CrossPoint Church is a United Methodist community providing multi-site ministries in the Greater Harrisburg, PA areas of Colonial Park, Rutherford, South Hanover, and Midtown Harrisburg. Located in the Harrisburg District of the Central Pennsylvania United Methodist Conference, we exist to love God, love others and make disciples.
CrossPoint United Methodist Church had its beginning in 1922, when the Missionary and Church Extension Society of the East Pennsylvania Conference of the United Brethren in Christ Church recommended purchase of land at the east end of Progress Avenue in Harrisburg. The land cost $3,500. The following year, the Annual Conference passed a resolution that a class be organized and a church edifice be built.
Thus, a new church was started at the corner of Jonestown Road and Madison Street. On June 20, 1924, Dr. S. C. Enck, Conference Superintendent, laid the cornerstone. Colonial Park Church, built for approximately $40,000 was dedicated by Dr. Enck on January 4, 1925. Because Colonial Park was a church without a congregation, Derry Street United Brethren in Christ church supported it, in those early years, as part of its ministry of outreach.
The 1924 Conference assigned The Reverend Frank C. Aungst to the joint charge of Linglestown and Colonial Park to organize a congregation for the new church. Under his leadership, thirty-seven persons enrolled as Sunday School members on the Sunday following dedication. On March 1, 1925, thirty-five persons were received into charter membership.
The first fifteen years were difficult for both the parish and the assigned pastors: The Reverend Dr. Frank C. Aungst, 1924-1926; The Reverend A. G. Nye, 1926-1928; The Reverend William O. Rhoad, 1928-1930; Mr. William J. Book, supply Pastor for seven months; and The Reverend Russell L. Shay, 1931-1940. Nevertheless, the church progressed by organizing a Christian Endeavor Society in 1926, a Women’s Missionary Association in 1927-1928 with twenty-two members, and an Otterbein Guild in 1932 with twenty-four members. By 1940, the membership had increased to 154, as Harrisburg began to move eastward.
In 1940, The Reverend Clarence E. Ulrich was appointed pastor of the Linglestown-Colonial Park charge; under his ministry the membership rose to 400. In 1946, a denominational merger with the Evangelical Church gave new impetus to the growth of the church. By the middle 1940’s, the Sunday School outgrew its facilities; and the cancellation of the original indebtedness in 1948 opened the way to build an educational unit in 1953 for $60,000.
With the tremendous population shift in 1957, the Pennsylvania Highway Department and the Federal Government were designing Interstate 83. The church was given the option of living inside a cloverleaf or having the property condemned. The congregation decided to relocate. Through the efforts of Pastor Sholter, a 10 1/2 acre plot of ground on Colonial Road was purchased.
The period between 1958 and 1960 was a busy one as pastor and parish again applied themselves to the task of building another church to house its congregation. They held services during this time in the E. H. Phillips Elementary School. Ground-breaking ceremonies for the new edifice were held May 24, 1959, and the cornerstone was laid on November 22nd of that year. On July 3, 1960, the congregation met in the fellowship hall of the new building; and four weeks later, on July 31, they held the first service in the sanctuary. Dedication observances were held the week of September 11-18, 1960.
By the 40th Anniversary in 1965, the membership had risen to 595 with facilities valued at $350,000. Colonial Park had a future before it of greater service to the Lord. In 1966, the congregation built a new parsonage on the church grounds at a cost of $33,000. It was dedicated on December 11, 1966.
In 1968, the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren Church with the Methodist Church made the members of the parish a part of what was then the largest Protestant denomination in the world. On December 11th of that year, mortgage burning services were held canceling an indebtedness of $70,000 in less than ten years!
Through the ensuing years, the congregation was guided by The Reverend Robert H. Sholter, 1955-1973; The Reverend Calvin B. Haverstock, Jr., 1973-1978; The Reverend Dr. Thomas W. Guinivan, 1978-1983. On September 28, 1980, a new Moller eleven rank, two-manual organ was dedicated by The Reverend Calvin H. Cole, Sr., Harrisburg District Superintendent.
The Conference assigned The Reverend Theodore C. Yohe to Colonial Park in 1983. Under his inspired leadership, the church has continued to grow in membership and missions for the glory of God and in service to the community. Reverend Yohe began a deliberate small group ministry, trained and equipped the congregation to be ministers through Bible study classes and studies on spiritual gifts. Colonial Park has opened its doors to various groups to use for meetings and activities, including Crossfire, AA, Birthright, Ridgeview Garden Club and others. In 1988, a Latchkey program was started, followed by a Nursery School which opened in September 1991.
Because of the population growth and activity in an expanding area, the 1990 Annual Conference appointed The Reverend Randall L. Goshorn as Associate Pastor. Crowded church facilities motivated the congregation to contract with Horst Construction of New Holland, PA, to build an addition to the church to house new classrooms, offices, an all-purpose room with a stage, basketball capabilities, a new kitchen, and an elevator to serve the two-floor addition. Renovations included a new entrance, narthex and an expanded sanctuary, increasing the seating capacity to 450. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held May 13, 1990. The Reverend Dr. Donald R. Shover, Jr., Harrisburg District Superintendent, brought the message. Mrs. Sara J. Attick, the only living Charter Member of the church, turned the first spade of dirt. The cornerstone was laid on November 11, 1990. Cost of the new addition was nearly $1,600,000.
The multi-purpose room in the new wing was designated Sholter Hall in honor of The Reverend Robert H. Sholter and his wife, Dorothy. It was during his ministry that the land on which Colonial Park Church stands was purchased. He served the church for eighteen years; and in 1990, he and his wife bequeathed funds to help build this new addition.
The Reverend Derwood Strunk, Jr. and Associate Pastor Barton Schaefer were appointed to pastor the congregation in 1993. The understanding of spiritual giftedness, a shift in Sunday School classes from electives to traditional classes took place. Wednesday evening activities grew and home visitation was a priority for their pastoral ministry.
In 1996, The Reverend Paul A. Lauchle was appointed as the Lead Pastor with The Reverend David D. Biser being appointed to the Associate position in 1997.
A new vision plan and strategy for doing ministry was adopted by the congregation which challenged people, “To know, love, serve, and share JESUS.” Our mission is to bring people to Jesus and membership in His family, develop them to Christ-like maturity, and equip them for their ministry in the church and life mission in the world, in order to magnify God’s name.
Over the last decade we have seen the development of a child care center (Kids Place Child Care Center), a before and after school program inclusive of full-time summer care, an expansive Wednesday evening R.A.V.E. program and music/worship ministry including contemporary services. A focus was placed on children through Celebration Station and pre-school ministries. The student ministry (G.A.P.) has grown significantly. In 2004 the decision was made to be a church of small groups with intentionality given to building stronger relationships with God and with others. We moved over this time period from 25% of our faith community involved in identified ministries to nearly 70%. Expansion of missions became an important objective.
Two capital stewardship campaigns (Jubilee and Growing in Faith Together) raised not only monies to eliminate our indebtedness but focused on the growth and development of disciples for Jesus Christ.
Our vision is now offering us opportunities to minister in partnership with Stevens Emmanuel United Methodist; to explore multi-site locations for ministry; and, to look at campus renovation and expansion including additional parking areas to house our growing ministry and population.
Colonial Park Church is proud that it has provided six ministerial sons for the Lord’s work; The Reverend M. Thomas Shatto, The Reverend Dr. Bradley A. Brown, The Reverend Todd M. Carter, The Reverend Bradley C. Knepp, The Reverend James E. Weibley, The Reverend Robert Vizthum and The Reverend Mark Shover.
The Colonial Park area continues to expand; and with the continued loyalty and faithfulness of church leaders and members, we will continue to grow into a strong spiritual influence in the life of the community. The faith and foresight of the Conference Missionary and Extension Society have been justified over these 82 years as a vibrant congregation continues to grow.
In 2007, the congregation launched into a brand new vision entitled Dream 20/20. This is a comprehensive plan to take the church into the next five years of ministry with a clear and complete plan to reach the Harrisburg region with the gospel of Jesus Christ. With this new vision comes a desire to see more people come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior through worship, small group ministries, multi-site locations, special needs ministries and an intense advertising plan. In order to become a more regional congregation with multiple sites throughout the greater Harrisburg area, we needed to move away from a geographically centric name to a name that was more reflective of our vision. Therefore, as of January 1, 2007 we became CrossPoint Church at Colonial Park, A United Methodist Community.
The congregation of CrossPoint Church thanks Almighty God and His Son, our Savior, for the joys and victories that have come to it throughout the years. The Church will be great only to the extent that the living Christ abides and operates in the lives of the leaders and of every member and friend. May His benediction rest upon all connected with the life of the church as we LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS AND MAKE DISCIPLES.