The History of Paxton Church

The history of Paxton United Methodist Church begins not with one church, but with three.  The union of Sixth Street, Trinity, and Paxton United Methodist Churches started in 1968 at the Sixth Street Church. The Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist Churches were soon to unite in Dallas to become the modern day United Methodist Church. For Sixth Street Church, this meant that within a span of less than two city blocks, there would now be two United Methodist Churches. Sixth Street and Camp Curtin. Early on in the process, it had been hoped that the Camp Curtin congregation would be willing to move into the Sixth Street building, however, it became increasingly evident that this would not be an option. As a result, Sixth Street began to explore other avenues.

Two were considered: Spend the money to repair the present structure which was then 60 years old or build a new structure at a more beneficial location. After much soul-searching, the decision was made to move. With the capable leadership of Pastor Howard Smith and lay leader Harry Powell, several prospective sites were discussed. Most were located within a small area of Susquehanna Township. Since there was already a United Methodist Church located within the proposed area, it was suggested that both churches could join in this venture. The other church was Paxton.

Thus began the meetings with the people of Paxton Church. The projected cost of the new building was conservatively placed at $500,000. In any undertaking of this magnitude, money is always a concern. To help mitigate financial concerns, another component was asked to join in the venture, Trinity Church. Although the members of Trinity had already voted to disband, the remaining members were invited to be a part of this union. Between this additional membership and the monies received from the sale of Sixth Street and its building, a fund of over $100,000 was created to initiate the process of establishing a new church building.
On April 17, 1970, seventeen members from the three churches attended a meeting at the home of District Superintendent, Dr. Martin Hopkins, for the purpose of nominating members from all three former churches to staff the new church. A charge conference was held on June 24, 1970, to discuss the logistics of the union and the leadership of this new church. On July 1, 1970 Paxton United Methodist Church was formed.

Not long after, on March 17th 1974, the new building was dedicated at its current location at 3550 North Progress, Ave in Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

That same year, on May 12th 1974, the first church service was held, and services continue to this day!