Warren church welcomes new pastor

Sunday luncheon to honor Rev. David Luther

WARREN — In the absence of a pastor, McKinley Community Church, 1524 Elm Road NE, has used retired ministers during the past year to bring messages to their congregation with one of those ministers being the Rev. David Luther.

Luther, who had retired after 18 years from Christ Memorial Baptist Church in Warren, was officially installed Jan. 6 as the new interim pastor for the church, which is 97 years old.

The deaconesses of the church will have a luncheon on Sunday to officially welcome the new pastor.

Luther spent four years in the U. S. Navy during the Vietnam War as a mineman, attaining the rank of Second-Class Petty Officer.

Before coming to the church, Luther served for 34 years in the ministry, serving two years as a youth pastor in Youngstown before pastoring independent Baptist churches in Enterprise, W.Va., and Warren.

In addition to pastoring at the church, Luther conducts weekly Bible study at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, is a chaplain of the American Legion Post 700 in Howland and is 1st Lt. in the Civil Air Patrol at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

The church was established in 1921 and incorporated in 1933.

Janice Griffith, who compiled a history on the church, said in 1921, there were several churches in Warren, but it was felt there was a need for one on Elm Road.

The church was organized as a Sunday school on the steps of the McKinley School building on Elm Road in June, 1921. From this came the name of the church.

Central Christian Church gave two lots to the congregation, but later these lots were exchanged for the lots where the church building now stands.

On Aug. 25, 1935, the church membership had grown to 166. There were about 90 charter members at this time.

At the annual congregational meeting in November 1967, the membership voted to remodel the interior of the church and in 1968, the interior was ready for dedication. Just over five years later, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebration as a Christian church, the remodeling mortgage was burned.

Over the years, the Ladies Aid group has been a very important organization to provide support to the church in purchasing items.

There have been memorials including the installation of Chime Master carillon bells in 2006. The selections are played at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. each day. Another memorial is the dove on the circular window at the front of the church and inside the church is a lighted stained glass picture with a cross and dove. And over the past five years, all windows have been converted to stained glass by David Hughes of Cortland.

Since January 1998, the Rev. John H. Griffith has served as pastor. Griffith has attended McKinley Community Church since he was about 2 years old.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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