Our Story

THE FORMATION OF THE CHURCH 

“For other foundation can no man lay that that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
(1 Corinthians 3:11)

Envision in your mind a community without a church, or a distance of nearly ten miles to a church in a horse and buggy on a bitter cold morning, and after arriving there, tying and blanketing the horses.  This was the exact picture of the community known today as the Pleasant View area.  If one would have traveled down the Warm Spring Road on a dry summer day, he would have been covered with sand, grit, and dust; while during a rainy season the road was so muddy and soggy that the buggy wheels sank into the ruts which were as much as twelve inches deep.   Even though these were the circumstances, there were families that lived in the area that travelled the Warm Spring Road consistently the year round.

Traveling south from Route 30 on 995 for approximately two miles, one would have come into contact with twelve homes.   Within these homes were individuals with soul that needed Christ.  But without a church how were people to hear about Christ?  This became a considerable burden to the three ordained brethren of the Marion Church: George Ernst, W.W. Hege, and Jacob A. Martin who felt the call to do mission work among the families in this area.  From the efforts put forth by these three brethren, there were a number of people saved; Frank Jones and his wife who lived beside the church as it stands today, the Armstrongs and Leaps who lived close to where Arthur F. Lehman lives today, and the Wolfkill family that lived near Turkey Foot.   W.W. Hege baptized some of the these in their homes because he strongly believed that as soon as a person was saved, he should be baptized.  Today we may frown on this, but the Lord greatly blessed him and the work to which he was called.

A natural phenomenon for a young Christian is to desire the fellowship of fellow Christians, but due to the unfavorable situation centered around the distance and transportation, many of them could not attend church.  Since that was the case, the families in the area sent a request in 1908 to the Marion Mennonite Church for a church building to be built in their community.  About the same time, Samuel Shetler was conducting revival meetings at the Marion Church, and while visiting in the homes along the Warm Spring Road he felt the need for a church to be built in the vicinity.  A favorable decision was shown by the Marion members to encourage the request from the Pleasant View area, along with Brother Shetler’s suggestion.

On February 9, 1909, John L. Shank and Joe Wadel started out with a subscription paper for a church along Warm Spring Road.  They spent Tuesday in the Chambersburg area, and received a propitious response from the businessmen of the town, who contributed toward the expenses.  Then on Wednesday they traveled to Maryland to John Grove’s and continued soliciting there until Saturday noon. They received $78 in subscription money from the Maugansville, Maryland area.

Monday morning, February 15, a business meeting was held at the Marion Church to appoint committees for the building of a church along Warm Spring Road.  Jacob W. Lehman, John L. Shank, and Joseph Wadel were appointed for the building committee, while David B. Lehman, John L. Shank, and Joseph Wadel were appointed as the first Trustees for the new church.  That same afternoon the men met at Joe Wadel’s farm, which was located along the Warm Spring Road, (presently owned by Earl Yeager) to stake off an area for the church building.  Joe offered the land or plot of ground for the church, donating it for the sum of one dollar.  For the next ten days the building committee and the Trustees met at various times to discuss plans for the new church.  It was during this time that the men went to Fayetteville to look at used church benches that were for sale.  One is inclined to believe that this was a step in faith for the men, because they were just in the process of planning for the church, and here they were looking at fixtures.

Provided there was no formal service, one assumes that it was with joyful and prayerful hearts that they gathered on Friday morning, February 26, to start digging the cellar for the new church.  Men came from all around and from all walks of life, bringing with them, their picks and shovels.  This continued for forty-nine days; some days there were as many as thirty-six men digging off and on during the entire day, until the cellar was completed on April 16, 1090.  While the cellar was being dug by some men, there were still others doing different jobs to complete the church building.  John Shank spent one Wednesday at Guilford Springs collecting money for the building, and another day he and Abram Horst went to Maryland with a church list soliciting for funds.  A couple of days were spent in hauling “creek wash” from the banks of the creek on Joe Lehman’s farm. (This farm is presently operated by Nathan Horst.)

Although the morning of April 19 proved to be very unpleasant, plans were carried out as they had earlier been scheduled.  John Hege and Charlie Shank left Chambersburg with a team of six horses and a wagon for the Hollinger sawmill located beyond Roxbury, while John Shank went in a stick wagon, so that he could return that same evening.  It proved to be a very miserable day, for the men arrived at their destination completely drenched.  But they did not let the steady downfall of rain to stop their trip, and they arrived at the mill by early evening.  After loading the wagon with the necessary lumber needed for the church building, they returned to Roxbury to spend the evening there.  The next day found them up early in the morning to return to Chambersburg with their lumber.

The work went on and the men continued hauling “creek wash” from Joe Lehman’s to be used in concreting the cellar.  Early Tuesday morning, May 13, forty men gathered at the building site to cement the cellar walls, and they completed this job by two o’clock that same afternoon.    John Shank’s two horses were used to haul the water needed in mixing the cement, from the creek which was about two miles form the building site.  From here on the labors of the men became more visible.  The very next day found John Shank and his boys at the sawmill getting lumber sawed to be used as girders for the church, and a couple of days later, John and his boys were hauling bricks for the pillars and chimney.  Meanwhile, there were men back at the building site continuously using the materials that were brought to them.

Near the end of the month, the men started painting the weather boarding on the church.  A few days later some of the ladies decided to go over to the church to see how the men were getting along, and seeing such a sloppy job in their painting, they decided that something would have to done.  So, Leah and Pheobe Lehman and Nancy Ernst got together and repainted the men’s “mess,” plus finishing the rest of the church.  After they were finished the men had to agree that a considerable improvement was made by the ladies.

John and his boys continued hauling materials for the church building, spending June 7 getting slate for the roof, while the following days were occupied with putting on the roofing.  With the main structure of the building now completed, the men engaged from June 16 to August 15 in completing the finishing touches both in and outside.  Maybe contrary to our ways today, but none the less necessary for the building, John W. Kuhn surveyed the ground on which the new church was standing and now stands.  This was done on June 17, 1909.  The church ground contains one acre while the cemetery has one-fourth of an acre.  About the twentieth of June, the men started painting inside of the church, probably with the assistance of the women.  The next few days found the men engaged in digging out the cellarway and grading the grounds around the church.  The ladies also helped by refinishing the benches that were purchased from the Lutheran church in Fayetteville.   

John Shank kept himself busy at the church the first two weeks in August, obtaining and adding those few extras that are needed to make the church complete.  He had the boys go to the woods to look for locust trees; after finding quite a few, they took all of the branches off and sanded them so that they could be used as hitching posts.  John later took them over to the church and “planted” them along the lane and behind the church.  One other day, John spent the morning in town looking for lamps for the new church.  

For those who helped in the work of the church through labor, money, and prayer, and those in the community, it was a joyous day when at last the church building was completed.  Plans were made for a dedication service to he held on August 15, 1909, and one can almost picture the day.  In spite of the steady rainfall all morning, people came from all directions, from the community, from the churches that were supporting the work, and also from adjacent counties, such as Cumberland County.  It was with thanksgiving in the hearts that they worshiped for the first time in their church, and also for prayers that had ascended less then a year ago for a church in their community and now were answered.  Brother Abram Metzler, from Blair County, preached the dedication message.

Later that month the men of the church put concrete porches down at the tree entrances.  And it was not until the beginning of November that a heater was installed in the cellar of the church.  

This is just the beginning of the church’s history, but it has to begin someplace and from here on the work continued to grow.  The mission possibilities within the community were tremendous, and the members at the new church used opportunities that they had to witness to their neighbors, not only with their lives, but also with verbal encouragement.  The first several years the community folks walked to the church for Sunday school and revival meetings.  It was within those four walls that many of the community people found their salvation.  During the first year, there were eleven people from the community that were baptized and received into the fellowship of the church.

George Ernst was the first minister and Jacob A. Martin served as the first deacon for Pleasant View.  They were both ordained for the Marion and Williamson Churches.  As was stated earlier, they became concerned about church families in the Warm Spring area, and then later accepted the call to serve the people at the new church.

It should be made known here, that at first the church was just called the “new” church.  Sometime later when Samuel Shetler was visiting in the community, he was at the present site of the church and exclaimed that it was such a pleasant view from there.  So, at Samuel Shetler’s suggestion, Nancy Ernst wrote the name in the song books, and it became known from that time on as the Pleasant View Mennonite Church.

Today Pleasant View is a living monument of their faith, vision, labor, prayers, and their willingness to work through every problem, continually going onward and upward.24



___________________________________
- Interview with Walter H. Lehman, Sr., Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, October 15, 1969.
- Interview with Earl Yeager, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, October 13, 1969
- Letter from Walter H. Lehman, Sr., October 10, 1989.
-  John L. Shank Diary, 1909.
 -  Secretarial Report of the Fiftieth Anniversary Meeting, August 15-16, 1959.
- Interview with Henry Martin, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1969.
- Interview with Glen Horst, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, October 13, 1969.

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