The humble beginnings of Cedar Avenue Church of God can be traced to 1906 when the Brothers and Sister of Love, pioneering saints with roots in First Baptist Church in Farrell, Pennsylvania, met in homes, later settling into a small building bordering the communities of Sharon, Pennsylvania and Farrell.
In 1908, while the rest of the nation celebrated the first time a ball was droppedin New York City signifying the new year, this group of saints set a landmark as they affiliated with the Church of God, anchoring their faith to God's promise of their destiny. A Reformation Movement, now with headquarters in Anderson Indiana, the Church of God took on a rippling effect, now with numerous churches in every state in the U.S. as well as strong witness in many world nations.
Located since 1914 at 1045 Cedar Avenue in Sharon, from its origin, Cedar Avenue Church of God grew in 1916, cast a vision for the Church of God Campgrounds in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania. Some saints mortgaged their homes to buy the land that would make the campground an annual camp meeting, hosting the headquarters of the National Association of the Church of God, a group of African-American Church of God congregations.
In 1923, the present building on Cedar Avenue was constructed. Subsequently, other major building projects ensued, resulting in the present fellowship hall, Sunday School rooms and other needed facilities. Later, a new parsonage was completed, as well as other building projects that gave the church a new interior and exterior architectural structure, plus the present sanctuary and expansion of the office and Sunday School areas.
More recently, the congregation witnessed completion of a paved parking lot with new sidewalks; a outdoor basketball court; two new marquees; a food pantry; fellowship hall restroom renovations; and cnew arpeting and air conditioning, also in the fellowship hall.
Pastors who, through the years were instrumental in the formation of this great church, many of whom gave stellar, sacrificial leadership, were the Rev. Priscilla Wimbush, the Rev. Ida M. English Ard, the Rev. William Blackburn, the Rev. Purnell White, the Rev. G.R. Dixon, the Rev. J.L. Blake, the Rev. J. Bonner, the Rev. L.M. Turner, the Rev. Hattie Smoot, the Rev. J.W. Butler, the Rev. Grace Irby, the Rev. I.W. Mitchell, Sr., the Rev. Thomas J. Sawyer, the Rev. Noah W. White, Jr., the Rev. Dr. Michael A. Smith, the Rev. Dr. Angel De La Cruz and now, the Rev. Charles W. Johnson, Jr., a visionary shepherd.
Besides a host of ministers who greatly influenced the historic Cedar Avenue Church of God, the church itself had a profound impact on its surrounding community, giving birth through its ministry of Bible-based doctrine and stong family values to many successful persons, including doctors, nurses, health care providers, attorneys, musicians, skilled artisans, educators, pastors, patented inventors, writers, builders, corporate executives, administrators and entrepreneurs, some of whom were, and yet others still are, instrumental to the spiritual and temporal success of the Shenango Valley and other areas of the world.
Besides the church's witness as a congregation with spirited preaching, loving fellowship, vibrant education and purposeful outreach, Cedar Avenue has made great strides toward fostering a sense of continuity and identity between earlier generations and contemporary methods of worship from hymns and anthems to rap and mime, all performed in an anointed spirit of praise.
In that same spirit, through the years, the church has added fresh vitality to the life of the community in many of its programs, including a former mission of the late 1970s, serving Idaho Street, in the heart of Farrell's most disadvantaged area; Adopt-A-Block; Community Fun/Health Fest; the Food Pantry; Sunday School and Van Ministry; Vacation Bible School; Youth Fellowship; Mime Team; Super Senior programs including the Golden Agers with its inception in the 1930s and the former sewing and Prayer Warriors groups; Nursing Home Ministry; Children's Ministry events including the annual hygiene forums, multicultural extravaganzas and Bible story parties; the former Trois "L" Club of the 1950s for young women; Women of the Church of God and the C.O.F.F.E.E. (Conquering Our Failures through Friends, Education and Empowerment) ministries; the Men's Organization that supported food ministries and offered volunteer building and home repairs, as well as the Tuesday Morning Prayer Group, the latter being a time of fellowship with men of Second Baptist Church, Farrell; and the Hospitality Committee, who faithfully prepare for special events and funerals at the church, some of which serve families who are affiliate members.
As a testament to the sustaining hand of God throughout our 100 years, we look ahead in faith to the building of the Family Life Center. The journey continues as, led by Pastor Johnson, Cedar Avenue Church of God is continuing to do great things and "Inspiring Hope For a Brighter Future", for ourselves in our mission to soar toward our destiny as we seek and do God's will; and for the community, as we continually seek ways to equip and empower families, making the Shenango Valley a more vibrant place in which to live.