First Presbyterian Church
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it...
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers."
From the Pastor
God said from the very beginning, “It is not good for man to be alone(Gen. 2:18).” Adam needed a companion and helper in this life, especially when they found themselves cast from the Garden of Eden into a harsh new reality.
Christ came into this world to save us from the power of sin and death. And he thinks it is not good for us to be alone, either. We need each other – to learn from, to enjoy, to give and receive comfort, to worship with, and to reach out to the world to share the good news. For this reason, Christ has joined us together through the waters of baptism into a new body, the church.
We hope you will visit us at First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in downtown Johnstown. We are a caring church who seeks to be faithful to Christ where we are. We are known for our annual Festival of the Nativity, as well as having some really good cooks and friendly people.
Look forward to seeing you!
Reverend. Alice Tondora
People move to Johnstown for many reasons: our excellent schools, first-rate health care facilities, scenic beauty, and proximity to Pittsburgh. People stay in Johnstown because of the superb quality of life we offer.--City of Johnstown
We are located in the heart of the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania and central to the city of Johnstown. We have just celebrated our 100th anniversary (1913-2013) of the dedication of our church and are an integral part of our city's history. Please join us each Sunday for our Sunday school and Worship hours.
We are here to serve the spiritual needs of the 22,000 populace of the city. Our church is one of the architectural gems of the city and we encourage everyone to visit the city and take in the sites during their stay.
It is our purpose as a Christian people of Spiritual Vitality and Faithfulness to:
Strengthen our Faith through Prayer, Study, and Spiritual Disciplines.
Proclaim the Word in Worship and Personal Relationships
Express our love for each other through the warmth of Christian Fellowship
Reach out beyond our community through Prayer, Compassion, Service, and Support
We seek to become a Christian people of Spiritual Vitality and Faithfulness embraced by the love of God in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, as we love God and our neighbors, near and far.
Mission and Vision
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).
We offer a traditional service in the sanctuary centered around the Word of God. Worship includes hymns & anthems accompanied by the pipe organ; the reading and proclamation of Scripture; prayer; and opportunities to offer our time, talents, and treasure to God.
We follow the liturgical calendar, marking the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.
The service begins at 10:45 a.m., except during the summer. From the first Sunday of June through the Sunday before Labor Day worship begins at 10:00 a.m.
November 30th Mark 13:32-37 Be Prepared!
1st Sunday of Advent
December 7th Psalm 51 Confession
2nd Sunday of Advent *with echoes of John the Baptist
December 14th Acts 1:6-11, 2:41-42 In the Meantime
3rd Sunday of Advent
December 21st Luke 1:26-38 Be Prepared for Anything!
4th Sunday of Advent
December 28th Luke 2:22-40 Jesus Is Presented in the Temple
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated on Sunday, November 30th, the 1st Sunday of Advent, and Sunday, January 4th. All who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are invited to partake.
1st Sunday Coffee Social
Join us on the 1st Sunday of every month for a light lunch of sandwiches, chips, veggies, and desserts, as well for good fellowship. Our family welcomes yours!
3rd Sunday Program
The Congregational Care Committee sponsors a lunch and program monthly. Topics are varied and have included Alzheimer’s, joint replacement, improving your memory, domestic violence, and the annual talent show.
The Senior Choir of First Presbyterian Church normally performs two anthems each Sunday. They also participate in other special services as well as the annual Festival of the Nativity, which is the highlight of the year as it ends with a mass choir performing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Practice is held Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm in the chapel. New members are always welcome!
Hand Bell Choir
Adult Hand Bell choir, under the direction of Rick Kimmel, is for anyone college age to adult age. Practice is Thursday evenings from 6:30-7:30 in the chapel. We enjoy playing many different styles of music throughout the year to enhance the worship experience of the congregation.
Sunday, December 7th
Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying
The First Noel
Good King Wenceslas
Sunday, March 8th
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
Sunday, April 12th
Jesus Shall Reign
Sunday, May 3rd
O God Our Help in Ages Past
This class meets Tuesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. in the church parlor and is led by Richard Feller. They are studying “An Overview of the Bible – from Genesis to Revelation” by Dr. James “Mickey” Efird, Professor Emeritus at Duke Divinity School. Dr. Efird has an obvious passion for the Bible and the rare gift of explaining the Bible so we can understand how the ancients understood the scriptures as well as how we can apply the texts to life today. Each week includes a DVD teaching session followed by group discussion. Stay afterward for coffee, donuts, and fellowship.
A short study will be offered in December, during Advent. We meet in the church parlor from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Check back soon for more details.
The Willow Room
Old Blackie 1811-1835
This is the birth place of Presbyterianism in Johnstown. The building was erected at the end of Market Street on the bank of the Stonycreek River. Some will know this as the location of the old Joseph Johns Junior High School. During the week, the building was used for educational purposes, and on alternate Sabbaths, the Presbyterians, Methodists, and Lutherans held services of worship. The building was a one room framed structure. This building was sold in 1856 to the highest bidder for $63.00.
The Red Brick House
In 1835, the Presbyterians had grown in numbers to warrant a building of their own. The Red Brick House was erected. The building was used for both schooling and a place to worship. Unfortunately, not much documentation about this building has ever been found.
1856, The Main Street Church
The two-story buidling was erected in 1856. Under the direction of Rev. Beale, a parsonage was built on Lincoln Street behind the Main Street Church for $4,000.
In 1889, the church had much to overcome. In May 31, 1889, Johnstown suffered a natural man made disaster that stood as the singular event to kill the most people until events of the 1900 Galveston hurricane, the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane and the events of 9/11.
Johnstown was used to being flooded quite often every spring. However, this time was very different. Swollen streams, two days of rain and a very weak dam changed the lives of all those associated with Johnstown forever.
During the flood, Dr. Beale, his wife, two sons and a daughter were virtually trapped in the third floor of the Lincoln Street manse. This building was located directly behind the church. Mr. Beale thought only of saving the old family Bible and his daughter took the canary in its cage. The family lost everything else. The rushing water made the frame of the manse creak as those inside watched friends and parishioners swept away by the water. The Beale family was helped through a window and over the roof into Alma Hall. The manse later collapsed under the pressure of the water that night. The church itself was deluged with three feet of water above the pews and the basement was filled with mud.
Clara Barton and the Red Cross
Clara Barton requested that the church be used as a morgue. Planks were placed over the pews and the dead bodies were laid there so that they could be viewed by those searching for loved ones. This did not go over well with the congregation. Dr. Beale kept a book where he recorded the names of identified flood victims and described, as best as possible, unidentified bodies or body parts. Sometimes a body wore only a wedding ring; other times, the minister sketched the pattern of clothing found on a nameless victims. This grim task involved stripping, washing and identifying corpses, including members of the minister's own congregation.
The flood's aftermath strained the minister's already tense relationship with one of his elders, John Fulton.
©American Red Cross
The Willow Room
June 17, 2010
Artist replacing mural ruined by ’77 flood
JOHNSTOWN — Few people at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Johnstown knew why it was called the Willow Room. There were no willows to be seen and no one remembered any parishioner by the name of Willow. Yet announcements for baby showers and Bible-study classes often referred to the community room, with its plain yellow walls, by that name. Now, Ernie Pudliner of Westmont is restoring the room’s identity by replacing a largely forgotten mural destroyed in the flood of 1977.
The original was painted in 1946 by two parishioners who were inspired by the blue and white Willow china pattern. The pastor’s wife at the time, a former missionary to China, told the ladies of the legend behind the pattern. The end result was a beautiful mural that endured for more than 30 years, until floodwaters rising to 3 feet destroyed the painting. In May, Pudliner, a former Laurel Valley Junior-Senior High School teacher who has attended the church at 309 Lincoln St. since 1957, started work to replace the mural. It wasn’t his idea. His wife, the former Janet Rowland, nominated him for the job.
“I had done a mural for my grandson,” Pudliner said. “That one went real well, and my wife thought I could do it.”
A 1948 graduate of Johns-town High School and former college quarterback, Pudliner spent time in Japan while in the Army and had an appreciation for the Orient. He spent hours researching and designing the project. The former social studies teacher is not a professional artist but took various art classes through the years. His work in the Willow Room is getting a lot of positive comments from fellow church members.
“I think it’s marvelous,” Leah Williams said. “We’re all very, very interested in it.”
Pudliner’s mural, portions of which appear almost three-dimensional, may be nearly complete. But the artist is not committing to a schedule. “I don’t know exactly when it will be finished,” he said. “I keep adding things. I keep seeing things that I don’t like.”
He works on the project a few hours each day. Sometimes a parishioner stops by to see how the work is progressing. His wife, whose sister was one of the original artists, often comes along and quilts while he paints.
“She has inspired me,” Pudliner said of his bride of more than 50 years. Pudliner remains humble about his work in the Willow Room.
“I feel good about it,” he said. But he quickly added: “There are certain parts I’d like to see some improvement on.”
Read the original 1946 article about the mural here
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Back to History
|Class of 2014||Class of 2015||Class of 2016|
|Janet Braude, PMC||Paul Fockler, Worship Chair||Jackie DiGuiseppe, Nominating|
|Richard Feller, Finance||Roy Gindlesperger, Admin/Personnel||Bill Markley, Poperty|
|Ruth Fisher, Mission/Stewardship||Charnet Koch, Christian Education|
|Cathy Ritter, Clerk of Session||Norma Small, Congregational Care|
The Board of Deacons
|Class of 2014||Class of 2015||Class of 2016|
|Bev Benson||Brenda Noon||Bonnie Bash|
|Agnes Gindlesperger||Ruth Pavlick||Linda Billetdeaux|
|Ernie Pudliner||Heith Bragg|
|Ashley Stufft||Gary Mennett|
Carl S. Fisher Men’s Group
The Carl S. Fisher Men’s Group is a Christian Fellowship group open to all men of First Church and their guests. We meet the first Saturday of every month (except June, July and August) at 8:00 AM in the Willow Room and enjoy a free-will breakfast and program presented by Paul Fockler. Our only fundraiser is the annual Good Friday breakfast, and all funds are used to support a variety of church and church-related needs and services, based on suggestions of the group.
The Women’s Association
All women of the First Presbyterian Church are automatically members of Presbyterian Women of Redstone Presbytery (PW). This church has a group which we call the Women's Association in which we support the Mission of PW. We meet on the second Wednesday of each month at 1PM at the church. We have a Circle Bible Study and a social hour at that time. Everyone is welcome.
The 2014-2015 Horizons Bible study is Reconciling Paul: A Contemporary Study of 2 Corinthians by Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty. It is described as follows:
Paul's writings are some of the most influential in Christianity. Revisiting the struggles Paul faced and the authenticity and integrity of his theology is an essential task for churches today in the midst of great change. Paul, like us, wrestled with and questioned his faith as he tried to live as authentically as possible in an ancient world that, like ours, was also in the midst of great change. What can we learn from visiting 2 Corinthians and considering Paul's theology and ideas as they relate to the context of our time? Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty invites us all to read Paul's letter afresh in light of today's issues. Concepts of shared partnership, power in weakness, healing, reconciliation, love, and a new apostolate all figure prominently in her reading of Paul.
The Genevens’ purpose is to promote Christian fellowship. It is open to all ages. The meetings are held on the 2nd Sunday of the month at 5:15 p.m., September through May, and consist of a covered dish dinner, a program, and then a business meeting.
The following is the program schedule for 2014-2015.
November: Mayor Frank Janakovic
December: Rachel Allen – Music of Africa
January: Sean Mesoras of the PA Game Commission
March: White Elephant Gift Exchange
May: Devotions and Communion with Rev. Alice Tondora
July: No meeting
A meeting may be canceled during the winter months due to inclement weather.
Tied Up in Knots
Food Pantry Collection
Operation Christmas Child
TIED UP IN KNOTS has started up again for the Fall.
You may ask, “What is Tied Up In Knots?” We are a group of women (but men are invited too) who meet at noon the 2nd Tuesday of each month to knit or crochet and now sew (a portable sewing machine is available to use) lap robes and/or shawls for the residents of the Presbyterian Home. All are welcome to join us for this fun, enjoyable work frolic! If you have yarn or material you would like to donate, please contact the church office.
When you do your grocery shopping it’s easy to pick up an extra box of macaroni cheese, can of vegetables, or jar of peanut butter to share with someone who is hungry. You can leave your donations in the basket located at the Lincoln Street entrance. George and Anne Matthews faithfully take the food to the Franklin Street United Methodist Church Food Pantry, which distributes the food to those in need. The number of people who use this pantry has grown substantially in the last few years. Any and all packaged foods are welcome and can make a difference in some family’s food supply.
You are challenged to set aside 5 cents for every meal you eat in order to provide for someone who can’t afford a meal. Bowls are at each entrance to the sanctuary, and you can leave your offering any time. In addition, the children take up this offering quarterly during worship. The next time will be Sunday, December 28th.
Where does the 5 cents a meal offering go?
25% stays here in Johnstown and is donated to the Food Pantry at Franklin St. United Methodist Church.
75% goes to Redstone Presbytery and supports STOP HUNGER NOW.
Stop Hunger Now is a global humanitarian aid organization that has been fulfilling its commitment to end hunger since 1998. Every year, Stop Hunger Now provides millions of nutritious meals and other life-saving aid to children and families in the United States and all over the world. Stop Hunger Now collaborates with existing development efforts in vulnerable communities to provide meals to places such as schools, orphanages, nurseries, and medical clinics.
First Presbyterian Church is again sponsoring Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes this fall. It is a branch of Samaritan’s Purse, which was founded by Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son.
The way it works: Find a shoe box, choose a boy or girl and age group (2-4 yrs., 5-9 yrs., and 10-14 yrs.) - then you fill it with small toys, school supplies, hygiene products, candy, and other items that are age appropriate.
It is an awesome program and one that will warm your heart as you fill the shoe boxes.
If you would like to bring in items for the shoe boxes, October is a good month to buy toothbrushes, toothpaste (check the expiration date), combs, wash cloths, hand towels, bars of soap (in plastic bags), individually wrapped hard candy and lollipops, mints, gum, little toys and things at the dollar stores: balls, small cars, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, toys that light up or make noise (with some extra batteries), t-shirts, socks, ball caps, sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.
Please bring your items you are contributing to the church office and put them into the marked basket. If you would like to donate money for us to fill a box, please make your check out to First Presbyterian Church and write “Operation Christmas Child” in the memo. Thank you!
We plan to have a “Packing Party” to pack the shoe boxes in early November ~ watch for more details!!
First Presbyterian Church of Johnstown, PA
309 Lincoln Street
Johnstown, PA 15901
Tel: (814) 536-8141