In 1890 missionary-pastor William John Guest moved to Lebanon, having pastored in London, England, and Pennsylvania. He began meeting with a group of believers in the area. Lebanon was considered both an important and a difficult field. From the start, our pastors received financial support as missionary pastors for the Reading Association, an early branch of the Northern Baptist Convention. Pastor Guest reported a membership of eighteen.
In 1891 the Pennsylvania Baptist State Mission Society reported,
The church at Lebanon still maintains its existence, though it is passing through severe trials. No meeting house, no pastor, very few in numbers, worshipping in a hall, and having little or no recognition by the Christian community. It is the only Baptist church in the county and ought not to be left to struggle alone. Brethren, you must stand by this organization and give it your helping hand."
On June 17, 1892, under the leadership of Rev. William H. Eldredge, the group became an incorporated church. There were twelve charter members who signed as “subscribers.”
During Pastor Eldredge’s tenure, the property on the northwest corner of Third and Walnut Streets was purchased and the first building was erected. The cornerstone was dated 1893.The church began to thrive. In 1898 its pastor, Rev. H. H. Mower, reported to the Reading Association that the membership had reached a high of 100.
Rev. James W. Hartpence followed in 1902 and Pastor F. D. D. Clark in 1904. Both served less than a year. Under the ministry of Rev. U. Simpson Knox, the church joined the newly formed Harrisburg Association of churches in 1905. In 1908, Pastor Souilliard was ordained and installed as the pastor, and Rev. Lester R. Norton became the new pastor. Rev. T. Clifton Harris, followed in 1913 and then Rev. C. M. Riley in 1917. Rev. D’Arcy became pastor in 1919. Rev. John L. Sawyer was called in 1921, and Rev. Walter Carvin came to pastor in 1927. Rev. Addison E. Pero served from 1936 to 1939. He was followed by Rev. John H. Reinert and Pastor A. Eugene Lloyd.
It is reported that in 1943, wishing to be totally independent, the church voted to withdraw from the Northern Baptist Convention. However, according to the American Baptist Historical Society, the church’s name remained on the rolls until 1958.
Pastor Bert C. Kreller began ministering here in 1952. As early as 1956 he sent a letter to the bank stating the church’s desire to purchase the property on the southeast corner of State Drive and Horst Avenue. That purchase was eventually transacted and a new building erected and dedicated in 1963.
Rev. Charles A. Ohman assumed the pastorate in 1963. Growth continued during the successive ministries of Pastor Peter Hougendam (interim), Pastor Donald A. Urey, and Pastor Gary G. Dull.
In 1975, envisioning future growth, the property at Fonderwhite and Linden Roads was purchased. Pastor Steven K. Love assumed the pastorate in 1987, and the current facility was completed in 1993.
Pastor George Mackey began his ministry with us in 1997 and retired from Full-time Pastoral Ministy, May 26, 2013. God provided the funds to completely pay off the new edifice by 1999. We praise the Lord for His provision and we eagerly anticipate God’s blessing as we continue to present the gospel in Lebanon.
Pastor Brian Fernett commenced his ministry on October 6, 2013.