History Of Trinity
History Of Trinity
The History of Trinity BFC
Trinity Bible Fellowship Church was originally part of an Evangelical Mennonite Ministry that began in Fleetwood in 1869. The denominational name was changed in 1879 to Evangelical United Mennonite, in 1883 to Mennonite Brethren in Christ and in 1959 to Bible Fellowship Church. Meetings in Blandon were held, beginning in 1884 under the Rev. W. B. Musselman. Pastors S. H. Frey and O. S. Bitting held meetings in Blandon from 1885 to 1888. The Rev. C. H. Brunner held meetings in Blandon during 1897 and the Rev. J. G. Shireman held summer meetings during 1888.
The first church building, which developed into Trinity BFC was dedicated on January 15, 1899. The total cost of the construction was $600. Over a period of years the building was enlarged and basement space secured by dedicated men digging by hand. A large reflector chandelier, which illuminated the original building, was replaced by electric lighting. The organ and piano were augmented with overhead projectors, while a motion picture projector was replaced by VCR capability. Discussion about the need for a new building began as early as 1967, though a building committee was not established until the latter half of the 1980’s. The present property, owned by Mr. and Mrs. George Barrell, was investigated for purchase. At that time, the price was felt to be too high. In 1982 and 1983 a large number of properties were examined. On January 17, 1984 the elders and deacons went to the Barrell’s property and in prayer claimed it for the Lord. Mr. Barrell, however, was not ready to sell. Then, on June 29, 1987, the land was purchased. The building committee was appointed in January of 1988. Payments for the land were completed on March 29, 19879 and the congregation voted to build on September of 1990. On October 1, 1990 the pastor felt called to leave Trinity for another charge. The question that now loomed before the Elder Board was, “Do we begin the building phase of the project without a pastor?” After much prayer, the elders and congregation felt led of God to forge ahead and finish the building for the glory of God.
Ground was broken for the present building, May of 1991. Built largely by Horst Construction Company, the first services were held in the new building on November 24, 1991. The building was dedicated on January 12, 1992. On the very same Sunday, Trinity received her new Pastor, Reverend Carl J. Fischer, Jr. Pastor Fischer was formally installed as the pastor of Trinity in a service of installation on Sunday, January 26, 1992.
The building, at this point, had only the foyer and the Christian Education space completed. Worship was held in the large foyer/fellowship hall/Sunday school room. There yet remained a large unfinished 300 plus seat sanctuary to complete before it could be used.
After the original church building on Chestnut Street was sold in February of 1992, the elders and congregation unanimously decided to begin construction to finish the sanctuary. The word was completed and the first service was held Sunday, August 23, 1992. On October 4 the sanctuary was dedicated for the use of the church to bring honor and glory to God. In two short years the Lord grew Trinity’s church family. We now had a building that was too small with regard to classroom space. In 1994, a committee began to look toward expansion.
The Lord was gracious and in 1996 we dedicated the new Christian Education wing. During 1999, the Lord brought Pastor Thomas Wiley to assist Pastor Fischer. Pastor Wiley retired in 2006. We also saw the need to add a church secretary to our staff and Brenda Manwiller is currently serving. During 2002, the Lord brought to us Tom Post, Jr., as our youth pastor. Pastor Tom has a deep desire to teach our youth the Word of God and to have them grow so that they too can be witnesses for Christ.
In 2007 we had a transition of leadership. Pastor Fischer felt called to go to Grace BFC in Nazareth on April 29, 2007 and Pastor Tom left July 8, 2007 to follow God’s calling. Pastor Alan Miller joined the staff at Trinity as Senior Pastor on September 23. 2007. We welcomed Pastor Alan, his wife Nancy and their children still at home: Anna, Abby and Nate. We welcomed Jordan Eyster and his wife, Amanda to our team as youth leader on June 1, 2008, then Associate Pastor in 2013. During this time, they had a daughter, Zoey and a son, Samuel.
Pastor John Vandegriff joined our pastoral staff in 2014 with an intense desire to serve God’s people here in Blandon both within and without the walls of this facility through his gift of teaching and one-on-one counseling. Along with his wife Ruthie, John leads our seniors in the Prime Time group.
Brenda was called Home to the Lord on July 30, 2014 after serving us well for 14 years. In August 2014, Carmen Valencia and Deb Mills joined the staff sharing the secretarial responsibilities.
During 2015, our Associate Pastor Jordan Eyster felt called to leave Trinity to do Collegiate Outreach with DiscipleMakers. The Lord also called Home our Senior Pastor Alan Miller on May 11th, after lovingly guiding His flock here for 8 years.
At the beginning of 2016, Pastor John Vandegriff became our Associate Pastor. Mark Vojtasek was also added to our staff as Director of Worship and Technology.
On March 1st, Pastor Dan Williams was called as our Senior Pastor. Along with his wife Laurie, and their three children Gabbie, Luke and Jonah moved to Blandon after having served almost eight years as a BFC senior pastor in Woodbury Heights, NJ.
As we seek God’s guidance for the future of Trinity together with our new team, we are confident it shall be found in serving the Lord Jesus Christ by building up the saints and by reaching out to our community and the world with the life giving and life changing message of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Trininity BFC Church Building History
Home of Trinity (Download Slides)
Trinity Bible Fellowship Church, formerly located at 415 Chestnut Street in Blandon, Pennsylvania began using their new facilities at 220 Main Street in Blandon, Pennsylvania on November 24, 1991.
Trinity has been worshipping in Blandon since 1899. Begun in a gospel tabernacle (tent) under the ministry of Rev. John G Shireman, the church was organized as the Mennonite Brethren in Christ. In the fall of that year, land and lumber were donated to construct the Church’s first permanent home. Some years later the basement of the church was hand dug by church members. In 1953, the church went through a major remodeling, and in 1962 an education wing was added to the rear of the church, doubling its size. The “Little White Church” as we were commonly referred to in town, continued to fill its building to capacity several times over the years, indicating a real need to expand. Since the building was filled and no more land was available to expand, relocating was the only available option.
A committee was appointed to begin the search for land in May of 1972. Over the next four years many parcels were evaluated, with the best property located on Main Street in Blandon, Pennsylvania. The price tag for the property was felt to be too high and the committee became dormant. In 1983, the revitalized committee began the search once again. The end result was the same, the Main Street property, but now it was not for sale. After much prayer we felt this was the land the Lord wanted us to have. So the Elders and Deacons went to the property, stood on it, claimed it for the Lord and then asked Him to provide it. June 1987, our prayer was answered, and we purchased the nearly twelve acre plot at 220 Main Street in Blandon, Pennsylvania. This led to the next important step the new building. A building committee was appointed by the Elders and began working in January 1988.
Building Committee Members (then)
Raymond Bertolet, William Bertolet, Carol Gearhart, David Hottel, Kevin Leisey, Michael Littlejohn, Susanne Schlegel
THE BUILDING PROCESS
We entered into a preliminary design agreement with Horst Group of New Holland, Pennsylvania November 17, 1988. Horst suggested we begin the design concepts of the building by developing a “need – want – wish” list. Each ministry and committee was given the task of providing this list as to how the building would pertain to that ministry.
During this same timeframe the finance committee was establishing the building budget.
Our “need – want – wish” list was given to Horst and from it they developed a plan sketch which included all of our wishes. The building was spectacular; it met or exceeded every need we could think of. It had only one problem, a price tag in excess of 1.2 million dollars. The exercise that Horst took us through was a good one. It provided us with a reality check of what we could really afford.
Thus began the task of putting our building needs on paper. A variety of building layouts were looked at. After many changes and additions to the sketches we arrived at a layout which met all our immediate needs, many of our wants, and even a few wishes. The sketch plans were presented to the congregation on September 1, 1989, with a budget figure of $631,119. The stated purpose of the meeting was to have Horst proceed with construction detail drawings. The motion was made and overwhelmingly carried. It was during this phase of design that we began looking at pews, lights, carpet, colors, etc.
On April 21, 1991, we presented the congregation with a building plan that featured a completely finished exterior (except for shutters and steeple). The interior of the Sanctuary would be unfinished and unusable; the Christian Ed. wing would have the folding partitions installed at a later date. There would be no kitchen cabinets or appliances. The congregation would sit on padded folding chairs in the narthex area. We were a far cry from that 1.2 million dollar “wish list” church, but the indication from the Lord was clear “build”. The congregational meeting vote was unanimous and we stepped out in faith.
The four month construction period began on July 1, 1991. With good weather and excellent job execution the project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. The Lord was also at work in the lives of the people in the pews. We began to see items one after another added back into the building. By the time of our first service on November 24, 1991, every item left out of the building, with the exception of the steeple was added back into the project.
Our GOD is able to do exceedingly above all that we think or ask. He really honored our step of faith, to God be the glory great things He has done.
The Building Committee had a theme: Building for Today, Tomorrow and Eternity.
The fall of 1991 saw Trinity Bible Fellowship Church moving into its new building at 220 Main Street (Rt. 73) in Blandon, Pennsylvania. November 24, 1991 the first LORD’s DAY service was held. Building dedication was held on January 12, 1992. Our goal for “Building for today” had been accomplished.
Growth continued and the opportunity to proceed with the Sanctuary became a possibility with the sale of the former facilities on Chestnut Street, Blandon, Pennsylvania. The building committee and Horst Construction went back to work. Actual construction began on the $78,850 Sanctuary completion project in May 1992. The work took approximately 4 months to complete. Our first service in the new sanctuary took place on August 23, 1992. A dedication service for the completed sanctuary was held on October 4th 1992.
We continued to grow and in June 1995 Trinity once again looked at expansion A building Committee was formed to look into the need to add Christian Education space.
Building Committee Members (then)
Duane Engle, Pastor Carl Fischer, Carol Gearhart, Mike Herzog, Dave Hottel, Michael Littlejohn, Gary Saggio, Denise Wesner
The committee moved forward with the Design and Construct company DESCCO from Fleetwood, Pa. In October-1995 – DESCCO presented the final plans and Budget of $258,846 to the committee. This amount added to the remaining balance of our original mortgage gave us a new total of approximately $630,000
November 19th 1995 – The congregation voted to move forward on the addition which added New classrooms, additional bathrooms, fellowship hall and a Pastors study. Construction was completed in July of 1996 and the Christian Education addition was dedicated to the service of the Lord on September 15th 1996 our goal of “Building for Tomorrow” had been accomplished.
The physical work of the building has been completed but the hardest work remains ahead. As we continually reach out to the community with the Gospel and allow THE HOLY SPIRIT to work through and in us only then we can say our goal of “Building for Eternity” has been met.
Today we meet to celebrate God’s faithfulness to His congregation at Trinity Bible Fellowship Church. As we closed out 2009 God has provided through His people all the funds needed to fulfill our mortgage obligation and we find ourselves gathered to burn the mortgage that will have us debt free.
We look forward to see where God is leading us into the future as we continue to “Build for Eternity”.
The general contractor for the original project was Horst Group of New Holland, Pennsylvania
The general contractor for the Christian Education addition was DESCCO of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania
Trinity Secured Contractors:
Carpet – Goods: Leesport, PA
Curtains – Kuzmans: Fleetwood, PA
HVAC – Fidelity
Landscape – Ron Wenzel
Paving – Ronnie C. Folk
Pews – Dumas Manufacturing
Sign – J. M. Stewart Company
Sound System – D. W. Andrews
Surveying and Site Layout – Gregory Kohl
Christian Education Addition Architect - Watkins Engineering