was held in a neighboring Methodist church as the Union Valley building was in the midst of a major remodeling project. The building project was completed in the following months with the dedication and open house held in May 1967.

Bishop oversight was provided through Lancaster Mennonite Conference, first by Donald Lauver and later by Melvin Kauffman. In the early 1970s, Union Valley decided to discontinue affiliation with the Lancaster Conference. Stanley Beidler, bishop of an unaffiliated Mennonite congregation at Quakertown, Pennsylvania, served as interim bishop until the congregation was affiliated with the Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship (MAMF) in 1980. Newly ordained in 1978, Bishop Aaron Bowman was the first MAMF bishop to serve at Union Valley.

After the death of Arthur Histand on 23 September 1978, Joel Histand and Thomas Comstock were licensed at the end of 1978 and ordained as ministers in 1981. Melvin Weaver was ordained as the first deacon in 1985.

When Bishop Aaron Bowman retired, Bernell Burkholder Sr., bishop of the Fairhaven congregation, agreed to oversee Union Valley. Bernell Burkholder Jr. was ordained as minister in June 2003 and Jeff Hurst was ordained to assist him in August 2006. Steve Groff was ordained as deacon on 11 August 2013, to assist Melvin Weaver who was approaching retirement.

In the early 1970s, a Christian school was started in the church basement with a few children and one teacher. As more families moved into the area, the school slowly grew to 31 students and five teachers in the 2012-13 school year. Two more additions to the church structure in 2001 and 2009 provided more space for both the church and school.

In 2013, Union Valley had 54 members. The ministerial team consisted of Bernell Burkholder Sr. (Fairhaven) bishop; Bernell Burkholder Jr. and Jeff Hurst, ministers; Melvin Weaver and Steve Groff, deacons.


Stauffer, Romaine, ed. Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship 1972-2013. Myerstown, Pa.: Little Mountain Printing, 2014.

Additional Information

Address: 2071 Battle Creek Road, Ulster, Pa. 18850

Phone: 570-247-7470


Denominational Affiliations: Mid-Atlantic Mennonite Fellowship

Union Valley Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders

Ministers Years
of Service
Arthur Histand 1966-1978
Tom Comstock 1978-1987
Joel Histand 1978-1998
Bernell Burkholder Jr. 2003-present
Jeff Hurst 2006-present


Map:Union Valley Mennonite Church (Ulster, Pennsylvania, USA)

Author(s) Romaine Stauffer
Date Published July 2014

Cite This Article

MLA style

Stauffer, Romaine. "Union Valley Mennonite Church (Ulster, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2014. Web. 28 Jan 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Union_Valley_Mennonite_Church_(Ulster,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=123581.

APA style

Stauffer, Romaine. (July 2014). Union Valley Mennonite Church (Ulster, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 January 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Union_Valley_Mennonite_Church_(Ulster,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=123581.

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