By JOE HEALEY, Pittston, Pa., Sunday Dispatch, reporting from Plains Township, Pennsylvania
(Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2014 Civitas Media, All rights reserved.)
After they prayed, they celebrated.
The newly named Wyoming Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church
held a Grand Opening Sabbath on Saturday in the congregation’s new home in
Hudson, the former St. Joseph’s Church on Martin Street.
Now there is prayer and music coming from the building once
again, albeit a day earlier each week as the Protestant denomination worships
on the traditional Sabbath, or Saturday, the seventh day.
During the church’s milestone, a member of the congregation,
Micaela Herman, 11, of Larksville, reached a milestone as well. Herman was
baptized, full-immersion style in a large pool in front, and welcomed into the
Herman, a student at Muhlenberg Christian Academy, Hunlock
Township, said she had “some butterflies” in her stomach and was “a little
nervous,” but she did just fine. Because a pool heater wasn’t working, Pastor
Robert Fisher shortened the ceremony, but Herman still fully immersed in the
Her mother, Dia Wallace Herman, said the baptism is a
spiritual highlight in her daughter’s life.
“For us religiously, this is as important as a child
graduating from college, because you’re dedicating your life to the Lord,”
Wallace Herman said. “And to us, that’s what’s so important in life.”
Wallace Herman said in addition to her daughter, she was
proud of the new church.
“At a time when there are so many congregations that are
closing and diminishing and getting smaller, we’re bucking that trend and
expanding,” she said. “We’re just so blessed by it all. We want to tell the
community that we’re here and our doors are open to anyone and everyone.”
The Kingston Seventh-day Adventist Church purchased the
building in October and members are now making themselves at home.
The congregation has been worshipping in the Wyoming Valley
well over 100 years. It dates back to 1895, when tent services were held on
Wyoming Avenue in Kingston. The church was officially organized on Sept. 18,
1896, but didn’t have an official home until 1917, when the congregation
decided to build a house of worship.
The church was built on donated land by a member of the
congregation. The church still stands on Second Avenue in Wyoming and is being
sold to a Jewish congregation to be used as a synagogue. The old church seats
Throughout the years, several additions were made, primarily
for the church’s school.
The Kingston Seventh-day Adventist Church has survived for
nearly 95 years while suffering through the many floods of the Susquehanna
River. Two of these floods, in March of 1936 and June of 1972, caused extensive
repairs and remodeling to be done. In 2007, church elders decided to build a
new facility in Pringle, but as construction costs and delays mounted, they
decided to purchase the vacant Hudson church, which had been merged with nearby
Ss. Peter and Paul Church.
Pastor Fisher said the new church fits in with the church’s
“One of the reasons this is important for us is our whole
ministry is (centered) around bringing people to transformation,
reconciliation, health and community outreach. This church will provide us a
much better opportunity to continue our ministry into our community.”
The Hudson church, built in 1970, features a crescent shaped
sanctuary with vaulted wood ceiling and seating for 350. The lower level conforms
to the same crescent shape and includes a very large fellowship area and full
The kitchen is helpful because healthy meals are often
offered after services, and Saturday was no different. And a special musical
presentation was held after the meal.