The History of The Church
(Based on the first minute book of the church and on a historical survey prepared for the 75th anniversary of the church by Pastor J. Irving Reese)

1781 - The town of Northumberland was laid out, and the proprietors deeded a lot to each religious denomination for the erection of a House of Worship. The church minute book of 1842 also indicates that "long time ago" a gentleman bequeathed to the care of the Trustees of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, a lot of one half acre, in the central part of Northumberland, to be held in trust by them, until a Baptist Church in that town should build a meeting house upon it for their own use.
1794 - founding of the Shamokin Baptist Church, the Mother Church of the Northumberland Association, by Rev. John Patton and Rev. William Clingan
1803-1807 - "Rev. Patton was accustomed to stop with a Baptist lady, Mrs. Reese, whose house stood where the Pennsylvania Railroad freight station later stood.... It is quite certain that Rev. Patton preached the first Baptist sermon ever preached in this borough some time early in the last century."
early 1800's - In the early 1800's there was occasional preaching by Rev. Thomas Smiley from White Deer. He was succeeded by Rev. Eugene Kincaid. Rev. Kincaid was founder and first pastor of the Milton Baptist Church, and he preached occasionally in Northumberland. Rev. Kincaid was an earnest advocate of missions, and went out to Burmah in 1830. In 1843 he returned to America and became one of the founders of the University of Lewisburg, now Bucknell University. After the departure of Rev. Kincaid, Milton pastor S.B. Brown continued to look after the work in Northumberland.

About this time, Rev. D. Wait began laboring in Northumberland. He preached the Word of God "in his own hired house to all who came to him," and God used "the consistent life of brother Wait, his sound theological view and lucid expositions of divine truth" to the glory of His name. By the time he moved out of the area two or three persons had made professions of faith.

Meanwhile, Rev. C.A. Hewitt had become the Pastor of the Baptist Church at Milton. Along with his ministry in Milton, he continued the Northumberland ministry. Those who made professions of faith became members of the Baptist Church at Milton, while they continued worshiping together in Northumberland.
1841 - Rev. Hewitt held a meeting in the Tuckahoe Valley at which a number of souls were converted and being baptized upon profession of their faith united with the Milton church. These meetings gave an impetus to the Baptist work in Northumberland and steps were taken toward organizing a church. A meeting house was begun to be erected upon the lot which had been designated for that purpose. "Brother Hewitt made great exertions among his own people for the securing of funds. Deacon Moore and others in the Milton church gave liberally and personally solicited aid in Philadelphia and other places."
1842 - The building was first occupied on the Lord's Day, July 3, 1842; "Brother Hewitt preached to an overflowing assembly." On the following Thursday, July 7, 1842, a membership was constituted and a church covenant was approved; the sermon was preached by Rev. J.H. Kennard of the 10th Baptist Church of Philadelphia. On Sunday, July 10, 1842 the Baptist Church building in Northumberland was dedicated to the service of God. Rev. C.A. Hewitt led the service, and Rev. A.D. Gilette of Philadelphia preached the dedicatory sermon. Thus began the First Baptist Church of Northumberland with 36 charter members, which number was increased to 43 before the Association met in August. The church was admitted to the Northumberland Association at the Associational meeting held at Jersey Shore, August 19-20, 1842.
1843-1847 - "The first years of the young Church were dark ones." Rev. Hewitt resigned on account of ill health. Several men supplied the pulpit during these years, but the membership declined, partly due to members moving to other areas, and partly due to church discipline which excluded several members.
1848-1851 - "The church was closed and nearly dead."
1851-1854 - Dr. Howard Malcolm of Lewisburg acted as Pastor of the Church, and "his labors were so abundantly blessed that the crisis was successfully passed."
1855-1858 - pulpit supplied by G.A. Peltz and G. Frear, students from Bucknell
1858-1860 - Rev. A.J. Hay
1860-1862 - Rev. S.W. Siegler
1862-1863 - Rev. J.P. Tustin
1865 - church letter to the Association reads, "were once a happy church bringing forth fruit to the honor and glory of God, but are now as a withered branch yielding no fruit and worthy to be cut off."

during this time some men left to enlist in the army; also, "some members were excluded for various reasons, some because of their views on the political questions of the day"
1865-1866 - Rev. F. Bower
1866-1867 - Mr. H.F. King "The first twenty-five years of the Church history were marked by times of coldness and times of warmth, times of poverty and times of blessing, times of cloud and times of sunshine... The greatest cause for decline seems to have been short pastorates. Many who were, or afterwards became, the best Baptist men of their day served the Church during this first quarter century, but only a few were here long enough to get a real and effectual hold upon the work."
1867-1868 - Rev. A.B. Still
1868-1871 - Rev. J.G. Miles
1870 - At the Association in 1870 the largest number of baptisms was reported that had ever been reported, 38 having joined the Church by baptism, and from the various other sources the number of additions was increased to 52. Moreover, the Church at this time caught the vision of need for a new house of worship and in 1870 the present building was begun. The Church took a long stride forward and gained a position of honor in the community.
1871 - On January 1st, 1871, the basement was completed and entered. In this basement the Church worshipped for fourteen years while the upper part stood uncompleted.
1871-1872 - Rev. C.J. Brensinger
1872 - Rev. A.C. Wheat
1872 - Incorporation of The First Regular Baptist Church of Northumberland as a nonprofit corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - May 7, 1872
1874-1875 - "occasional preaching by Rev. Zimmerman. The spiritual condition at this time seems to have been very low."
1876-1877 - Rev. David Williams. "During his pastorate a protracted meeting was held at No.4 School House in Point township, which resulted in 23 being baptized into the fellowship of the church."
1877-1878 - Rev. J.C. Miles returned
1878-1882 - Rev. B.B. Henshey (1880 - parsonage given to the church)
1882-1883 - Rev. W.J. Hunter
1883-1885 - Rev. J.E. Sagebeer - first pastor of the Northumberland Church who had no other charge (many previous pastors were hired in conjunction with Sunbury Baptist). "The question of finishing the main audience room began to be agitated soon after the entrance of Mr. Sagebeer upon the work. In October 1884 this beautiful room was finished and dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. The completion of the room infused new life into the congregation and Mr. Sagebeer agreed to come for full time instead of half time, for which he had first been engaged. In the following winter a meeting was held which was blessed to the conversion of many souls, and 35 joined the church by baptism." Mr. Sagebeer resigned in June 1885 to practice law in Philadelphia.
1885-1890 - Rev. R.B. McDanel
1892-1893 - Rev. E.C. Pauling (in February 1892, the Church licensed Walter Ruch to the Gospel ministry)
1894 - Rev. A.S. Barner
1894-1895 - period of serious divisions among the Church
1896-1897 - Rev. E.H. Stewart
1898-1899 - Charles P. Meeker, Bucknell student, supply pastor
1899-1900 - Elbert Huff, Bucknell student, supply pastor
1901-1903 - M.F. Forbell, Bucknell student, supply pastor

(On Sept. 4, 1901, the Church ordained Walter E. Ruch to the gospel ministry.)
1904-1909 - Rev. Max C. Wiant
1908 - electric lights installed in the church building
1909-1910 - Rev. MacCulloch
1910 - The Church sent two recruits to the foreign field: Byron Lesher went as a medical missionary to China, while his sister, Margaret, went as the wife of Rev. Riggs to Puerto Rico.
1911-1912 - Rev. Geo. Street
1913-1916 - Rev. Paul M. Spangler
1917-1921 - Rev. J. Irving Reese "Thus ends the third quarter century of this Church, whose history has been so checkered with varying experiences. At times raised to the height of richest blessings and again obscured by the dark clouds of the valley, but through it all - years of warm quickening love and years of coldness - has the great Pastor tenderly watched over and cared for his sheep. Our only prayer can be that He will bless much more abundantly and use far more widely in the future than in the past."
1922-1924 - Rev. T.H. Robertson
1926-1928 - Rev. Chas. W.K. Mills
1928-1930 - Rev. W.E. Shoop
1931-1935 - Rev. R.W. Neighbour
1935-1944 - Rev. Walter B. Knight
1944-1962 - Rev. Howard E. Wolfe
1962-1966 - Rev. E. Leslie Whitaker
1967-1978 - Rev. Robert Blaylock
1969 - construction of educational wing for $87,000.
1972 - opening of Northumberland Christian School
1979-present - Rev. John W. Rees, Jr.
1981-present - Rev. Michael J.Cantine
1988 - construction of annex for additional classroom space
1991 - excavation of property in Point Township for athletic field and future construction
2005 - purchase of former Rea & Derrick building at 351 Fifth Street
2006 - Northumberland Christian School moves from church to 351 Fifth Street

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