Bessemer Presbyterian Church has a 100 + year heritage of sharing and living out the Gospel
Around the turn of the 20th century, the churches of Bessemer only offered services in languages other than English. Three Presbyterian men from nearby New Wilmington, who hoped to provide Christian Education in the English language to a primarily immigrant community, came to Bessemer in 1908, and gathering together several English-speaking members of the community, began a Sunday school program. The group quickly grew to 28 regular members who desired to become a full-fledged Presbyterian congregation. On March 16, 1911, the Presbytery of Shenango chartered the First Presbyterian Church of Bessemer. Within its first several years, it had a great impact on the community: a strong Sunday school program that educated many in the Christian faith, a boy scout troop that promoted brotherhood and morality, a temperance group which sought to prevent and help individuals begin the road to recovery from alcoholism, a missionary society, and more. In twenty short years, the church grew to nearly 225 members, and already had produced a missionary to Korea. Forty-five years later, in 1976, the church was the spiritual home to nearly 375 members. There is a long history of sharing the Gospel among this body of believers here in Bessemer.
The story of Bessemer Presbyterian Church is a story of survival...
...and a testimony to the power of resurrection hope.
During the 1980's, the death of the industries which were the backbone of Western Pennsylvania's economy, was felt in Bessemer, as well. As the major industries downsized or shut down operations, and as stores began to close, citizens began to move away, the nature of the Bessemer community changed. As a result, the dynamics of the congregation changed. This, coupled with a changing cultural view of organized religion and internal struggles within the congregation, led to a decline within the church. Through many struggles over the 20 years that followed, the people of Bessemer Presbyterian never gave up hope; however, by 2006, there was wide-spread fear that the congregation would be dissolved and the church's doors closed forever.
Beginning in 2007, under new pastoral leadership, armed with hope for the future and a willingness to take risks, the people of Bessemer Presbyterian Church discovered a new vision for ministry in their community and of life together as a congregation. Even now, a little less than a decade later, the Bessemer Presbyterian Church remains a small but vital congregation which seeks to serve the Bessemer Community, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Indeed, Bessemer Church is a church of resurrection hope, and a testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit to breathe new life even into situations of death and despair. We hope to offer that resurrection hope as a vision of the Kingdom of God, and to allow the Kingdom to break into the lives of individuals and the life of the community that surrounds us.
"...we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence... So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal." - St. Paul, Second Letter to the Corinthians (4:14, 16-18).