02 May Christian Life Assembly – Camp Hill, PA
On June 6, 1979, a meeting was held with Rev. Philip Bongiorno and Rev. Parker B. Hayes regarding the start of a new Assembly of God church in the Camp Hill area. On Wednesday, June 13, 1979, a church service with 32 people in attendance was held at the garage of Dave Kyllonen. The congregation had their first Sunday service at the Dutch Pantry Restaurant in Camp Hill (where Friendly’s is now located) on June 17, 1979 with 41 in attendance. Rev. Parker B. Hayes, was the home missions director at the time, and he conducted services until a pastor could be selected. Each Sunday morning, the pastor had to get to the restaurant basement early, to clean up the banquet room tables of their dirty ashtrays and set up the chairs for the service. Sometimes the smell of food cooking upstairs in the restaurant made for a very long service. Midweek services continued at the home of Dave Kyllonen. Cyril Chegwin was chosen as Christian Life’s first pastor and his first Sunday was August 5, 1979. On May 4, 1980, the church was named sovereign (they were now their own independent body rather than a home missions church receiving support from the district) and continued to worship there until July of 1980. In the spring of 1980, we moved into a warehouse on Trindle Road (where New Hope Ministries is now located). The warehouse was renovated for a sanctuary, classrooms, and nursery facilities.
As the church continued to grow, a great need for larger facilities was soon realized, and the little church on Slate Hill Road along Route 15 was purchased (now a Korean Church). Services began on January 3, 1982 with a dedication service held on May 30, 1982. We had our very first mortage burning on July 17, 1983 for the loan taken out on the church parking lot.
After being with the congregation for several years, Cyril Chegwin felt led to go out into evangelistic ministry with his wife, Marlene. Pastor Wislocky was elected the new pastor of Christian Life Assembly and his first Sunday was on September 12, 1982. Soon the congregation outgrew the small sanctuary at the Slate Hill Road Church, and the West Shore School District allowed the church to rent the adjacent Allen Middle School auditorium for its Sunday services.
In 1984, property on Lisburn Road became available so the church board inquired about it and made an offer. Unfortunately, there was another church looking at the property, so the board had to act quickly. The church board went ahead and made an offer on the land before they were able to tell the congregation about it. If the congregation didn’t agree about purchasing the land, the deacon board would soon find themselves owning property. Fortunately, the congregation agreed that the property was a good location to build their “church on the hill” and Pastor Wislocky asked the congregation to participate in a Miracle Sunday on February 5, 1984 where everyone was asked to sacrifice to help purchase the property. Over 57 thousand dollars was collected in monies and pledges to purchase the land. In the spring of 1984, construction began on Lisburn Road and the first services were held on September 15, 1985. Everyone entered the new building after participating in a parade from the Allen Middle School going up the hill to the new church. It was quite exciting! The dedication of the new facility was held on October 13, 1985.
The church continued to grow and a need for educational classes was soon realized. In April of 1989, a loan was taken out to build a new Christian Education and Christian Life Center addition. Sacrificial Sunday began in August 1990 (still in place to this day to help pay off the mortgage), with the church tithes and offerings once a month going to pay off the debt on the church property. We moved into the new wing in 1990. We also added additional parking in 1992.
In April of 1995, the congregation came through again, raising 200 thousand to purchase an additional adjacent 20 acres which had become available. Another mortgage burning for the Christian Life Center and Christian Ed building was held on June 15, 1997.
On October 18, 1998, there was another Miracle Day offering to raise monies for a new youth and multi-purpose building. This offering allowed the congregation to raise enough funds without incurring any new debt. The building was completed in the summer of 1999.
Pastor Paul celebrated his 20th year with the church on September 26, 2002 and a special service was held.
As the years went on with God’s continued blessings and growth, the church built its existing sanctuary, administrative offices and additional classrooms in 2004. We moved in on September 5, 2004 and dedication was held on October 24, 2004. The children’s wing was redone as “Kids Town” in 2006.
Sadly, in March 2006, Pastor Wislocky announced his retirement and his last service was in January of 2007. Pastor Wayde Wilson, who had previously been on staff as an associate pastor to singles, was elected as the new lead pastor of Christian Life Assembly and began in 2007. He remained the lead pastor until October of 2013.