Mizpah Moravian Church
“A new line is about to be thrown out in the direction of home mission effort by this wide-awake congregation,” Bethania’s pastor, Br. Edward S. Crosland, reported in the April 1895 Wachovia Moravian . “The inauguration of the new movement will be under the enthusiastic leadership of Bro. Flavius Lash.”
And so that spring, only a year after starting Alpha Chapel on the Rural Hall road, Flavius Lash commenced a Sunday school in the Wolff School House on the Tobaccoville road about 2 1/2 miles north of Bethania.
“MIZPAH,” headlined the January 1896 Wachovia Moravian , and Br. Crosland explained, “This is the name of Bethania’s newest chapel.” By then it also had a new place of worship on land given by Thomas and Frances Stauber Moser on the aptly named Mizpah Church Road. The 25 by 40 foot building, “well finished” and “very neat,” was completed Christmas Eve 1895, a week before Mizpah’s first Christmas program on December 30.
Revival services the following summer brought a large increase of membership so that on Sunday, September 13, 1896, Bishop Edward Rondthaler consecrated the new church and formally organized the congregation as a branch of Bethania.
Very early on, Mizpah adopted a practice that its mother congregation, Bethania, used to raise funds: a lawn party or supper. At Mizpah they became “famous” events, and the practice stretched at least into the 1950’s.
Where Mizpah thrived, Alpha Chapel slowly withered. Finally in 1932 the chapel building was moved to Mizpah, where it was attached to the church to serve as Mizpah’s Sunday school and fellowship hall. That arrangement served until the 1950’s when Mizpah built a brick Sunday school building. Still growing, Mizpah got its first full-time pastor when Charles W. Fishel was called in 1963. By the 1970’s the original 1895 sanctuary had served its purpose. It was demolished to make way for a new 350-seat sanctuary with classrooms and office space, which was dedicated on January 18, 1976.
Mizpah’s “100-year love affair” of serving the Lord continues today, following its centennial celebrations culminating on anniversary Sunday, September 10, 1996.