In Service To God And the Community BALLS MILLS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
TWO hundred years ago the Great Revival was quickening American Christianity. Evidences of new religious vigor appeared in the land. Enthusiasm spread in every direction until most sections of the new nation felt its warmth. The emphasis on personal religion brought many people into the churches. The fervor of the Revival enabled Christianity’s triumph over the on-slaughts of its organizational tensions through its first one hundred years. Near the end of the first century of Christian efforts in America the Balls Mills story begins.
It began in 1860 as a German-speaking congregation of Evangelical Church founded by Jacob Albright. When difficulties arose within the denomination and it broke in two, Balls Mills cast its lot with the United Evangelical Church, smaller of the resulting denominations. In 1946, merger with the United Brethren in Christ brought the Evangelical Association and the Methodist Church in 1968, the congregation was known as the Balls Mills Evangelical United Brethren Church. The details of its origin and development are a story of faith and devotion.
Founders of this congregation were of German origin, many of them but lately arrived from the Palitinate. They had come to America, and thence to Blooming Grove in Lycoming County, to escape religious persecution and the devastation of their farms by frequent wars.
Naturally, they welcomed German-speaking ministers and gave a ready ear to Evangelical circuit riders who could preach to them in their native tongue. Consequently, it was the bond of language that made Blooming Grove a fruitful field of early Evangelical labor and led to the forming of a “class” at Balls Mills in 1860 and the building of a house of worship here in 1867.
The first church was a frame structure, one story in height, measuring 45 by 36 feet. It stood on the east side of the old “Road from Williamsport,” on land purchased from Isaac Ball and his wife, Deborah. Its trustees were John Phillip Lehman and David Mutchler, each of whom has descendants still worshiping at Balls Mills.
With renovations and enlargements made from time to time, this church served the congregation until 1932. It was the converted into a community hall , and on Dec. 4, 1932, the growing congregation moved into a newly constructed home of brick.
This beautiful and well-appointed building stands about 100 yards north of the original church, at the junction of the Blooming Grove Road and Hepburnville-to-Warrensville Road, Route 973. It is situated on land purchased at a price of $500.