“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22: 37-38
In 1984, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church determined that a new church was needed in the Exton-Lionville area to accommodate a rapidly growing population. A five-acre parcel land was purchased, and the Rev. Gordon E. Hendrickson was assigned the responsibility of gathering a congregation, performing worship services, and coordinating all phases of church development. Seven families met in a conference room of the Holiday Inn on route 100 for our first worship service on September 16, 1984.
By sheer faith and determination, our fledging congregation decided to actively pursue our dream of church building, and then suddenly we were presented with an extremely generous and most precious gift. Members of the United Methodist Church of Centralia were aware of our dream. Forced to close their own doors due to uncontrollable fires in the coal mines beneath their town and the surrounding area, they willingly donated a portion of their financial estate as well as the entire contents of their church to our new church start
The Centralia Memorial Chapel, today, is a living testimony to the faith that transcends history period since moving into our current building in 1986, we have had two building additions to accommodate our growth period these additions have included several classrooms, offices, storage areas, and the community life center. We praise God for this multifunction area that allows us flexibility in the use of space at Exton UMC.
Carl Houston accepted Christ as Lord and Savior in year 1974 as a result of being involved in VBS, Sunday school and the Choir. Prior to 2016, Carl was an active member of Haven Peniel UMC as a Christ Servant, Finance Chair, and U.M. Men’s Chair. In 2016, he received his calling which led to Pastoral Leadership after completing the LLP program. Carl is currently enrolled at Palmer Theological Seminary / Eastern University Dual Degree Program, where in the Fall 2023 he will meet the requirements to receive a Masters in Divinity & Masters in Business Administration. He works full time as a Property Accountant and Financial Consult. His passion is preaching & teaching the word of GOD. He lives his life holding on to Jeremiah 29:10-11. 10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
Diana began attending Exton United Methodist Church in 1993 and was married here in 1994. After working for 28 years in the corporate world, she took a position as a teacher’s assistant in 2003 when her son began attending preschool at our Great Beginnings Preschool and Kindergarten. In 2005, Diana became our Church Administrator and has been doing the job she enjoys ever since. Diana is responsible for monitoring the facility’s upkeep and also
communicating with both the pastor and the church leadership. She is in communication with the preschool director for issues related to daily operation of the school also.
Diana grew up in West Chester and is married with two grown children.
Joe Gehring has been with the church since 2004, playing piano, leading the choir for special music services, and coordinating the service projections and live streaming programs. Joe is also Music Department Chair and Director of Ensembles at Immaculata University where he is the conductor of the Immaculata Symphony and the Immaculata Concert Band. In addition, he teaches courses in music theory, music history, conducting, and orchestration. He is also the Music Director of the West Chester Band and the Chesco Pops Orchestra. Joe graduated from West Chester University with his undergraduate degree in Music Education and a Master of Music Performance in Orchestral Conducting. He is currently completing Immaculata University’s doctoral program in higher education with dissertation research focused on music performance anxiety.
Jeff Beideman, Director of Contemporary Worship (firstname.lastname@example.org) Jeff grew up in the Souderton area of Pennsylvania but has lived in this area for many years. He feels his musical and spiritual growth are both rooted in his family, church, and schooling. His musical experience includes learning the trumpet, piano, and guitar, as well as, singing in various choirs, choruses, and musical theater companies over the years. “Music is my comfort zone,” Jeff says. Jeff’s involvement in musical worship began many years ago when he was involved in the Praise Team at his two previous churches, playing the guitar and singing. He started here at Exton United Methodist Church in 2011 with a merger of churches that teamed him with Joe Gerhring, the other music director. Jeff’s love of contemporary Christian music is obvious as he leads the Praise singers and acts as Praise Leader for our worship service. Jeff and his wife, Illyona, they have three grown children and three grandchildren.
Libby started as Director of Great Beginnings in June 2022. Her first encounter with Exton United Methodist Church was back in 2011 when she was the Youth Group Coordinator. Libby began her career in education by teaching public school Kindergarten and middle school English in Coatesville and Harrisburg. She has a passion for theatre and directed all her school’s musicals! She made the transition to ministry work after feeling a strong call to Christian Education. Libby was previously Director of Discovery Corner Preschool at First UMC of Lancaster and worked in Children’s Ministries at various other churches in the conference. Libby, her husband Richard, their two daughters (Poppy and Bellamy) and baby on the way all live in Downingtown.
As a United Method Church, we are part of the second largest Protestant denomination in America. As part of that we uphold our heritage by pursuing ministry in with this tradition in mind. We seek to be generous in spirit, broadminded in welcoming others, devoted to Jesus Christ as servants to the world, and wholly surrendered to God with our lives.
We strive for personal holiness by inviting all people into a life-transforming personal relationship with Jesus Christ, by addressing key issues of our time so that our world will look more like the Kingdom of God.
At Exton UMC, we live by and uphold our mission statement in all that we do. As followers of Jesus Christ, we live out our mission to Love God, Love Others, Serve in our community and in the world. Through our service, we show our love and care for those around us. The work that we do is rooted in our love for God. We recognize God’s love for us through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ, and through his promises to us in scripture.
For more information on the United Methodist Church’s beliefs and values, please visit www.umc.org.