Congregational History

Westminster Church in 1976

Westminster Church in 1976

Our congregational history has been written in great detail in a volume called A GOOD WORK BEGUN, written by elder William A. Mehler, Jr. This booklet traces the development of our congregation from 1968 - 2003 and is available from the church office. For a copy, please contact the church office.

In 1968, Presbyterians in two different Lancaster congregations of the mainline Presbyterian Church realized deep dissatisfaction over expressions of liberalism in the national church, filtering to the local level. A gathering of concerned lay leaders occurred on May 17, 1968 which concluded in a determination to form a new congregation that would be Presbyterian in government and thoroughly Biblical in its ministry.

Westminster's early worship services were held at nearby Lancaster Bible College beginning in July 1968. The Rev. Wilbur Siddons was called to be the first pastor and quite soon the new congregation counted about 150 adherents. Growth was steady in early years as people worked together in a united fellowship. Affiliation was secured at first with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod.

By 1970, the first facility - a classic white New England colonial style worship center with related rooms - was built on land at 2151 Oregon Pike in Manheim Township, just north of the city of Lancaster. Successive enlargements followed as the congregation continued to grow. The land parcel was expanded as God providentially made adjacent land available, until a total of 18 acres was acquired by 1999.

In 2006 the church completed a major expansion that doubles usable space of the building, to about 96,000 square feet and provides a lovely "meetinghouse" style sanctuary seating 1,150 people for worship.

In 1982 the congregation became part of the Presbyterian Church in America, when the RPCES merged with this conservative sister denomination. Soon after the congregation's thirtieth birthday, the active membership had topped one thousand.

Among distinctives of Westminster Presbyterian Church for which God receives the glory is a commitment to give about 33% of our general budget funds (plus special offerings) to missions and evangelistic outreach. Also, this congregation has planned and carried out the founding impetus for five local "daughter" churches: Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ephrata (1982), Wheatland Presbyterian of Lancaster (1995), Harvest Presbyterian Church of Lampeter (2002). In 2007, African-American pastor Stan Morton began to gather a nucleus in regular worship for New City Fellowship PCA, a congregation for Lancaster city residents. In 2015, Proclamation Presbyterian of Mount Joy was fully organized.