~ A Longer History of Mahoning Presbyterian Church ~

Mahoning Presbyterian Church, originally called the ‘Mahoning Presbyterian English Congregation’,
dates back to the late 1700’s - before the town of Danville itself existed.  Early members of the
congregation held services about every six months when an evangelist or missionaries would travel
through this wilderness area.  These early services were held in the home of General William
Montgomery, one of the first elders of the church.  When the fellowship began to increase, they gathered
for worship in General Montgomery’s large octagonal barn, located where St. Joseph Catholic School is
situated today.  Mahoning Presbyterian Church possesses the original deed for land purchased on Sept.
8, 1775 (paid in English pounds) to secure land used for a cemetery, a schoolhouse, and for the first
church building.  This first house of worship was built on the site now occupied by the Grove Presbyterian
Church, the “daughter” church of Mahoning Presbyterian.  By Oct. 1st, 1785, Mahoning Presbyterian
Church was enrolled in the Presbytery of Donegal.  For more than half a century, the congregation
worshipped and served in the “Church in the grove”, referring to the beautiful oak grove of trees in that
area.

In 1852, the congregation decided to move the church building from the original site to a more central
location in the growing Borough of Danville, on the southern side of the newly constructed barge canal
through the community.  This is the location of the present facility.  The structure is topped with a large
steeple, containing an equally large bell, as well as a town clock, along with magnificent stained glass
windows.  On the inside, the large and lovely sanctuary houses the E. G. & G. Hook and Hastings organ,
one of the finest existing examples of this instrument, donated to the church by member and iron master
Thomas Beaver in 1882.  Dr. Joseph Parry, church organist, choirmaster and member in his young
adulthood, regularly returned from Wales to play the Hook & Hastings organ as the first stop on all his
U. S. concert tours in the later 1800’s.

Mahoning Presbyterian Church, as the first and oldest religious organization in the area, has greatly
influenced the community in its 234-year ministry.  Along with the first schoolhouse and the 1816
“Danville Academy”, the Church is also credited with starting the first Sunday School in Danville in
1816, under the direction of Elizabeth “Betsy” Logue and the women of the Church.  A separate male
Sunday School was started by Judge Daniel Montgomery a year later.  The pastor and members of
Mahoning Presbyterian Church were key Christian witnesses who convinced Thomas Beaver of the need
to build the Danville YMCA and the Thomas Beaver Library so that the young men of the community
had good places to go instead of the pool halls and saloons. Member Mrs. Abigail Geisinger, who
donated the original electrical church lighting system, was inspired to establish the George F. Geisinger
Memorial Hospital in cooperation with Dr. Harold Leighton Foss in Danville in 1915, a vision that
continues to unfold.

Mahoning Presbyterian Church continues its ministries, while adjusting to the changing population
patterns of the Danville-Mahoning-Riverside area.  We are now a “downtown” church and have been
blessed in hosting the “Jubilee Kitchen”, a free Saturday lunch program not only for those in need, but
also for those elderly and lonely who are not often able to get out for fellowship.  “Jubilee Kitchen” has a
rotating group of sponsors, including nearly all area churches and civic groups.  Average attendance is
around 45 diners every Saturday beginning in September through the end of June.  

The church has hosted five Annual Dr. Joseph Parry “Gymanfa Ganu”, (Guh MAN fa Gan-ee), a two-
hour Welsh “Festival of Sacred Music” and “Hymn Sing”.  This annual event used to be held in Danville
at least once every year in the iron mining prime of Danville;  the first gathering during the Iron Heritage
Festival of 2003 attracted over 250 singers!  (It was the first Gymanfa Ganu in Danville since 1908.)  In
traditional Welsh fashion, the singing is conducted in four part harmony.    
Your Organization Name Here
Mahoning Presbyterian Church
Danville, Pennsylvania
                        ~ A Brief History of Mahoning Presbyterian Church ~

The story of Mahoning Presbyterian Church dates back to the mid-1770’s, when first
settler General William Montgomery (a Christian Presbyterian) set about to establish a
church in his new wilderness home.  The new congregation grew and prospered, raising
several new church buildings before the congregation decided in 1852 to build in southern
Danville near the heart of town on East Mahoning and Ferry Streets.  A barge canal had
been dug years earlier to service Danville’s growing iron industry, cutting the town into
northern and southern halves.  The new facility was finished in 1854;  two years later, by
common consent, a group of members from the north side of town moved back to the
original church site to found Grove Presbyterian Church.  This is the “daughter” church
of the Mahoning Presbyterian family.  Mahoning Presbyterian Church has faithfully
ministered to the Danville-Riverside community, sharing the word of God and
demonstrating God’s Kingdom of grace, peace, truth and social justice from our founding.  
We are on a journey of growth and discovery:  seeking Who God is for us and who we are
to be for our living God!
Historical Figures