Our present church building was dedicated to the Glory of God and consecrated by Bishop F. Herbert Skeete, resident Bishop of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church at a service of worship on May 15, 1983. The District Superintendent, the Reverend Dr. B. Burns Brodhead, assisted the Bishop in that service.
Our present congregation traces its origin directly to a meeting held on March 13, 1902, in the home of J. F. Bast, of 37 St. John Street, with Dr. William McDowell, District Superintendent, in attendance. His later report to the Annual Conference indicated that on the above date, he organized a new society in Schuylkill Haven. Also, that they had bought a lot and were making arrangements for the erection of a building. He described the new enterprise as "starting with great vigor, 72 members received on probation, and appointment of a pastor requested." Among this group and others added within a few days, were the names of Snayberger, Bast, Thomas, Becker, Bowen, Dowdle, Boyer, Reed, Kerschner, Emerich and Freed.
Rhoda Thomas Pritchard and Ruth Thom Rutter were the first persons baptized in the church. Charles Lendle and Alice Susan Berger were the first couple married in the church.
On Easter Sunday, March 30, 1902, Reverend Charles T. Isenberger preached his first sermon in Metamora Hall. (This Hall is located above the Detweiler Funeral Home.) Under his leadership, the group forged ahead and our beloved St. John Street Church was built, with dedication taking place on November 9, 1902. The building cost $7,000. Within a few years, a new parsonage was provided and the mortgage on the church was burned.
On November 19, 1980, about 8:45 a.m., a fire of unknown origins ignited the main church structure on St. John Street, resulting in its total destruction. Many church members tearfully witnessed the disappearance of our beloved church that had served us so well for 78 years, through worship services, weddings, baptisms, confirmations, lay witness missions, and sacred concerts. The reality of the total loss of our facilities caused expressions of disbelief and dismay, and underneath the varied emotions, there arose a determination to rebuild and go on.
On March 1, 1981, the congregation voted to proceed with planning for construction of a new church. George Kulp was appointed Building Committee Chairman, and with his committee of interested members, set about selecting an architect and a type of church facility that would suit the needs of the congregation. Preliminary drawings for the First United Methodist Church to be built on a 4.132 acre site on Saylor Street were presented to the congregation on June 1, 1981, by Don Klinger Architect, of Millersburg. They chose a colonial style brick. The anticipated completion date was set at April 3, 1983.
A Building Fund Campaign took place under the guidance of Juanita Locker Ivie, of the Board of Global Ministries from October 8th to the 21st. Dr. Herbert C. Rubright, Sr., served as general chairman for the Executive Committee for the Christian Responsibility Fund Campaign. By the grace of God, the congregation known as the First United Methodist Church of Schuylkill Haven, moved into the new facility DEBT FREE!!!
Since 1983, the church has added 28 parking spaces, thus having the largest parking lot of any church in Southern Schuylkill County area. We have added a large enclosed sound proof comfort room at the rear of the sanctuary thus allowing families with young children to worship in a relaxing environment and atmosphere. The sanctuary was also enhanced with a large wooden Lord's Supper Mural which graces the rear wall of the sanctuary. It is well known and people come from other congregations to view it.
In 1992, the church added an early service of worship (8:00 a.m.) to accommodate our growing numbers and provide multiple occasions of worship. In February of 1997, an additional worship service - a Saturday night Contemporary Service was started.
Since 1902, with the appointment of our first Pastor, Reverend Isenberger followed by the 28 pastors who have since served our church, including our present Pastor, the Reverend Doctor Christopher Fisher, appointed in 2005, we have experienced continued growth, spiritually, missionally, and in fellowship. In our history we have had one associate pastor, Reid S. Thomas, Jr., appointed for a short length of service. We have had several youth directors since 1994.
A request from the Tower South (High Rise) Tenants Council was made to our church to provide a regular traditional worship service for the residents of the facility in order to minister to the spiritual needs of those unable to attend regular church services. As a result of that request, in June of 2009, a Sunday evening worship service was added and is held at the Tower South on Parkway in Schuylkill Haven. In 2014, we turned the organization of this ministry over to the Tower South Council.
In 2016, the church added an elevator for use by those in need.
In 2019, the church combined the 8:00 a.m. traditional and the 10:30 a.m. contemporary services into one 9:00 a.m. blended service. Also added was a 4:00 p.m. GenZ service to reach the younger generations.
In March of 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the church began live-streaming the Sunday morning service. At this time, the Saturday evening and GenZ services were put on hold. In late summer of 2020, the Saturday evening service resumed and a new service = the Haven Family eXperience (A Family Worship Experience) also known as the FX service was started as an outreach to the community on a Sunday morning at 11:00 am and was held at Bubeck Park in Schuylkill Haven and moved to Fellowship Hall In November due to the colder weather.
As you can see, God has been good and generous and faithful to us. We hope to be faithful to the blessings we have received. We also want to pass on the gift of faith and hope to a generation yet unborn. Praise be to God!