CHURCH HISTORY

 1938

History of Marsh Corner Community Church

As we take a few moments to consider the history of our church, we see that it has been shaped by the vision of each generation concerning what God could do in and through His people.

 

The Marsh Corner Community Church had its beginnings when Reverend John T. Hooper formed a Sunday School Society which met to establish “a place for public worship of God and to read and study the Scriptures.”  His dream came true in 1923 when a group of 44 adults and 15 juniors joined together as a church and subsequently purchased a former town schoolhouse which was modified for church use.

 

The original Marsh Corner church building ~ the current ‘Children’s Ministry Center’ (the white building) has seen many changes over the years.  According to town records, a portion of this building was originally a school ~ probably a mid-19th century wood-frame one-room school.  The building was used as a Sunday school by the Methodist Church until 1910.  It was vacant from 1910 until 1913.  It was then taken over by the Marsh Corner Union Sunday School Society who began holding services in the former school in 1922.  In 1924, the building took on its present appearance when it was raised, a new cellar added, and the entry portico was built.  The existing fabric and appearance date largely to 1924 when it was redesigned for Marsh Corner Community Church by Lawrence architect T.E. Martin.

 

Over the next three decades the church became spiritually complacent and by the mid-1950’s the church was in need of “re-awakening.”  The Lord was gracious and saw fit to bring to this church Pastor William Berkheiser.  He was a man with a vision to see people who were very religious become aware that God wanted more ~ He wanted a relationship with them through faith in Jesus Christ.  It was a tumultuous time as many trusted Christ while others were offended by the simple call to repent and experience the grace of God through the Savior.  The Spirit of God moved in a special way and the church was transformed into an active, Christ-centered church with a passion to reach the lost.  Soon the church was also sharing in the work of evangelism in many parts of the world through its prayers and gifts.  The Lord blessed the church through this period with spiritual and congregational growth.

 

In the 1960’s the church continued to grow under the leadership of Pastor Miles Gelatt.  He was a man of God with a vision to reach the lost through a bus ministry and visitation evangelism.  The Lord gave increase and soon the congregation had outgrown the original church building.  With concern for the future, the people committed themselves to the construction of a new sanctuary and office wing.  It was an ambitious undertaking, but the Lord blessed their faith and sacrifices, and the building was ready for use in 1968.

 

The church continued to grow into the early seventies and much success was realized particularly with inner city youth through the bus ministry, Sunday school, and day camp programs.  In 1977, the original church building was completely remodeled into a children’s educational building and the nursery facilities were expanded.

 

In 1979, the Lord called Pastor Dell Hyssong, Jr. to assume the reigns of leadership.  During his tenure, there was a deliberate effort to provide ministries for edification of believers in various stages of life.  Nursery programs became learning-centered, the AWANA and youth ministries expanded, an elective Sunday school curriculum for adults was developed, young adult fellowship, men’s fellowship, women’s fellowship, and senior saints ministries began.  There was a vision to reach beyond this local community, to the Merrimack Valley and beyond ~ and the Lord blessed.

 

In 1984, an educational wing with a fellowship hall was added, with immediate impact upon youth and adult ministries.  The nursery facilities were improved and enlarged once more as family ministry was emphasized.  Staff was increased and a second worship service was added.

 

In 1990, the Lord called Pastor Steve Jeanes, who had served as an associate to Pastor Hyssong, to lead the church.  The 1990’s saw a renewed emphasis of the personal responsibility of every believer to make disciples through a faithful life and loving witness.  Once again, the Lord blessed.  The church continued to develop ministries that targeted the life-stage needs of people and provide biblical instruction and relational support.  We saw the Lord building families and touching the hearts of our youth.  We have seen our students reaching students, neighbors reaching neighbors, friends reaching friends, and family members sharing Christ with their loved ones.

 

In the late 1990’s, the ‘Building on Faith’ campaign was used of the Lord to greatly expand the usefulness of our facilities.  The congregation heartily endorsed the plan, recognizing that only through the grace of God and the sacrifices of God’s people would our dreams become reality.  The church people sacrificially gave more than $800,000 beyond their regular offerings, which allowed Marsh Corner to complete the next phase of our master plan.  The lower level of our educational wing was completed providing modern nursery, pre-school, and youth facilities.  A new lobby and entrance area, an elevator, and an enlarged office/administration center were also created.  These facilities were dedicated in a service of celebration on June 11, 2000.

 

We look back with thankfulness to the Lord ~ who has made all this possible ~ and we look to the future with trust in His provision as we keep our eyes on Him, and continue to minister to the needs of people.

 

Written in 2006

Author: Jeff Barraclough

 

Timeline of Pastors

Rev. John Hooper  |  Senior Pastor |  1923 - 1927

Rev. William Callard  |  Senior Pastor |  1927 - 1955

Rev. Warren Nelson  |  Interim Pastor |  1955

Rev. Willam Berkheiser  |  Senior Pastor |  1955 - 1961

Rev. Wyman Ritchie  | Associate Pastor |  1961  - 1964

Rev. Miles Gelatt |  Senior Pastor |  1964 - 1973

Rev. Richard Jones  |  Associate Pastor |  1973 - 1976

Rev. Robert Flatt  |  Senior Pastor |  1976 - 1979

Rev. Dell Hyssong, Jr.  |  1977 - 1990

Associate Pastor  |   1977 - 1978

Senior Pastor  |  1979 - 1990

Rev. Stephen Jeanes  |  1980 - 2006

Associate Pastor  |  1980 - 1990

Senior Pastor  |  1990 - 2006

Rev. Bean  |  Associate Pastor  |  1986-1987

Rev. Micheal Sperring  |  Associate Pastor  |  1994 - 1996

Rev. Michael J. Conley |  Associate Pastor  |  1999-2003

Rev. Daniel Bowman  |  2005 - 2010

Associate Pastor  |  2005 - 2006 

Senior Pastor  |  2006 - 2010

Rev. Christopher O'Malley  |  Associate Pastor  |  2007 - 2008 

Rev. Daniel Courter  |  Interim Pastor |  2011

Rev. George Stephens  |  Senior Pastor |  2012 - current

Rev. Jeremiah Stephens  |  Associate Pastor  |  2013 - current

 

 1950

"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus."

Romans 15:4-5