The History of our Church
John Winebrenner, an ordained German Reformed Church pastor, came to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the early 1820s and pastored churches in the city and the West Shore. He was an evangelist and a revivalistic minister and soon gained a large following. In 1830, he broke with his denomination and founded the Churches of God Eldership. Forty years later, individuals began meeting in the public school building across the Lisburn Road from the Robert Sidle property and formed the Union Sunday School. Within 5 years, preaching services were held and by 1890, Bowmansdale became an appointment on the Shiremanstown/Shepherdstown Circuit of the East Pennsylvania Eldership. With thirteen members, Bowmansdale Church of God was organized on December 7th, 1890.
On August 30, 1891, the new congregation dedicated its house of worship--part of the present sanctuary! Not until 1955 did a Christian Education wing and indoor plumbing become a reality. Additional space was required and in 1979, a separate Christian Education Building and Fellowship Hall was erected in cooperation with the IOOF Lodge. Three years earlier, Bowmansdale had become a single charge splitting from her sister church, Mt. Pleasant (joint charge since 1918) and purchasing its own parsonage in a nearby development.
The property east of the bethel was purchased to allow for flexibility in future expansions. Shortly used as a parsonage, and a rental property, it has now been demolished for expansion. In addition, land was acquired across the Lisburn Road for expanded parking and recreational needs and in 1992, a large pavilion was erected for recreational, fellowship and inspirational activities.
In 2001, the sanctuary was enlarged and 3,000 square foot fellowship hall and 640 square foot kitchen were built on the property east of the original building. The fellowship hall is enjoyed by many groups for fellowship, recreational activities, and church fund raising events. In 2007, a covered outdoor Bar-B-Q pit was built near the pavilion. Additional parking has also been added across Lisburn Road.
The buildings, pastors, members and friends of Bowmansdale Church of God have changed over the years, but much of the faith and beliefs of John Winebrenner remain. We believe in the Bible as God's Holy Word and the only authoritative rule of faith and practice. We believe in the Trinity, the fall of man and our Redemption through the Blood of Christ and justification by faith not works. As a reminder to ourselves and a sign to others, we practice three ordinances: Believer's Baptism, Feetwashing, and the Lord's Supper. We are today a congregation steeped in history, alive in our present knowledge of Jesus Christ, and committed to a future as witnesses to the Saving Grace that is for everyone!