Leisenring, Pa., a mining village named after John Leisenring, dates back to March 17, 1880, when William Carroll struck the first shaft, thus beginning it’s history.
The operation was started by the Connellsville Coke and Iron Company, promoted by E. K. Hydman, a superintendent of the Pittsburgh division of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. J. K. Taggart was general superintendent when the shafts at Leisenring 1 2 and 3 were started. John A. Esser was superintendent in charge at Leisenring 1, and due mostly to his efforts, the Leisenring Presbyterian Church was built. In the Autumn of 1881, a Sunday school was started, with John A. Esser as superintendent and George Fueher as treasurer. There was no regular minister until 1884. Reverend A. J. Herries came as a supply and also taught a select school. Leisenring Presbyterian church was organized with fifteen members and two elders, John A. Esser and James Eaton, on June 20, 1885. Reverend A. J. Herries was installed as pastor on May14, 1885, and preached until September 1, 1885. It was not thought advisable to build a large church, but the matter was brought to the attention of E. B. Leisenring, who secured an annual appropriation for the support of both Leisenring Presbyterian church and the Chapel at Leisenring 2, which was still being paid by the H. C. Frick Coke Company in 1925. Ministers succeeding Rev. Herries and how long they served are listed:
Rev. H. C. Morledge, June 1886 -September 1889
Rev. Jordan, October 1889- March 1892
Rev. B. E. Prugh, April 1892-April 1893
Rev. D. M. Lyle, June 1898-June 1900
Rev. J. C. Lane, 1901-1902
Rev. William Squire, May 1903-May 1904
Various supply ministers filled in until June 1910
Rev. H. H. Ryland, June 1910-1912
Rev. A. L. Medcalf, December 1912-1916
Rev. Wilson Sloan, July 1916-April 1919
Various supply ministers filled in until April 1920
Rev. William Hamilton, 1920- March 1923
Various supply ministers until January 1925
In February of 1924, the Leisenring Presbyterian Church burned to the ground, and a new church was erected on the grounds.
The new church was dedicated on May 3, 1925. W. A. Martin, supply pastor, preached the sermon for the ceremony, with Rev. John L. Proudfit, pastor of the
Connellsville Presbyterian church as moderator. The combined Leisenring churches continued to grow, being served by supply pastors.
Rev. William Dinsmore, of Vanderbilt, was called as pastor of the two churches until April 1929.
On May 30, 1929, Rev, William Hamilton returned, and he remained until May 14, 1947, when he retired.
The churches were again without a regular pastor, until Thomas Redick arrived and served from June 1949 to August 1951.
A student pastor, Lawrence Glover, began serving the Leisenring churches and the Dunbar Presbyterian Church while going to Seminary in 1951. The Glover
family lived in the Dunbar Manse. Mr. Glover started serving the West Leisenring Church in June 1952. On July 22, Rev. Glover was ordained and installed to the three churches.
In April 1955, the two Leisenring churches separated, and the West Leisenring Presbyterian Church was formed.
Rev. Glover served the three churches as pastor until September 1955, leaving to go to a new church in Granite City, Illinois. The churches were then supplied by students, among them James Geisey, J. B. Adams, and John Winnet.
In October 1955, plans were discussed as to forming a larger Parish. This was to include Leisenring, West Leisenring, Dunbar, Laurel Hill, and Tyrone Presbyterian church, all small congregations.
On April 16, 1956, a request was sent to Redstone Presbytery for an extended call for Robert Zorn, as associate pastor of the new Parish. Rev. Zorn was ordained and installed at Tyrone, his home church. Rev. Charles Eble was called as “Director of the Parish”, and was installed May 10, 1957. The Parish was to be called “Pleasant Hills Parish”, and consisted
of five aforementioned churches.
Keith Darr Briggs was ordained and installed on June 19, 1958, as associate director, serving the Parish and particularly the youth of the churches, until March, 1960,
He left in 1960 to go to the First United Presbyterian Church
in Galion Ohio, where he served for five years. He then left Galion to
go to Iran.
In May 1961, Rev. Charles Eble left the Pleasant Hills Parish and we were without a permanent pastor until June 1962, when Wendell Harford answered our call. He remained until August 1965. In June of 1962 and until 1964, Miss Jane Jobes was with the churches as Christian education worker, living in the West Leisenring manse. As an associate to Rev. Harford, Rev. John Mather was called in march, 1965. Rev. Harford left the Parish in August 1965 to go to Washington Presbytery. In March of 1966, Bethelboro Presbyterian Church was taken into the Parish, making a total of six churches.
In February, Rev. Mather left the Parish to become associate pastor of the Freemont Avenue Presbyterian Church in the Pittsburgh Presbytery.
After an absence of two years, during which the Parish was served by Seminary students and supply ministers, Rev. Max. House was installed in February 1970, as Field Minister and Director of the Pleasant Hills Parish. Rev. House, as Director, was the first minister of Leisenring church to have women pastors as associates.
Rev. Carol Dilly was ordained and installed Feb. 3, 1974, in the Pleasant Hills Parish. She left In February of 1976 to go back to school to work for her Ph.D. Rev. Marie Henry was ordained October 24, 1976, and installed December 21, 1976. In 1981 Presbytery ceased funding the field ministries and Marie Henry became our sole pastor until August of 1982 when she moved to California. During Rev. henry’s tenure as Pastor the church developed a rather active Youth ministry for both children and young adults.
In September of 1982 Rev. Anthony Cicone was installed as Pulpit Supply and remained with our church until January 31 1985. Rev. Cicone’s largest contribution to our ministry was the founding of the Food Bank that the church sponsors. From September of 1985 until August of 1986 our pulpit was filled by Scott Bunting who was a student at Pittsburgh Seminary.
After Scott left from 1986 until 1988 we were served by a number of supply pastors including Bill Lawson, Nick Beatty & Rev. Gnatuk.
Rev. Thomas Gilliland was installed as our pastor in 1988 and served here until February of 1992 when he left to become a missionary to the Maori Tribes. While Tom was here the church installed the ceiling fans in the Sanctuary, and put new siding on the building.
Tom was followed by Rev. Jane Young who served here from October 11 1992 until August of 1998. Rev. Young introduced the Hanging of the Greens service at Advent which quickly became a church tradition.
Since 1998 we have been served by Rick Watson , a Certified lay preacher. Rick was commissioned in 2000 and continues to serve our church as a lay pastor. It has been an exciting time for our church over the past several years. It is our goal to reach out to everyone in the community (both young and old). It is our goal to find new and different ways to keep everyone involved in our church and proclaiming the Good News Of Jesus Christ. We started a Youth Choir to compliment the existing Adult Choir, & began to hold Lenten Dinners and services. A suggestion was made that these services should be extended through the year. Thus began the “monthly fellowship covered dish dinners.” In 1999 we had a new roof installed on the building and also had a new electrical entrance and breaker box put in to replace the old fuse box. In the summer of 1999 the basement was completely refinished with volunteer labor, including painting the walls, renovating the kitchen cabinets, tiling the hallway to the bathroom and adding a number of decorative touches. The church has continued to sponsor the Food Bank. This ministry reaches out to serve an average of 40 to 50 families per month.
Since 2004 the church has reached out to the youth of the community through its newly created Sunday School Program. We are especially thankful for our vacation bible camp which has been in existence since 2005. What started out with only 11 youth in attendance has continued to grow! In 201036 youth attended our vacation bible camp. As part of our community outreach the church has also sponsored youth Halloween parties for the past several years. We also have audio tapes of our worship services. This project has been going on since January of 2005.
The congregation has grown to 25 enthusiastic members. We look forward to serving God and the community for many years to come.