New Congregation Moves into Plains Township Facility
Wyoming Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church holds Grand Opening Sabbath at new home
By JOE HEALEY, Pittston, Pa., Sunday Dispatch, reporting from Plains Township, Pennsylvania
(Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2014 Civitas Media, All rights reserved.)
After they prayed, they celebrated.
The newly named Wyoming Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church held a Grand Opening Sabbath on Saturday in the congregation’s new home in Hudson, the former St. Joseph’s Church on Martin Street.
Now there is prayer and music coming from the building once again, albeit a day earlier each week as the Protestant denomination worships on the traditional Sabbath, or Saturday, the seventh day.
During the church’s milestone, a member of the congregation, Micaela Herman, 11, of Larksville, reached a milestone as well. Herman was baptized, full-immersion style in a large pool in front, and welcomed into the church family.
Herman, a student at Muhlenberg Christian Academy, Hunlock Township, said she had “some butterflies” in her stomach and was “a little nervous,” but she did just fine. Because a pool heater wasn’t working, Pastor Robert Fisher shortened the ceremony, but Herman still fully immersed in the cold [baptistery].
Her mother, Dia Wallace Herman, said the baptism is a spiritual highlight in her daughter’s life.
“For us religiously, this is as important as a child graduating from college, because you’re dedicating your life to the Lord,” Wallace Herman said. “And to us, that’s what’s so important in life.”
Wallace Herman said in addition to her daughter, she was proud of the new church.
“At a time when there are so many congregations that are closing and diminishing and getting smaller, we’re bucking that trend and expanding,” she said. “We’re just so blessed by it all. We want to tell the community that we’re here and our doors are open to anyone and everyone.”
The Kingston Seventh-day Adventist Church purchased the building in October and members are now making themselves at home.
The congregation has been worshipping in the Wyoming Valley well over 100 years. It dates back to 1895, when tent services were held on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston. The church was officially organized on Sept. 18, 1896, but didn’t have an official home until 1917, when the congregation decided to build a house of worship.
The church was built on donated land by a member of the congregation. The church still stands on Second Avenue in Wyoming and is being sold to a Jewish congregation to be used as a synagogue. The old church seats over 100.
Throughout the years, several additions were made, primarily for the church’s school.
The Kingston Seventh-day Adventist Church has survived for nearly 95 years while suffering through the many floods of the Susquehanna River. Two of these floods, in March of 1936 and June of 1972, caused extensive repairs and remodeling to be done. In 2007, church elders decided to build a new facility in Pringle, but as construction costs and delays mounted, they decided to purchase the vacant Hudson church, which had been merged with nearby Ss. Peter and Paul Church.
Pastor Fisher said the new church fits in with the church’s mission.
“One of the reasons this is important for us is our whole ministry is (centered) around bringing people to transformation, reconciliation, health and community outreach. This church will provide us a much better opportunity to continue our ministry into our community.”
The Hudson church, built in 1970, features a crescent shaped sanctuary with vaulted wood ceiling and seating for 350. The lower level conforms to the same crescent shape and includes a very large fellowship area and full commercial kitchen.
The kitchen is helpful because healthy meals are often offered after services, and Saturday was no different. And a special musical presentation was held after the meal.
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