ST. MARYS — Shiloh Presbyterian Church at 217 Washington Street has a mission to “know, grow, go and show” people to personally know God, says the church’s pastor.
The pastorThe Rev. Scott Wiest, who was born in Harrisburg, came to St. Marys 10 years ago, he said. He and his wife, Sharon, are high school sweethearts and have eight children together.
“I had my eye on her since I was 15,” he said.
Wiest, a former sales representative, said he wasn’t always the faith-based man he is now. It took the heart-wrenching experience of his fiance leaving him at the age of 21, to discover his faith in God.
He “came to Christ” around 1983, and not long after, his future wife came back.
Weist got a Bible and many books, beginning to study them, he said. He attended Lancaster Bible College and was ordained in the year 2000.
“I got a great feeling of hope to learn what He wanted me to do,” he said. “I knew He loved me, and He had a job for me.”
The churchThe church is passionate about music, and has a bell choir, pianist, organist, two praise bands, instrument players and musical Easter and Christmas programs held in unity with the Methodist Church.
“We try to work together with the other churches,” Wiest said.
SPC’s youth group starts in the fall, going on a mission trip each summer, sometimes in groups of 30 people, he said. They have worked on other churches, homes and in soup kitchens in Niagara Falls, hurricane recovery in New Jersey, built a ramp for a toddler in need in Tennessee and more.
Adults also travel on mission trips to do things like putting new roofs and porches on houses in New York, Wiest said, while also helping with Elk County homes when needed.
The church’s men’s group, which meets on Thursday nights, grew out of a recovery session, Wiest said. The pastor meeting with a drug addict every day soon turned into a Bible study, now led by the members.
“They know they’re loved and learn the word of God,” he said. “People from other churches come to the Bible study, too.”
SPC’s annual vacation Bible school for small children welcomes anywhere from 30-100 children each year.
A group of deacons at the church also provides help with finances, payments and food to those in need, Wiest said.
HistoryRev. David Hull supplied religious services and urged the building of a church, although there were very few protestants in town at the time, according to a church history. The first SPC was dedicated Jan. 30, 1870, and used for a service in the Sunday school room March 28, 1869.
The cornerstone of the present church was laid October 10, 1990. Rev. J. H. Graybeil became pastor in November, 1892, and served until Oct. 18, 1918, a total of 26 years.
The present church is known for its three large stained-glass windows, made from glass imported from Belgium.
The Shiloh Presbyterian Education Center at the intersection of Washington and Diamond streets contains an assembly room, classrooms, pastor’s study and secretary’s office, dining room, kitchen and additional classroom space, according to the church history.
MissionSPC’s mission is to “Know, Grow, Go and Show” — to know God personally, believe and follow him, Wiest said.
Part of that mission includes the effort of reaching out to the world, not just people within the church.
“We need to go out into the world and listen to people’s problems, and point them to the one who can help them,” he said. “We have to live as believers — not just preach it. We are here to receive healing, follow him and get well.”
SPC’s Sunday worship, a “blended service” with casual dress, is held at 10:30 a.m., welcoming around 70 people, Wiest said.
“We want them to know they’re loved by God, and by us,” he said. “God is able to help. If they’ll turn to him, he will meet them wherever they are.”
Life Matters NowSPC is also a part of the “Life Matters Now” mission to end abortion. People of the church are forming a nonprofit organization to go beyond the county, aiming to have a chapter in every Pennsylvania county, Wiest said.
“We are working with other churches and organizations to end abortion and make adoption easier,” he said.