History of the Church of "The United
in Christ," York, Neb.
The church of the
United Brethren in Christ has always been distinctly an American
Church. Phillip William Otter bein (sic), the founder, and his
coadjutators (sic), inculcated into the minds and hearts of their
followers the equality of man. The iron bands which had bound them
to the time honored churches -- German Reformed, Mennonite, etc.
-- were forced asunder under the Spirit of Jesus Christ; so
affectionately and tenderly uttered by the cultured evangelical
son of Germany, when he fell on the neck of the Spirit-filled
Mennonite and said "We are Brethren," If there is any virtue in a
name, the name of this denomination has borne down upon the wings
of the centuary (sic) the prayer of Christ for Spiritual Unity and
Brotherhood. The great life of Obterbein bequeathed to the United
Brethren Church, a testimony in death, which still lingers in the
Church, as a call to consecrated and holy living. Jesus. Jesus, I
die, but thou livest, and soon I shall live with thee. The
conflict is over and past. I begin to feel an unspeakable fulness
(sic) of love and praise devine. Lay my head upon my pillow and be
In the year 1887 the local Church at York was organized with 13 charter members. Only 3 remain, N. A. Dean and wife, and Geo. Spears. The organization was perfected in the Universalist church, on E. seventh street, with Rev. E. W. Johnson, presiding elder. Services were occassionally (sic) held in a store building in North York. The need of a church house pressed heavily upon this young society, so that they early purposed to build a house. Two lots were purchased on Grant Avenue corner of 12th Street. The first board of
trustees consisted of N. A. Dean, William Jappath, Peter Helleir
and J. S. Lohr. Rev's. G. H. Swartz's and J. J. Lohr served as
pastors during 1887 and 8. Early in the year of 1889, a new church
house was completed upon the lots mentioned above. Having a church
building with but a small society, they felt the need of a revival
effort. Evangelist Geo. K. Little was secured, whose labors were
graciously blessed by God, in a very successful campaign. A large
number testified to conversion and some fifty were received into
church fellowship. During this period the minister traveled a
circuit preaching at two other appointments. In March of this same
year Rev. T. K. Surface accepted the pastorate, and considering
the division of his time, witnessed good results. At the March
conference of 1890 J. A Hashins was appointed to York. He remained
but one year and was succeeded by Rev. D. W. Proffitt. After
laboring for seven months Mr. Proffitt resigned. The Presiding
Elder secured Rev. G. D. Stromire whose ministry continued for
seventeen months. Seventy new members were received, and the
various departments of the church strengthened. Negotiations were
perfected in 1892 for the sale of their church property. The
transfer being to a society of the German Methodists.
The church officials were now considering the erection of a more commodious church building and in the meantime they accepted an invitation to conduct their services in the College Chapel. The annual conference of March 1893 appointed Rev. W. E. Schell as pastor. In consulting the conference minutes and local records, we find that success attended Mr. Schell's ministry. The site of the present church was purchased, but because of drouth and a stringency in money, no effort was exerted to build. Rev. Schell's pastorate was severed at the expiration of two years, when the conference elected him Presiding Elder. Rev. T. W. Jones was pastor from March 1895 to 1896. His ministry was marked with intense sincerity and nobleness of purpose. R. A. Longman succeeded Rev. Jones. He gave acceptable service. Received 25 new members and closed his year's work with good reports. Rev. H. D. Crawford followed as
minister, and served during a short conference year of six months.
Dividing his time with the College as field collector very little
was accomplished in forwarding local church interests. The
ministry of Rev. H. J. Gunnels was highly appreciated by the
church. His removal from the state at the expiration of one year
was regretted. At the conference of September 1898 Rev. W. W. Hart
was assigned to York Church. He labored with continuous deligence
(sic) and very apparent results.
Rev. E. F. Bowers commenced his pastorate in September 1899. The work yielded excellent results, and by the end of the conference year plans for a new church building developed into an encouraging prospect of success. In 1900 the project was began. The trustee's and building committee which consisted of N. A. Dean, Adam Seed, W. C. Buchanan, Phillip Fink, J. L. Medlar and Henry Jacobs, prosecuted their work with commendable zeal. After about an eighteen months pastorate Rev. Bowers resigned. This unexpected resignation somewhat obstructed rapid advancement. Nevertheless: forward was the watchward. In Sept. 1901, Geo. E. Driver was appointed and unanimously accepted as pastor. Work on the New Church House was hurried to completion. December 1st was published as the date for dedication, and certainly proved to be a memorable, occasion. Rev. George Miller, D. D., officiated and a subscription of $3,000 was secured to free the property from debt. The building is a brick structure, and splendidly located on East Seventh Street and York Avenue, one of the finest sites in the City. Dimensions 50 by 70 feet. The arrangement of the auditorium with Sunday School room, four class rooms, and pastors study afford a most convenient house for all purposes. The inclined floor is seated with opera chairs, with a seating capacity of 600. The total valuation of grounds and building is $8,000. Geo. E. Driver is serving his second year. Excellent conditions prevail in the Sabbath School and Young People's societies. Competent and earnest officials preside over the various departments. The latest statistics present the following figures. Church membership 181. Enrollment in Sunday School 135. Young people's Christian Unions, Senior 47 Junior 54.
H. Pittinger, Presiding, Elder's Steward. W. C. Hall, Janitor
Adam Seed N. A. Dean W. C. Buchanan
P. Fink J. L. Medlar
GEO. E. DRIVER, Pastor.
George Edward Driver was born
at Sandwich, Kent Co., England, April 29th, 1866. Received his
education in British schools. His theological studies were pursued
in Rochdah, where Dr. Joseph Todhunter was the principal
instructor. He preached at several places in England and Wales. In
the year 1889 he crossed the Atlantic, visiting relatives in
Illinois and Nebraska.
In March 1890, the subject of this brief sketch united with the United Bretheren Church, and was appointed by the East Nebraska Conference, to Pawnee Charge. This charge he served four years. After a two years pastorate at Unadilla, Nebraska, Mr. Driver spent nine months abroad, visiting England, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Palestine and Egypt. In the year 1900 he represented his conference as one of the three ministerial delegates to the Centenial General Conference, held in Frederick, Maryland. Previous to his ministry at York he served two years as Presiding Elder of the Beatrice District. The conference again elected him, over his request to be released of the superintendency of a district. He nevertheless resigned, and upon a strong call from York, the conference of 1891 appointed him to this city. After completing the first year, the church unitedly solicited his return, he is therefore in his second year's ministry at York.