Our Church has been nourished with the Lord's blessings for a century. He has led us into the new millennium, answering our prayers and knowing how great our faith has been in Him over all these years. From the first gathering of His devoted little flock in 1893 he gave them their little Church in 1902 and right then they knew that their faith was never in doubt.
The congregation grew slowly but the horizon shown bright for the future. The 25th year saw a Charter granted which stabilized their haven in White Oak.
After many supply ministers staying short terms, Rev. Edward J. Travers came in June 1930 to begin a stay of 15 years and 6 months. During the first 30 years, the congregation grew to 152. Under his leadership organizations took form in all age divisions and the membership numbered 225. Failing health forced his retirement in 1945. He passed away 5 years later.
In 1946, the next call was given to Rev. William J. Irey, a fire and brimstone preacher, who in 5 years made noted changes. He established the first Board of Deacons in his first year and continued the expansion of activities, both social and spiritual. As a result the membership doubled to 450 with the Sunday School attendance peaking at 200.
With this "bursting at the seams" growth the Church leaders began looking at plans to expand and did so, purchasing properties at 1665 Lincoln Way where the Christian Education Building was constructed in 1957. The Fellowship Hall served as a Sanctuary, which in time began to see two services on Sunday mornings. The membership was still on the upswing and inspired by Rev. Irey, plans for the second stage of the expansion, the Sanctuary, were put into action. The Church was completed in 1972. This fine house of worship, which Rev. Irey so spiritually dreamed of and supported, was never seen by him as he died of a heart attack on March 15, 1972, at the age of 52, just short of 26 years in our pulpit.
In 1973 the call went out for Rev. Louis P. Long to be our leader. He was the 14th minister and only the third in 43 years to be called here. A former Naval officer, he brought and instituted a deeper movement with modern ideas some of which were a strong mission program and an advanced idea in the music program. His interest in building up the youth program saw several young ministers added to the Church staff. The first of these two serving under Rev. Long, were John C. McElwain, who stayed 14 years and Eric Peters, 5 years. In due time, the youth programs helped to increase our membership to over 600.
In the early 1980's the surrounding areas, as well as those in other outreaches were experiencing dwindling populations due to work shortages and plant shutdowns which forced many families to move from the area. This was severely felt in the church population. Rev. Long retired in 1997, the third minister to serve a lengthy period in our pulpit.
In December 2001, Rev. Deborah L. Evanovich came to Sampson's Mills to take over the uphill fight of a congregation whose strong faith in Jesus Christ was the truth of their bloodline. Our beloved "Pastor Debbie" became ill in 2005 and was forced to prematurely leave her ministry at Sampson's Mills to regain her health.
The Rev. Dr. J. Bruce Byers came to the pulpit at Sampson's Mills in late 2005. His energetic style led our church through some tough times after Pastor Debbie's departure.
God has answered our prayers over the past 100+ years and as long as we keep our eyes on the cross, the next 100 years will also be successful. Nothing has ever stood in our way to accomplish our goals, as long as we stood up for Jesus.
Written by John Smonski - Church Historian
Continuing the mission of Jesus Christ,
through the Holy Spirit,
we seek to cause God joy
by connecting people to Christ
and to each other
in ways which display the Kingdom
and give honor to God.