Christmas 1784 - The Methodist Episcopal Church was formed at a gathering of John Wesley's "preachers" in Baltimore, Maryland. At that conference, two circuit-riding preachers were assigned to establish the Redstone Circuit (Fayette County area- the first organization of the Methodist preachers in Western Pennsylvania.
· By 1800, several Methodist Episcopal Church "circuits" had been established in southwestern Pennsylvania, and "circuit-riding" preachers were regularly proclaiming the Gospel in the area we now know as Beaver County.
· The Unionville Congregation developed from a society first organized in New Sewickley. The first services were held in the home of Allen Tucker. Members of that "society" included Allen and Martha Tucker, George and Grace Champion, John Ferguson and his wife, and Adam Johnston and his wife. The meeting place was soon changed to the home of Samuel Burns. Later a log house, called Myer's Meeting House, was built a mile south of Unionville.
· 1811 - The James Watts Journal lists the Allen Tucker home as a preaching point on the original Shenango Circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Quarterly Minutes of the Shenango Circuit (1810-1818) list twenty-two members in the society meeting at the Tucker home.
· July 13, 1839 - first mention of Unionville (then called Brush Creek) Methodist Episcopal Church in The Pittsburgh Conference Journal. In 1839 the church was part of the New Brighton Circuit.
· About 1842 a frame church building was erected while Rev. Joseph Alexander served as the local preacher of the Circuit.
· The first record of an appointed Pastor, Josiah Dillon [1850-1852: New Brighton Circuit] is found in The Minutes of the Pittsburgh Conference . Throughout the first 50 years or more of the church's history, it was regularly included on a preaching circuit with one or more neighboring congregations (Brush Creek, Concord, Darlington, Freedom, Harmony, and New Brighton).
· The original frame church building was destroyed by fire on March 4, 1883.
· June 8, 1883 - new frame church cornerstone was laid. This building would continue to house the congregation until 1997. The building committee consisted of Samuel Burns – Treasurer, John Snyder – Secretary, Milo Reader – Master Builder, George Bott – Stone Mason, John Boren, John Bunzo, Charles Lutz, George Ruth, D. B. Shanon.
· November 25, 1883 the new building was dedicated with Rev. Thomas N. Boyle, presiding elder, delivering the dedicatory sermon based on Psalm 48:12-13. Total cost of the new building was about $2,500.
· The church began to grow around the turn of the twentieth century. Revivals were conducted when Rev. Steele was pastor (1903-1907) and many of them continued for weeks. There was an “Amen Corner” in the front of the church made up of three pews.
· June 10, 1907 the church was hit by lightning and all meetings were cancelled until repairs were made. The church reopened on November 10, 1907.
· Rev. Arthur J. Jackson was minister from 1918-1919. He traveled back and forth from Fallston and many times he walked. While he was pastor, he had a Delco electric light system installed. Before this, six oil lamps on two chandeliers lit the sanctuary.
· From 1919-1922, when Rev. Cecil Newton McCandless was pastor, the church purchased a furnace and a piano. Before this, two potbelly stoves were used. The church also decided during this era to build a parsonage. The Board bought a lot from Mr. Casper Zahn and the people of the church built the parsonage at a cost of $3,500.
· 1939 - The Methodist Episcopal Church united with other Wesleyan denominations to form The Methodist Church.
· In the pre-war years of 1939-1940, Rev. Charles David Beatty served both the Freedom and Unionville congregations, with Conway being added to the Circuit in 1941-42. An Honor Roll to commemorate the service of military veterans was built in front of the church in 1942.
· During the turbulent years of World War II, many Methodist pastors served the U.S. military as chaplains. Appointments to the local church were difficult to fill. A succession of local pastors filled the pulpit at Unionville during this period, with Mrs. Bessie Young providing leadership from 1942-1948. When she became pastor, about thirty-five or forty attended church and about sixty or seventy attended Sunday School. Mr. Henry Miller was largely responsible for keeping the church going throughout this period, serving as Sunday School Superintendent for thirty years (1925-1955).
· April 1, 1949 - John Creeks was appointed to serve Unionville Methodist Church as its part time Pastor. Mr. Creeks served until 1968 (19 years), completing the Course of Study and receiving Elder's orders in 1960.
· The Sunday School expanded and the church used a building across Route 68 for youth gatherings. Sunday worship attendance climbed to 135 a week. Ground was broken for a new educational building in 1957 and bonds worth $25,000 were sold to members of the church. It took only one week to sell these bonds. The building was in use the next year (1958).
· Rev. Creeks was appointed as full time Pastor at Unionville on September 1, 1962. From 1963 until 1973 two worship services were held each Sunday morning. Church attendance at all Sunday services during March 1949 was 266 with $147 offering, while in March 1964 the attendance was 1,161 with an offering totaling $2,295.
· 1967 - The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church united to form The United Methodist Church .
· 1980 - The exterior of the 1958 Education Building was painted.
· 1981 - The mortgage for the Education Building was burned at a family dinner and celebration. Major concrete work was done, replacing a stairwell, porch and sidewalk. Seasonal banners were added to the sanctuary.
· 1982 - Improvements to the 1883 church building included: new pews for the overflow area, wooden paneling for the chancel, and ceiling fans for the sanctuary. The 1958 Educational building received a new roof.
· 1983 - In celebration of the existing church building's 100th anniversary, the interior of the sanctuary was painted and trimmed and improvements were made in the entryway and to the sound system. At a gala centennial event after the worship service, with people dressed in the style of the 1800's and horses and buggies on the church grounds, everyone reminisced about years gone by.
· 1989 - Rev. Mary Grey Emmett was appointed as a recent Seminary graduate and ordained Deacon. In 1991 she was ordained Elder during ceremonies at Annual Conference.
· 1991 - A Needs Assessment Committee was formed to evaluate the buildings and grounds to see what would be needed to improve the existing facilities. After much information was gathered and many hours of discussion, the committee issued the following recommendation: repair of the existing sanctuary would be very costly and considering the age, wear and general condition of the building, the repairs would only solve the problems for a short time.
· 1992 - A Building Study Committee was formed. Their findings were the same as the Needs Assessment Committee: building a new sanctuary would be in the best interest of Unionville UMC.
· 1992 - In February, Phase I of Unionville's building plan was instituted. Wallover & Mitchell, architects, were retained to develop blueprints for the new church facility.
· 1994 - Rev. Mary Grey Emmett was appointed to be the Butler District Superintendent. The Rev. Dr. Donald L. Russell was appointed to serve Unionville. Pastor Russell had an engineering degree and also served as Chairperson of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference Volunteers In Mission program.
· 1996 - On May 14, a Church Conference was held to approve construction of a new sanctuary and Family Life Center. Ground was broken on May 15, with District Superintendent Rev. Mary Grey Emmett, Dr. Donald Russell, Juanita Johnston, Mildred Musgrave and James Miller Sr. turning the first shovels of dirt. Other members of the congregation then took turns breaking the ground. Under Pastor Russell's supervision volunteers from the Unionville congregation, as well as from the churches in the surrounding area, worked together to complete the new Sanctuary and Family Life Center.
· On October 6, 1996 the 1883 church building was formally "de-consecrated" after serving the congregation for 113 years as a church. The altar appointments were ceremonially carried to the new sanctuary. Under the leadership of Rev. Erwin Kerr, former Superintendent of the Butler District, Rev. Mary Grey Emmett, current District Superintendent, and Dr. Russell, Pastor, the new sanctuary was consecrated to the service of God.
· On January 15, 1997, Rev. Richard Nulph was appointed to succeed Dr. Russell as Pastor at Unionville UMC. During "Pastor Rich's" tenure, average attendance at worship and Sunday School increased dramatically, and many new education programs were initiated. The newly completed Family Life Center began to be used by the community as a center for recreational events, as well as for church functions. Pastor Bobby Wilson was hired to develop a more active outreach to community Youth, and the Sunday morning worship was expanded to two services.
· In July 2003, Rev. Nelson Thayer was appointed Pastor at Unionville.
July 2004 brought additional change at Unionville. Rev. Willard "Steve" Morse was appointed by the district to serve Unionville.
Fall of 2007 - Spring of 2008 brought inprovements to the Education Building with replacement of exterior doors and a new roof.
On June 8, 2008 at the request of Freedom United Methodist Church and approval of Church Conferences of both churches, the Freedom and Unionville congregations merged into one. Butler District Superintendent Reverend Dean Ziegler, Reverends Steven Morse, Rico Vespa,and John Flower presided at the service at Unionville.
|Pastors of Record
About 1842 Rev. Joseph Alexander served as the local preacher of the Circuit.
1850 - 1852 Josiah Dillon - The first record of an appointed Pastor
1903 - 1907 Rev. Steele
1918-1919 Arthur J. Jackson
1919-1922 Cecil Newton McCandless
1939-1942 Charles David Beatty
WW II era A succession of local pastors filled the pulpit at Unionville during this period,
with Mrs. Bessie Young providing leadership from 1942-1948.
· 1949 to1968 John Harper Creeks
· 1968 to 1973 Gail Eugene McQueen
· 1973 to 1976 Charles Mervin Schwab
· 1976 to 1980 Donald B. Beam
· 1980 to 1989 James Lee Miller
· 1989 to 1994 Mary Grey Emmett
· 1994 to 1-14-1997 Donald Lee Russell
· 1-15-97 to 6-30-03 Richard Harold Nulph
· 7-1-03 to 6-30-04 Nelson Thomas Thayer
7-1-04 to present Willard "Steve" Morse