Confronted by the truth of God’s Word, eighteen people began meeting together for worship in a rustic township building in Washington Township, PA in March. It was March of 1975, and what was eventually to become Hillcrest PCA was forming out of a desire to serve the Lord in a more Biblical way than that which they found in their former denominations.
In July of 1975 the church was organized with thirty-three members and four ruling elders. The Organizing Pastor was Richard Knodel, who had been the pastor of the PCUSA church in Plain Grove. The Church took the name Living Word Presbyterian Church. Within one year the church purchased a house and three acres of property adjacent to State Route 19, and began to plan a church building.
In 1978 Pastor Knodel left to pastor an Orthodox Presbyterian congregation in Syracuse, NY. Later that year the Congregation called Pastor Robert LaMay from Georgia. During Pastor LaMay’s tenure the artisans of the Congregation pulled together and erected a church building with a large room for worship and several smaller rooms for Christian education purposes.
In 1981 Pastor LaMay left to pastor a congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. In 1982 the Congregation called Jerry Maguire, who was then finishing his studies at the RPCNA Seminary in Pittsburgh. Pastor Maguire was ordained in October of 1982 and served until July of 1992 when he was called to a PCA church in Huntington, WV. During his tenure of nearly ten years, Hillcrest saw steady growth in membership and spiritual vitality. During this time the Church also adopted its Purpose Statement, and it changed its name to Hillcrest PCA to avoid confusion with a non-denominational church in New Wilmington that had adopted the name Living Word. During the last years of Pastor Maguire’s ministry, plans were laid for an expansion of the building.
In September of 1993, Irfon Hughes became the fourth pastor of Hillcrest PCA. During his time as pastor, Hillcrest continued to experience growth. A number of new families have joined the Congregation, and we have seen a huge increase in attendance of students from area colleges. The building expansion was completed during the first two years of Pastor Hughes’ ministry, with much of the work being done by the members and friends of the Congregation. Pastor Hughes retired in June of 2008.
In 2002 the ministry of Hillcrest took another step forward with the calling of Chris Copeland to be the Associate Pastor. This has allowed us to expand our ministry to area campuses, as well as to continue to minister to our own members.
By August of 2004 Hillcrest had 158 members and over 80 covenant children. There are four active ruling elders and seven active deacons. When area colleges are in session, there are usually 150 or more college students in attendance. Most of these are students at Grove City College, but students also come from Westminster College and Slippery Rock University. To accommodate this ongoing growth, the Congregation is considering another expansion of its facilities. Included in the plans are a worship room to seat at least 500 people, a large social room, and additional classroom and office space.
In September of 2005, Stephen Tindall began serving as Associate Pastor after Chris Copeland left to take up a teaching call at African Bible College. Stephen served Hillcrest until March of 2007, when he left to take up a call to pastor New Life Presbyterian Church (PCA) in New Jersey.
Hillcrest’s members and regular attenders represent a wide spectrum of backgrounds and occupations, and come from as far away as Franklin, Oil City, and Butler, and as close as Volant, Plain Grove, Grove City, Slippery Rock, Mercer, and New Wilmington. We are united by a love of God and a desire to worship and serve Him as He commands. God has been pleased to provide us with solid, Biblically based preaching over our nearly 30 years as a Church. It is our prayer that the preaching and teaching of God’s Word would always be central to all we do at Hillcrest.