The abandoned Church of the United Brethren in Christ building, later reused by Agape Fellowship, is located in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.


History

Reverend W. Wragg held the first service for the Church of the United Brethren in Christ prior to 1879.1 Reverend B.J. Hummel then held regular services which led to the organization of United Brethren in 1897 by Reverend E. James with 12 members and a Sunday school of 27. The church worshipped in various homes and stores until the Robert Tate family opened their residence for regular service.

Reverend T.W. Perks was appointed in 1898 and served as the first resident pastor of United Brethren.1 Several lots were acquired and a small house, 16-feet by 32-feet, was constructed. It served as a temporary church until 1900 when it was replaced with a brick building that was dedicated on May 13. Andrew Carnegie, an American industrialist who led an enormous expansion of the domestic steel industry in the region, donated a reed organ to the church shortly after.

Then pastor Reverend T.M. Sharp solicited Reverend Henry Shoemaker and received a gift of $500;1 the church was subsequently renamed to Shoemaker Memorial Church and incorporated on January 30, 1900. Sharp was made pastor of Shoemaker Memorial which grew in size from a congregation of 13 to several dozen. With the offerings of a large membership, the mortgage was paid off on August 24, 1904.

New Church

Under the pastorate of Reverend J.J. Funk, construction of a new stone-faced church began at the corner of Converse and Beaver streets.1 Funk held his first service in the new building, with just the basement finished, on May 9, 1926. Efforts were made by Funk’s successor Reverend J.F. Strayer to complete the building which was dedicated on November 1, 1930.

In 1983, the church merged with Jenny Lind Methodist Church on Jenny Lind Street to become Hope United Methodist, which closed in 2013. Agape Fellowship Christian Community Center acquired the circa 1930 building in 1987,3 moving around 1999 to a location on Fifth Avenue.

Sources