Seward United Methodist Church
Saturday, January 22, 2022

Church History

A Brief History of Our Church

Seward United Methodist Church

213 Indiana St.

Seward, Pennsylvania

(From the 1985 Seward United Methodist Church Directory)


The first Methodist Episcopal Church was built in Indiana County, Blacklick Township in 1814.  It was a log cabin donated by a Mr. Clarke, who immigrated from Ireland. 

The next church was a house owned by John Barber.  The Methodists worshipped in this house from 1836 to 1840.

In 1840, the old Hebron meeting house was built on the John Barber farm in Ninevah.  The church faced the Armagh road and was located about where Gary Stiles now has his ball fields.  There were high steps leading into the building.  The pulpit was at the rear with high steps leading to it, putting the minister almost at the ceiling.  High backed seats were used with one center aisle.  There was a membership of 20.

A new church was completed on the same site in the fall of 1871.  In 1881, this church was taken apart in sections and moved across the river to its present site, which was at that time called Ninevah Station.  The name was changed to Seward in 1890.

In 1910, the church was closed for three months for repairs.  The basement, the vestibule, and the spire were added at this time.  The only access to the basement was from the outside.  The heat was furnished by a hot air furnace.  Prior to this there was a potbellied stove in the front of the main part of the church.



The first parsonage was built in 1923 by Harry Trindle. 

From 1934 to 1954, these changes were made to the church:  the basement was plastered, new pews added, and hardwood floors were laid.  In 1954, a six room educational building was added to the rear of the building, an inside stairway to the basement, a garage built at the back of the church building and an oil furnace installed.


Early in 1964, the spire was replaced by a neon cross that could be seen for miles.

On June 28, 1969, a disastrous fire destroyed the church and most of its contents.  On April 14, 1970, the congregation approved plans to replace the church on the same site.  The cost for the new building was $150,000.  The first service was held in our present building on May 30, 1971.  The church was consecrated on May 30, 1971. And the debt paid in the fall of 1980.  The church was dedicated by Bishop Ault on May 17, 1982.


In 1982, Seward became a single charge church.  (Prior to then, we were a dual charge with Armagh United Methodist.)  Our first minister as a single charge church was the Rev. Robert G. Bedison, Jr.  A new parsonage was constructed at the cost of $45,000 in 1982.  In March of 1985 our membership was 276.

In July of 2020, our church once again has become a dual charge, and we are re-united with Armagh United Methodist.  Both churches retained their buildings, with Rev. Scott Hamley pastoring both churches.


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