WELLAND, ONTARIO, CANADA
The conception of the Pilgrim Holiness Church of Welland began in 1982, in a now retired church that Bro. Lewis Byer felt led of the Lord to open, and pastor a group of believers in the Abington community. Some traveled miles; among them was part of our group that now make up the Welland Church.
Later Bro. Lewis Byer was instrumental in assisting a group of believers in renting the former Seventh Day Adventist church in Welland, located at the corner of Fitch Street and Wilson Road. Beginning in 1984 Bro. Byer felt led of the Lord to serve as pastor for one and a half years at this location.
In 1985 Bro. Ronald Packham came to shepherd our flock and remained until July 3, 1987. During this time our small congregation felt it best for the preservation of the congregation, to become affiliated with a larger body of believers, and sought for a conservative Holiness group who would supply this need. Arrangements were made for the Pilgrim Holiness Church of NY Conference President, Rev. Andrew Whitney, and Bro. Larry Major, then pastoring at the Pilgrim Holiness Church in Tonawanda NY, to meet with us explaining their doctrine, answering questions regarding the same.
A revival meeting took place January 3 to 11, 1987 with Rev. Orlow Webb serving as evangelist. In the midst of these services, January 10, 1987 we became an organized church and part of the body of Christ known as the Pilgrim Holiness Church of Welland, with nine charter members. Our first Board Meeting dates back to February 26, 1987 with the first member receiving the right hand of fellowship March 1,1987. To God be the Glory, Great things He hath done.
As sheep without a shepherd, the Tonawanda congregation shared their pastor Rev. Larry Major with us; therefore, July 30, 1987 Bro. Major and family began ministering Sunday afternoons and Thursday evening Prayer Meetings.
During Bro. Majorís ministry, Missions, an Outreach plan and a Church Building Fund were established. October 26, 1987 marked the first building fund deposit of $120. Less than one month later, by November 20, 1987 the total had reached $1,070. Our small group had a vision; God blessed the vision when eight years later this nucleus of believers were worshipping in their own church.
By June 11, 1988 it was evident a new place of worship was needed since the Seventh Day Adventist Church had been condemned due to a deteriorating foundation; thus we had no building to worship in. Rev. Whitney and Rev. Major came to Welland to view the possibility of renting a place on Rice Road. During the time without our place of worship, the treasurer of our group continued to pay his tithes each month.
After a period of several months, we were again able to worship together as a body of believers when the Lord answered prayer, and Rev. Hyndman and congregation of the Ricelawn Free Methodist Church graciously gave us permission to worship Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings in their basement for $100 a month.
February 11, 1989, marked the re-opening of the Pilgrim Holiness Church of Welland with three adults in attendance. Members met January 28, 1992 at the Tonawanda church with the Conference President Rev. Donald Myers. He advised us of the importance of looking for a building suitable for worship. However, we continued our worship services at Rice Road until November 19, 1995 during which time our congregation grew.
Our small group felt blessed having a place of worship; and there were manifestations of the Holy Spiritís presence when it necessitated a piano bench be used as an altar.
On one occasion, due to the pastor failing to have his church keys, entry into the church was impossible. Upon a suggestion the prayer meeting was held in the pastorís van by adjusting the seats. It proves God meets with the two or three where they have gathered in His Name.
Due to a call in another part of Godís vineyard, Rev. Major terminated his position as pastor June 7, 1993.
July 19, 1993 pastor Ronald Robison with his wife and family came to minister to us. During his ministry, plans were made for spring and fall revivals. The first was held April 18 to 24, 1994 in the Conference Room of the Best Western Motel, since we were unable to hold revival meetings in the Ricelawn Free Methodist Church. Rev. Myers, Rev. Sams and Pastor Robison were most faithful in endeavoring to locate a building suitable for worship. Pastor Robison concluded his ministry in Welland in July 1995.
On several occasions, in the absence of our pastor, Rev. Laverne Housser was called upon to fill our pulpit. In June 1995 our secretary contacted Bro. and Sr. Housser regarding their willingness to come and serve our congregation. A few days prior to being contacted, Bro. Housser testifies that the Holy Spirit had been talking to him concerning accepting a pastorate. During the July Niagara campmeeting the answer was positive.
July 23, 1995 Bro. and Sr. Housser took on the responsibility of shepherding our congregation each Sunday afternoon and every other mid-week service. One year later, in 1996, Rev. Housser became our full time pastor.
In July 1995 our secretary learned that the ďWelland Church of ChristĒ was to be sold. On the advice of Rev. Donald Myers, Rev. Clair Sams and Rev. Paul Case, Sr., negotiations began with Mr. Garner, their trustee.
$120,000 was felt a suitable price which included musical instruments and all contents; but, since it would be used as a worship center, Mr. Garner would consider $100,000. A number in our congregation felt led of the Lord to make an offer of $80,000. Our offer was accepted. A milestone was reached: November 24, 1995, transactions were closed, church keys officially turned over. Two days later we were in our church, singing praises to our Victorious Saviour. Two Sunday services had become a reality.
A special service on April 14, 1996 proved to be a highlight in the life of our congregation when Rev. Donald Myers was in charge of a Dedication Service, to a near capacity filled church. To God be the Glory.
Last modified 12/9/00