ANSONIA — Celebrating Our Heritage and Anticipating Our Future is the theme for Ansonia First Church of God’s 100th anniversary celebration this year.
In honor of it being in the local community for 100 years, the celebration will be held in three special weekends, according to Pastor Derek Specht. He said Carleen Beisner is heading up the committee responsible for the celebration.
The first weekend is May 6-7; the next one will be Aug. 5 and 6; and the third one, Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
The May 6 event will be a praise service with former Associate Pastor Tim Smith and others. It will be held at 6 p.m. in the sanctuary with an ice cream social to follow. The next day will be ACHOG Missions Sunday at 10:30 am. Pastor Steve Shoop will speak, with Pastor Tim Smith, Alisa Beisner, and Leah Allread on the program.
Community Outreach will be observed Aug. 5 with 100 Acts of Kindness and a community cookout in the shelter house behind the church, and the next day, the service will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the Rev. Bob Moss, chief advancement officer, Church of God Ministries, Anderson, Indiana, speaking.
The Revs. Chris and Esther Cottrell will be speaking in an outdoor service in the shelter house on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m., while former the Rev. Lee Wallace, former pastor, will speak at the 10:30 a.m. service the next day.
The fist meetings of the Ansonia First Church of God were held at a small community, called “Teacup,” Ohio, according Ansonia’s Bicentennial book. The Rev. Samuel L. Speck, an associate of the Rev. Daniel Sidney Warner, a leader in the Church of God movement, was the preacher.
The people who were converted in the meetings held cottage prayer meetings and rented a temporary meeting house called Holsapple Church. They also sponsored a revival conducted by the Rev. George Lorton. This group also worshipped at Stoner’s Chapel between Ansonia and Union City.
In 1910, a tent meeting was held on the Joe McFarland farm in neighboring Dawn which also added other members in a meeting conducted by the Rev. N.S. Duncan.
First members were the families of Leonard Byard, George Hartzell, Alonzo Miller, Frank, Harley and Ray Trick and Fred Livingston.
The first building owned by the congregation was erected in 1917 and 1918. Located on West Canal Street, it was dedicated by the Rev. Barney E. Warren. The building was remodeled in 1949 and again in 1953.
Plans were made to relocate and land was purchased in 1963. The present sanctuary and educational facilities at 759 S. Main St., comprising 10,000 feet of floor space, was dedicated in 1967. The building cost in the neighborhood of $162,500.
In 1974-75, it became increasingly aware that the present facilities could no longer house the developing church family, and work was begun on the new addition the third week of May in 1975. Its new classrooms, fellowship hall, kitchen, chapel and rest rooms were made available to the church the following May at a cost of about $300,000.
Former pastors of the church are the Revs. Ethel Orr, J.W. Strotman D.S. Patterson, E.A. Ball, Warren Roark, Luther Van Hoose, Paul Hartzler, G.M. Byrd, F.B. Nafe, Harry Heath, W.L. Shinn, M. F. King, Von A. Chesterman, E.E. Baker, Joseph Smith, George VanNorman, Carl Reynolds, Lee Wallace, Darryl Allen, Chris Cottrell, Tim Schrock and David Hackney.
Specht has been at the First Church of God since this past November, coming here from North Carolina, where he served two different congregations in his 19-year ministry.
“I grew up in North Carolina,” said Specht, who has been a pastor since 1998.
He and his wife, Gina, have three daughters, Chloe, 20, Hope, 19, and Grace, 13. The oldest two girls are students at college in Oklahoma City.
He said attendance at the First Church of God averages a little over 200.
The worship service is at 10:30 a.m. Sunday with a Wednesday night service at 7 p.m. for children, youth and adults.
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