The history of the organization of every local Church has its own distinctive characteristics. The unique situation with the Elizabethtown First Church of God is that it took so long before it was organized. There were eleven years, which elapsed from the time services were initiated until the Church was organized.
The human founder of the Churches of God, General Conference, Elder John Winebrenner, contributed so very much to the organization of this local congregation.
Mr. Winebrenner had been a pastor in the Salem German Reform Church in Harrisburg, PA, when he was locked out of his church building in 1825. This young pastor was a man with spiritual zeal and dedication to Christ. Infrequently, he would invite those with an evangelical persuasion to speak in his pulpit, a practice that was accepted by some and resented by others. One Sunday morning, he arrived at the church to find that the locks had been changed on the doors. It seems that word had gotten around among those who were not in favor of his ministry, but not to those who were faithful to him. Mr. Winebrenner did not give up in defeat but used the opportunity to conduct an outdoor service along the Susquehanna River. Elder Winebrenner was heralded by many for standing by his convictions in relationship to his evangelical zeal, but at the same time he was criticized through the news media and other means of communication for breaking away from the traditions of the German Reform Church.
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