Noblestown U. P. Church
founded in 1792
God had plans for the Noblestown United Presbyterian Church and He has been with us these many years.
The forebear of the Noblestown United Presbyterian Church was the Associate “Seceder” Presbyterian Church founded by Ebenezer Erskine in Scotland. At first there were differences between the Seceder and the regular Presbyterians, their worship services were almost the same. When the Seceders came to America they stayed among themselves and sent back to Scotland for ministers. The first of these came in 1753.
The chapel in which our church began was built of plain logs by Joseph Noble sometime between 1772 and 1780. Joseph Noble was an Episcopalian, but he wanted his chapel to be a house of prayer for all people. When Joseph Noble returned to Maryland for his family he hid his Bible in the hollow of a tree. Upon his return, he found his cabin burned to the ground by Indians, but his Bible was still intact in the tree. So, we see in this small incident as in so many incidents here in this church a testimony to the providence of God.
Col. Henry Noble allowed the Scotch-Irish the use of the building he built for the Episcopalians. In a deed dated January 16,1802, Henry Noble to the Associate Congregation of Noblesburgh, containing one acre,117 perches and lots 4 and 5 together with the privilege of the water but not to exclude the citizens of the town from coming and going to the spring provided they do not hurt the gate or fence. The sum paid for the property by the congregation was $80.
The town from which we get our name was not in existence in 1792. In 1792 it was simply called Nobles. The town was not laid out until 1796.
In 1858, the United Presbyterian Church of North America was formed. Gone were the old names of Associate, Seceder, Associate Reformed and Covenanter. The new Noblestown United Presbyterian voiced their approval and support.
It was during Rev. Hutchinson’s pastorate that the Sunday School was begun. According to the customs of the times the order for winter services were Bible Class, a portion of a Psalm and then the sermon. In summer, Bible Class and two sermons in succession, with an interval of twenty or thirty minutes. The people of Noblestown would take their break sit on the tomb stones in the cemetery and eat a sandwich brought with them. Short sermons did not satisfy the people. They would endure an hour and no grumbling. The people hungered for the Word of God and did not care about the time or length of the service.
The first ministers of the Associate Church In our area were born in Scotland. The Scottish accents probably were enjoyed by the people. but the pronunciation could lead to misunderstanding. One time a young woman in a new dress got up to change her seat several times during the service. After the third or fourth time, the minister said, “Sit down now Lassie, sit down. We have a seen your braw new goon.”
Even though this church was founded in 1792, they did not have services every Sunday beginning in that year. There were too many congregations for the supply of pastors. Presbytery received many petitions craving supply. The people hungered for the Word of God so all the ministers had more than one church, But the people of Noblesburgh (as the town was first called) wanted their own pastor and if they could not support a minister by themselves they would try other ways.
On May 14,1800 Rev. William Wilson was ordained as pastor of the congregations of Montour’s Run, Flaugherty’s Run and Noblesburgh. What a joy it must have been for our first members, who have been waiting for almost ten years for their own pastor. Rev, Wilson did not preach here every week because of his other churches but they had a pastor. He was to remain over them for thirty years.
Thirty- eight men from this congregation served this country and one man gave his life in World War II. This church has seen every war since the American Revolutionary War. There is a Civil War soldier buried in our cemetery. Men and women have served and continue to serve in the military from conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Aphganistan. We continue to pray.
During Rev. Larimer’s ministry, Holy Week services were instituted on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. The Maundy Thursday service included communion around tables in the front of the church using the church’s long neglected 160 year old pewter communion service. Bible Study and prayer meetings began in 1963. Also added to the service at that time was the Apostle’s Creed and the Christmas Eve Candlelight service.
In the words of Rev. Larimer
“We have seen miracles together, we have wept together, we have laughed together. we have prayed together, we have struggled together, we have believed together…and this is what makes a Christian Church.”
We are not a self -supporting church. We are a God supported church. Any good we have done has not come from us but through us. There has been deficits, unforeseen expenses, setbacks and various problems. But His promise remains sure, “I will not fail you or forsake you.”
Attendance has fallen off in recent years. Many children baptized as infants do not return, nor do their parents. There are so many functions for families today and church is not at the top of the list. Consequently, many members have drifted away. We pray this will change. If all the persons baptized and confirmed in this congregation were to rededicate themselves to Christ and the spread of his love, there would be a mighty revival in our midst.
We invite YOU to be part of it.
There is no doubt that God’s grace has been here through these 225 plus years.