For three decades, five United Methodist churches near Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania informally entertained a vision of combining their resources to become more effective in their discipleship and witness to Jesus Christ.
In 2007 those churches - Bethel, Milwaukee, Newton, Ransom and Schultzville - prayerfully and methodically began to examine that vision. By the end of the year four churches said “yes” to becoming the newest United Methodist congregation in Northeast Pennsylvania.
In 2008 the constituting churches—Milwaukee, Newton, Ransom, and Schultzville—began the hard work of organizing for ministry as one congregation, while Bethel made plans for new and exciting ministry on its own. The ‘new’ congregation elected to call itself Countryside Community Church, A United Methodist Fellowship; and it’s first worship service was held Sunday, July 6, 2008 at the former Newton campus. More than 160 people attended that first service, which was covered by local newspapers and television stations.
On Sunday, May 22, 2011 we held a "Groundbreaking Service" at the site of our current building with more than 150 people in attendance. During this joyful celebration service, we enjoyed wonderful music by our choir and sincere encouragement from our District Superintendent Beth Jones. Keith Eckel, our Church Administrative Council chair, gave an interesting historical background of our merger process and Pastor Jean-Pierre Duncan led us in a very moving worship service, which included the spreading of the ashes of prayers written by our congregation and posted in our sanctuary since our merger. Every person attending was able to help hallow our church building site by taking ashes and distributing them wherever they chose on the site. Each person was also given the opportunity to dig into the earth which became the foundation of our new church building. After the service, we returned to the Newton Campus for a delicious luncheon and had a chance to share our dreams for the future of Countryside Community Church.