"A Planting of the Lord"
A Brief History of Shamokin Gospel Tabernacle/ Mountainside Assembly of God
The seeds of the Shamokin Gospel Tabernacle were planted in 1936 when the Eastern District of the Assemblies of God felt from the Lord to plant a church in Shamokin. Having taken a leave of absence from the church in Lewistown, pioneer Rev. Handy Christopher was appointed for the task, and preparations were made to sow seed. The Lord had something wonderful in store.
In the month of June, 1936, a tent was erected at Arch and Third Streets for the purpose of holding revival services. These services represented, to the best of our knowledge, the first Pentecostal services ever held in Shamokin, and though there was early opposition from some in the community, services were well attended, and a rich harvest was reaped. Within 3 ½ months attendance at the nightly services had risen to about 50 souls, and the manifestation of the Lord's power was great.
As the weather grew colder, the tent became an unsuitable meeting place. The fledgling congregation sought a more permanent place of meeting, and the Independence Fire Hall served this purpose for a short while. At the end of October, Rev. Christopher left the work and it was placed into the capable hands of Rev. Howard Hardt, from Hagerstown, Maryland.
After lots of clean up by the congregation, the newly formed Shamokin Gospel Tabernacle held its first official service in the PP&L Garage (behind Rite Aid) on Thanksgiving Day, 1936. Attendance at the first service reached 200. In the spring of 1937, a storefront on Market and High Streets was rented and services began with an orchestra, and Sunday School enrollment of 157. The first baptismal service was held at the pond at Sleepy Hollow in 1937.
The church was incorporated in 1939, and an official board was elected. In 1940, Rev. Hardt resigned and the Lord called Rev. Harold Snelgrove to Shamokin. Brother Snelgrove was from St. John's, Newfoundland, and pastored here until April 1942.
Rev. James Vigna, a former missionary to China, known for his humility and tireless visitation, arrived as pastor later in 1942. The church would again move to a building on Spruce and Fifth Streets. In 1946, Pastor Vigna was called to return to China to continue his missions work.
The church purchased the building on the corner of Market and Pine Streets in 1947, and the humble andbeloved William Wallace became pastor. Brother Wallace resigned in 1951, and John Tubbs became our pastor. Pastor Tubbs was a visionary who saw the need for the church to have larger facilities, and in 1953 the cornerstone for a new church building was laid at Spruce and Market Streets. By 1955 the new building was completed, along with a new parsonage. Brother Tubbs continued as pastor until 1956, when the Lord called Peter Bedzyk.
Brother Bedzyk was a prayer warrior, and the church matured during his ministry which lasted until 1963. The Lord called LaVerne Clute to pastor here in 1963. His powerful and penetrating messages, which were aired on the radio, sustained the church during the turbulent days our nation experienced in the late 1960's.
In late 1969 the Lord sent Jack Bremigen to serve as pastor, and his sincere ministry lasted until 1971, when the Lord called the willing and vibrant Paul Peck. When Brother Peck left in 1975, the Lord called Roscoe Sloyer. This easy going man lived what he preached and was well-liked, remaining until 1978. In 1978 Lenny Corliss had a brief, but sincere time of ministry among us, and was replaced later that year by Larry Rohm, who remained until 1982.
In 1982 the Lord called Kenneth Bear to be our shepherd, and his strong preaching did the church much good. When Brother Bear left in 1985, he was replaced by the compassionate Stephen Roser, who remained for 8 years. He began an influential radio program which did much good in the community. The church grew and began a large building program during those years, purchasing 25 acres on Trevorton Road, and built a large new facility, renaming the church Mountainside Assembly of God. When Pastor Roser left to take the church in Bethlehem in 1993 the Lord sent Raymond James to be our shepherd. Brother James was a strong preacher and ministered here until late 1997.
Pastor Richard Earl and family were sent here in 1998 from Long Island, NY. Pastor Earl led the church into a period of strong growth and community involvement. Mountainside became more engaged with other local churches, and numerous powerful prayer events and outreaches were held. Pastor Earl was a strong teacher and the church developed in wisdom, unity and grace under his leadership. Pastor Earl transitioned into coaching in early 2018 after 20 years of ministry at Mountainside.
Pastor Micheal Todd Goodling and family arrived in June of 2018. Michael Goodling, a native of Duncannon, PA, has been in active ministry since 1984. He not only has an effective record of pastoral ministry with other churches in Pennsylvania, but his family also served as special assignment missionaries to the Kingdom of Swaziland in southern Africa. He believes in one basic human right: to receive an adequate presentation of the Gospel. His basic daily philosophy is to Live the Word, Love the Lost, and Leave a Legacy.
Mountainside remains a planting of the Lord with a glorious past filled with powerful visitations of God. Hundreds of souls have come to salvation and filled with the Holy Spirit at our altars, and been discipled in our classrooms and around the fellowship table. Who, but God, can measure the fruit that has been produced? To God be the glory for what He has done! We trust Him to sustain us for even more fruitful service until Jesus comes.