Mountaintop Presbyterian Church

History of our Church

The Middle Years: 1929 to 1960

With the completion and dedication of the new church the previous year, 1929 began with hopes of a bright future for our congregation. However, dark days were soon to come. At a congregational meeting on September 9, 1929, Rev. Scott tendered his resignation because of declining health. The Lackawanna Presbytery provided a pension and with the help of friends he built a home in Mountain Top and lived there until his home going in 1936.

The Rev. Creasy J. Hunt answered the call to the church and began his pastoral duties on October 27, 1929. Just two days later the stock market crash occurred. Initially the effects of this event on our community was minimal. In December of 1930 the old church property on Penobscot- White Haven road (now route 437) was sold. By 1931 the church like the rest of the nation experienced the effects of the greatest depression in our history. Though the outlook seemed bleak, Rev. Hunt and the congregation persisted in their mission spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. When the future of our congregation was in doubt, Presbytery intervened and provided substantial financial resources to allow the work of the church to proceed. Rev. Harry Somers, Executive Secretary and Rev. Scott continued to urge the parishioners with their prayers and advice. With the faith, prayers and hard work of the congregation, the church was not only able to survive this difficult time but eventually to thrive and grow.

May 25, 1937 the church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, with addresses by C.K. Gloman of Wilkes-Barre; J Andrew Boy of Ashley; Rev. Robert Graham, Pastor of the parent church, Rev. C. J. Hunt, host pastor and Rev. John Robinson, pastor of the Mountain Top M. E. Church. A reception followed arranged by Mrs. B. J. Swartwood, Mrs. Arthur Davis, J. E. Blower, and H. W. Snyder. The event was hosted by Mrs. Peter Weaver and Mrs. Elmer Wilcox. Two charter members who were still active in the church were presented with floral tributes. Those who held continuous membership in the church were also recognized. Their names and date of membership are as follows:

Eva Swortwood1906 Harold Shafer1913
Minnie Koons1913 Gertrude Snyder1917
Dorothy Thomas1918 Alice Stout1919
Levisa Miller1919 Rembrandt West1920
Evelyn Zearfoss1920 Remond Lyons1920
Theodore Thomas 1922
The memories of those fifty year members who had
gone to be with the Lord were also honored.


Rev. Hunt was called to another pastorate on January 30 1939. On June 6, 1939, the Rev. James Younger was installed as pastor of our church. With his inspired leadership the church continued to thrive. The church building was now ten years old and need for repairs was becoming urgent. A Restoration Drive, directed by Mrs. Enid Buttons, the church members raised more than $1300.00. The furnace was replaced and other minor repairs were made. In 1949 a fund raising drive was begun to pay of the mortgage. This successful effort was celebrated with a mortgage burning service on November 13, 1949. The program, arranged by Mrs. B. J. Swartwood and Mrs. Irvor Breeze, included remarks by Chairman of the Mortgage Committee, J. D. Moyer, Rev. Harry Somers, Rev. Harry Smyrl, Executive Secretary of Presbytery; Rev. Robert Graham, Ashley; Rev. Smyden, Wilkes-Barre and Rev. Younger, host pastor. The Rev. McKenzee, Chairman of the Board of National Missions and Mr. Earl Swartwood, President of Board of Trustees burned the mortgage. Rev. Andrews, pastor of Mountain Top Methodist church closed the service with a benediction On August 7, 1954, the congregation and the Mountain Top community joined with Rev. Younger in mourning the death of his wife, Mary. The health of Rev. Younger deteriorated due to several heart attacks and on August 7, 1954 Rev. Younger retired

The Rev. Duane H. Collins from Douglass Presbyterian Church, Lee Park, Wilkes-Barre, was appointed Moderator of our church until we obtained a new pastor. Under his guidance we were successful in placing a call to the Rev. Ronald B. Thomas of Deposit, New York.

Rev. Thomas accepted the call and with his wife and two children moved to Mountain Top. He was installed as pastor of the Mountain Top Presbyterian Church on Friday evening, June 26, 1959. Rev. Harry Farr, Moderator of Presbytery arranged the order of service. The following ministers took part in the service: Rev. Duane Collins, Wilkes-Barre; Rev. Andrew Pillarella, Pittston; Rev. Dr. Russell Straw, Scranton; Rev. Herbert Pickett, Kingston; Rev. James Powl, Wilkes-Barre; The Rev. Dr. Nathaniel U. McConaughy, general Presbytery, Binghampton-Steuban-Elmira; Rev. Harry P. Farr, Moderator of Presbytery; Rev. Dr. Jules Ayers, First Presbyterian Church, Wilkes-Barre; Rev. James Younger, Pastor Emeritus, Mountain Top Presbyterian Church; Rev. Robert Smyrl, Executive Secretary of Lackawanna Presbytery.

The Rev. B. Thomas pronounced the benediction. Organist was Robert Jones Jr.. Choir leader was Walter Umla Jr. Mrs. B. J. Swartwood presided at a reception that followed the service. The Rev. Thomas was a young man of great ability and an obvious Christian spirit. He gained the love and respect of all with whom he came in contact. Under his strong and inspiring leadership the congregation continued to grow in faith as well as in total numbers. He motivated members of the congregation to explore and use their talents in service to God. During this time the congregation raised over $9000.00 for repairs and renovations to the church building and manse. Rev. Thomas continued to serve our congregation as pastor until 1962.