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Emmanuel Church About

Living the Legacy of Jesus

History of Emmanuel Church

            Emmanuel Baptist Church began in July, 1896, when a group of about 75 people separated from the First Baptist Church on Franklin Street. Thirty-seven of them met at the Grand Army Hall on July 15 to organize, and chose the name "EMMANUEL" (God with us). In May, 1897, they were admitted into the Regular Baptist Association of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

orginal church           For the first four years the pastor was a layman, B. F. Quigg, who served faithfully and without pay until his death in 1900. On September 1, 1900, the Rev. R. C. Morgan, formerly pastor of the First Baptist Church of Johnstown, accepted the call to become the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church.

           By 1905, the church, which was still meeting in the Grand Army Hall, acquired property on Poplar Street for a new church building. Ground was broken for the new church on October 1, 1905, and the cornerstone was laid November 5th. In 1906, on the tenth anniversary of the organization of Emmanuel Baptist Church, their first house of worship was ready for dedication. It featured a second floor sanctuary and art glass windows depicting various scenes from Scripture. Membership at that time was 190. The remaining debt of $5,200 was paid in full and the mortgage burned June 30, 1918.

           Rev. Morgan served the church until April 1908, when he was succeeded by orginal insideRev. J. A. James. Rev. James served until May, 1910, when he was forced to leave the ministry because of the loss of his sight. It was during his ministry that the church purchased an organ at the cost of $1800 dollars, half of which was paid by Andrew Carnegie.

           In 1913 Rev. Jacob Booth came to Emmanuel as pastor at a salary of $9.00 per week. Although 77 years of age, he led with vigor and enthusiasm and helped the church to greatly reduce its debt. At the time, he was the oldest pastor in the Centre Baptist Association, and he was succeeded by Rev. Clarence Hammell who was the youngest.

neon cross           By December of 1931, the church was going through a time of economic and spiritual depression . Rev. Harvey Warner accepted the call to become pastor for a salary of $20.00 per week. Through him, God brought the church back to a period of growth and progress until the flood of March 17, 1936. Overnight the church faced the loss of an organ, pews, pianos, furnaces, hymnals and other expensive church equipment when the water reached a depth of five feet at the front of the second floor sanctuary. Although faced with such a daunting task, the congregation pulled together to repair and refurnish their church. Many items were contributed by members, and much of the work was done by volunteers. The debt that was incurred was paid off and the mortgage burned on July 16, 1944, the 48th anniversary of the church.

Succeeding pastors were: Rev. S.S. Cuthbert, May, 1940 to September 1942 when he entered the chaplaincy of the U.S. Army; Rev. E.E. Evans, September, 1942 to October 1946; Rev. Warren A. Moyer, December, 1946 to February, 1953.

           From February, 1953 until January, 1954, Emmanuel Baptist Church was again without a pastor. However, it was a time whenray sr. the members grew closer together and united in a common determination to continue the Lord's work and to seek His man for the church. In October, 1953, their prayers were answered when Rev. Ray H. Streets accepted the call to become pastor. He, his wife, Jane, and their infant son, Ray Jr., arrived January 1, 1954, determined to share the good news of salvation with all of Johnstown. One of Pastor Ray's first actions was to install a lighted sign outside the church proclaiming "Jesus Saves". During the first year, a junior church was begun and a Vacation Bible School was held. Because there were too many children to fit into the church, the VBS met in the garages of the neighbors, setting up and taking down the tables and benches each day for two weeks.

           The church soon outgrew the building on Poplar Street and ground was purchased in Richland Township. Once again the members pulled together, providing much of the volunteer labor needed to construct the new building. Dedication was held on September 13, 1959, and a second floor Sunday School unit was added in 1965.

           The Voice of Emmanuel, a 15-minute, weekly radio broadcast over WJAC radio, went on the air in October 1963 and continued until 1987 when the local television station (Cablecomm) began broadcasting the morning worship service.

multi purpose building           In 1982, Ray Streets Jr., along with his wife Debbie, joined the work as assistant pastor. A daily preschool program was begun in 1974 and continued until 2001.

           In July, 1977, the church dedicated a new multi-purpose facility containing a gym, kitchen and two balcony meeting rooms. It was finished just in time to serve as headquarters for many of the workers who came to help Johnstown recover from the 3rd flood in the city's history.

           In 1997, David Streets and his wife, Sandy, felt God's call to leave the Westmont Baptist Church and begin serving as EBC's pastor of Small Groups and Discipleship.

           In 2005, a major change was that Pastor Ray Streets, Sr., was named Pastor Emeritus, and his two sons, Ray Jr., and David, became the Lead Pastors. In February, 2009, Pastor Ray Sr. was called home to Heaven. His life work was not building a monument to himself but bringing people to Jesus. Emmanuel Baptist Church continues as a living testament to the life-changing power of the Savior.