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Today in OPC History

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July 16

Grace OPC, Sewickley

On July 16, 1967, a small group of believers in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, concerned about doctrinal decline in the United Presbyterian Church, became a chapel of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Constituted as a member church by the Presbytery of Ohio on December 28, 1969, Grace OPC called Mr. Donald Poundstone as its first pastor in June 1970 and purchased a partially destroyed school building in 1971. Through the volunteer efforts of the congregation, particularly Mr. Earl Billingsley, the renovated building was dedicated on October 29, 1972.

Under Pastor Poundstone’s leadership, the congregation reached out to students at the local colleges, but made the biggest inroads at Geneva College, assisted by Grace Church member Marian Gilmore, then Dean of Women at Geneva. Miss Gilmore transported students—including numerous future OPC pastors and elders—from Beaver Falls to worship at Grace Church.

After Mr. Poundstone accepted a call to First OPC, Portland in 1975, the congregation called Miss Gilmore’s nephew, the Rev. Charles Dennison, as pastor in 1976. Immediately, Mr. Dennison began working with the local PCA about creating a Christian school, and together the members of the two churches helped establish Robinson Township Christian School in 1978. Mr. Dennison would continue to serve at Grace Church until his death in 1999.

In 2000, the Rev. R. Daniel Knox, who had served as both evangelist and associate pastor of Grace Church, was called as pastor.

Picture: Charlie Dennison and Don Poundstone at the 25th anniversary celebration on Grace Church in 1992.

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