The Howard Pilgrim Holiness Church has quite a history, like all churches have quite a history. We will always want to remember some of the history; the other part, however, we would rather forget. Any history has its ups and downs, its shining stars, and its black outs. We must always learn from history, and we must always cherish history. A lost history is to be a people without hope, direction or purpose.
The Howard Pilgrim Holiness Church had its beginnings in the Highland Pilgrim Holiness Church. This church is still standing and is owned by one of our members. The Highland Church was started in the home of the Haines. Rev. Joe Deihl organized the church with four families. Those four families consisted of the Haines, the Leitches, the Gardners, and the Sayres. Thomas and Catherine Gardner donated the land on which the old church and cemetery were established. This church became known as the Highland Pilgrim Holiness Church.
The first real pastor of the Highland Church was Rev. Russell Gardner. A Rev. William Bloom pastored the church as well. Under the leadership of Rev. Robert C. Detmer, the parsonage was built. It was during this time that the District was going to close the church. The District Superintendent told them they would not get a pastor without a parsonage. Rev. Detmer, who later pastored in the New York District, was pastoring Beech Creek, Pa., and supplying at Highland. Rev. Detmer, together with five members, maintained a vision for the church. They built the parsonage, and the church grew. We owe a lot to those people. One of those members is still living, Sr. Emma Gardner. Rev. Phillips, Rev. Washburn, and Rev. Newton were pastors of the Highland Church. After Rev. Newton left, the church asked Rev. Herbert Fisher to become their pastor. Rev. Fisher pastored the Highland Church for seven years.
The members of the Highland Church left the General Church in 1965. They were unable to keep the old church. Later, it was sold to the father of one of our members. He now has possession of the church. The members began to meet in the old Dutch Reform Church in Romola. They held their first board meeting on July 5,1965, and organized a new church under the name of The Second Blessing Holiness Tabernacle.
A plot of ground was donated by Grace Mann and Pearle McKley. This plot of ground now houses the present church. On August 16, 1965, a board meeting was held, and the donated ground was approved for the church building, the dedication ceremonies and then remained for the first revival in the renovated building. Additional workers were Rev. Frank Finch, Rev. Clifton Berg, and Kenneth Masterman.
Young people were always an intricate part of the church and as the result of this many entered Bible School. Emeline Berg went to the mission field, Kenneth Masterman became an evangelistic singer, Edmund and It was felt that a missionary convention should be held yearly. From the first yearís offering of $13.14 to missions, the giving for this purpose has continued to grow well over the $44,000 mark. Philip Storey entered the ministry, Virginia (Chase) Yauger, a pastorís wife.
The ground breaking service was held on September 11, 1965 at 2:00 p.m. Rev. Herbert Fisher and Evangelist Tomis Kenyon officiated at this service. Construction began in December 1965, the building was first used on October 21, 1966. Rev. Andrew J. Whitney, Conference President of the New York Pilgrim Holiness Church, was at the dedication service of the new church on August 4, 1966.
Friday, June 7, 1968, the church approved the motion from the board to join the New York Pilgrim Holiness Church, Inc. On October 30, 1973, the Board and congregation voted to join the Pine Ridge Camp.
There were three loans taken out for the church: one for $5,000 to finish the church, one for $17,500 to add to the church, and the last one for $35,000 to build the parsonage. All were paid off in good time.
In 1983, Rev. Herbert Fisher retired, after pastoring the Howard Congregation for a total of 25 years: seven years with the General Church and 18 years with the New York Conference.
On May 15, 1983, a trial message was preached by Rev. Donald C. Myers. He became the new pastor on July 20, 1983. He pastored the church for 12 years. While he was pastor, the parsonage was built, and many improvements were made. The loan for the parsonage was paid off in half the time of the loan.
Rev. John A. Whitaker came for a trial sermon on June 4, 1995. He was approved as pastor. On July 17, 1995, Rev. Whitaker and family moved to Howard. Under his ministry a new heating and cooling system was installed, as well as new windows in the church. A mortgage burning service was held on February 23, 1997. Rev. Donald M. Myers, Conference President, Rev. Andrew J. Whitney, former Conference President, and Rev. Herbert Fisher, former pastor were all able to attend. We honored Rev. Fisher and Sr. Emma Gardner for their service to the church.
For almost 100 years, God has led this church step by step. Four families began this church. Five members held on to a vision. Many would not compromise and stepped out in faith to start a new church. Many still remain faithful and true.
We do not know what our future may hold, but we do know who holds our future in the palm of His hand. In God we trust. May God richly bless our future.
Last modified 12/9/00