Highland's History Since 1958 Celebrating the Past -
Looking to the Future
In 1956, the Session of First Presbyterian Church of Lancaster suggested that a new Presbyterian Church be started in Manheim Township. A committee composed of individuals from First Presbyterian Church, Bethany Presbyterian Church, and Memorial Presbyterian Church, headed by Judge William G. Johnstone, Jr., Elmer L. Esbenshade, and other interested persons, purchased the Norma G. Hess farm of approximately 31 acres north of the Route 230 bypass (now Route 30) and adjacent to Route 272 (Oregon Pike) as a site for a new church.
During the spring of 1957, the Presbytery of Donegal obtained 10.1 acres of the Hess land upon which to build a new church. In the fall of 1957, the Rev. Warren H. Ball was chosen as organizing pastor. A suitable meeting place for the new congregation was found at the Lancaster Poultry Center, at the corner of Route 230 (by Route 30) and W. Roseville Road. Letters were sent to all Presbyterians living in Manheim Township, inviting them to attend an organizing meeting at Brecht Elementary School on October 13, 1957.
Prior to this meeting, a group of interested and enthusiastic Presbyterians attended a meeting to form an "organization committee." It would take the place of the Session until the time the church was chartered. Members of the committee were Carl Hambleton, Fred Hardy, Warren Johnson, Robert Kelsall, Howard Downey, William Kimball, Joseph Kyle, George Manning, Dr. Dale Posey, Arthur L. Reist, James Towers, Donald Vallar, Charles VanDusen, Arthur Webster, and Paul Woodland. The first worship service at the Poultry Center was held on November 10, 1957. About 110 individuals attended, and a Sunday School class was offered. On April 13, 1958, the congregation selected the name of Highland Presbyterian Church for the new church. The Service of Organization was on Pentecost Sunday, May 24, 1958, at Manheim Township High School. Recognized were 149 charter members. Arthur Webster, a charter member, is the only one of the original nine members who were ordained as elder on May 24, 1959, who is still an active member of Highland. The Rev. Warren Ball preached his last sermon as organizing pastor on Easter Sunday, March 1959.
The Rev. Kirk A. Hudson assumed his duties as the first pastor called to Highland on April 1,1959. On July 19, 1959, the Congregation approved the purchase of an additional 17.7 acres from the Norman G. Hess farm for the construction of a chapel and Christian Education building. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on December 6, 1959, with the Rev. Joseph E. Grottenhaer of the Synod of Pennsylvania (now Synod of the Trinity) as the speaker.
By September 1960, Highland became a self-supporting church. The cornerstone laying ceremony for the first building was held on September 25, 1960, with the Rev. Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, Stated Clerk of the United Presbyterian Church in the USA, as the speaker. The first worship service in the chapel (now the lounge and part of the choir room) and the first classes in the Christian Education rooms were held on Easter Sunday, April 2, 1961. The Rev. Dr. Edward L.R. Edson, pastor of the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., preached at the dedication ceremony on May 14, 1961. By October 30, 1961, membership had grown to 450 members. The Rev. Robert Fox was called as an assistant minister on February 1,1963. In 1965, additional classrooms and Fellowship Hall were built. These facilities were dedicated on November 21,1965. The Rev. Bryant Kirkland, pastor of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, spoke. By the end of 1965, membership exceeded 1,000 persons. 1967-1992 The Rev. Ross S. McClintock was installed as pastor on September 10, 1967, succeeding the Rev. Kirk A. Hudson. On April 20, 1969, the Rev. James W. Hanna was called as associate pastor, succeeding the Rev. Robert Fox. On November 1,1972, the Rev. Irving Deihl was called as Minister of Evangelism. William Rhoads stepped down as organist and choir director on December 31, 1973, having served since 1966. Lionel Gum succeeded him. The rolls grew to 1,500 members in 1973 as Highland reached its 15th year. In May 1975, the Highland Food Cupboard was started. On April 25, 1976, Charlotte Whiting was named Director of Children's Work. In November 1975, the congregation voted to build the 650-seat sanctuary and the Christian Education wing, where Rooms 35-36, 37, and 38 are located. In addition, the original sanctuary, planned as a chapel, was renovated into the Lounge, as we now know it. The old sanctuary extended to a point about where the entrance to the present choir room begins. The project cost was approximately $625,000. Construction of the Sanctuary and Christian Education addition began on March 7, 1976, when the groundbreaking ceremony was held. While the Sanctuary was being built, Sunday morning worship services were held in Fellowship Hall for almost one year. The first services were held in the new Sanctuary on Sunday, February 27, 1977. That afternoon, the Rev. Dr. William Kadel, president of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, spoke at the dedication. The rolls included 1,720 members at that time. With the addition of the Sanctuary, the Christian Education wing, and the Lounge, many new programs and activities, especially in the area of Christian Education, were possible. On June 1, 1980, Jean Vieth became Director of Children's Work, bringing vigor, creativity and Biblical depth to Church School and adult education programs. In 1989, she was promoted to full-time Director of Christian Education. Dorothy Rose Smith was appointed Director of Music on September 2, 1976. The Rev. Sue Bouder was called as assistant pastor on December 28, 1980, and was promoted to Associate Pastor on April 21, 1983, serving until June 16, 1984. The Rev. Christine Kuhn, who served until April 24, 1988, succeeded her in August 1984. In 1982, the final phase of the Sanctuary building fund was completed when the congregation pledged in excess of $120,000, payable by the end of 1984. By 1983, the rolls had grown to 1,841 members. The operating budget for 1983 was $368,000. In 1988, the fourth expansion of Highland's facilities took place with the addition of the administrative wing, the enlargement of the kitchen, and the addition of choir room. The project cost was about $800,000. The Rev. W. Thomas Dodge was called in August 1986 as an Associate Pastor. The Rev. Dale W. Marx was called on June 19, 1988, as Associate Pastor, with primary responsibilities for youth ministry and mission. In September 1989, Associate Pastor Rev. James Hanna moved across the driveway as the founding Executive Director of the Samaritan Counseling Center in Highland House, which, from1958 to 1988, was Highland's administrative center. Rev. Ross S. McClintock retired on June 30, 1992, on the 25th anniversary of his call to Highland. There were 1,960 individuals on the church roll in June 1992. 1992-2005 The Rev. Thomas L. Are was called on August 1, 1992, as Interim Pastor, to serve while a Pastor Nominating Committee searched for an individual to be called as senior pastor. He served until January 1994 when the Rev. W. Thomas Dodge, the Associate Pastor, was called as Interim Senior Pastor. The Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Chottiner was called on June 19, 1994, as Senior Pastor. He previously served for ten years as pastor of the Westmont Presbyterian Church in Johnstown, Pa. The Rev. W. Thomas Dodge resigned in September 1995 to accept a call as Senior Pastor of the Morristown (Tennessee) Presbyterian Church. Dr. Karl A. Kling was called in January 1997 as Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care and Mission. He previously served churches in Edmond and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In May 1998, Jean Vieth retired as Director of Christian Education. On November 30, 1998, the Rev. Dale W. Marx resigned as Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry and Mission. During 1998, Highland Church celebrated the 40th Anniversary of its chartering in 1958. A committee, chaired by Tim Beaver, planned special occasions throughout the year. On Pentecost Sunday, May 31, the Rev. Kirk Hudson returned to Highland to preach and participate in the worship service that marked the day in 1958 when Highland was organized. During the summer and fall of 1998, a crew of Highland members constructed a three-bay garage adjacent to the Samaritan Counseling Center. The facility houses the church's lawn mowing equipment and provides general storage as well as storage for Boy Scout Troop 99, which is sponsored by Highland Church. From July 5 to December 11, 1998, significant renovations were made to the chancel and the Sanctuary to provide space for a pipe/digital organ. The organ contains 41-ranks (2,116 pipes) and 37 digital ranks. The Wicks Organ Company of Highland, Ill. built the organ to Highland's specifications. The instrument was donated in memory of Morris A. Stoltzfus, by his family to the glory of God and in his honor and memory. Highland’s series of annual dedicatory concerts began in January 1999 when Pierce Getz, a consultant to the Highland organ project, presented the first dedicatory concert. The internationally acclaimed organist, Diane Bish, played in May. In 2001, the administrative offices were renovated and expended to provide additional offices and more efficient space for operations and meetings. At the same, a small chapel was created in the Administrative Wing in honor of the Rev. Ross F. McClintock, who was senior pastor for 25 years. The Rev. Marcia Rhoads MacKellar was ordained and installed as Associate Pastor of Congregational Involvement in September 2000. In July 2003, the Rev. Dr. Karl A. Kling resigned to become Senior Pastor of the Bee Ridge Presbyterian Church in Sarasota, Fla. In August 2004, the Rev. Edward G. (Ted) Mingle was called as Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Spiritual Development. The Rev. Marcia Rhoads MacKellar became Associate Pastor of Pastoral Care and Mission. She continued in that position until February 2007. In 2004, planning committees were organized to lay the groundwork for a major effort to renovate and improve existing facilities and to build new facilities to meet the space requirement of Highland’s growing programs and activities. A campaign to raise or secure $8.2 million was conducted during 2006 and 2007. In 2002, Session approved a 7-tenet Vision Statement to guide Highland Church in charting its future as a Congregation following and being disciples of Jesus Christ. The statement has since been amended twice to include items on peace and justice and on God’s creation. 2006 to the Present The Rev. Shannon L Bair was ordained and installed a part-time Associate Pastor for Older Adults Ministries in March 2006. She was granted a medical leave of absence in June 2006. The Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Chottiner resigned on August 30, 2006, to become senior pastor of Salisbury Presbyterian Church in Midlothian, Va. The Rev. C. Vincent Wilson was called as temporary interim senior pastor from October-December 2006. The Rev. Edward Mingle served as acting senior pastor during January and February 2007. The Rev. Dr. William N. Jackson was called as interim senior pastor on March 1, 2007 On January 1, 2008, Highland Church began a year-long celebration and renewal of its commitment to Jesus Christ while commemorating the chartering of the church 50th years earlier. The theme is, “From Memories to Mission.” On January 27, 2008, groundbreaking ceremonies were held to launch the $8.2 million renovation and construction project to improve Highland’s facilities. In March 2008, the Rev. Ann Osborne was installed as Designated Associate Pastor of Congregational Care. She was ordained n October 2007. In July 2009, the Reverend Dr. Roger Rabey was called to be Highland's Senior Pastor and was installed on August 23, 2009.