The roots of University Park Church began in the early 1900's when Slovaks immigrated to the United States from what was then Czechoslovakia. The early ministers were bi-vocational and worked alongside many of the other hard working people employed either in the coal mines or in the steel mills. A partial list of several families who formed the nucleus of the congregation, which met in homes, included the Smatlak, Matas, Polonchak, Kabo, Durcho, Bechek, Kern, Bohun, and Kovach families. This congregation was established in 1917 and by 1920 met regularly in the Smatlak home with John Horevay as pastor. In 1926 with four other Slovak-speaking congregations they purchased the land in Hubbard, Ohio and started the annual camping meeting services which were faithfully attended for many decades. The congregation continued to grow as the Boratko, Rusnak, Fabick, King, and Cole families joined. In the late 1920's - 1930's the congregation leased the building at 517 Maple Avenue in Woodvale and eventually they purchased the property. In the 1950's the congregation voted to switch from conducting services in Slovak to English; however, the congregation has not forgotten its Slovak roots. Typically individuals and ensembles would share special music sung in Slovak. At Christmas the congregation has continued this tradition by an ensemble singing Silent Night in different languages including French, German, Spanish, Slovak, Japanese, and English accompanied by American Sign Language (ASL). Additional languages are planned to be added. The congregation was not immune to the devasting effects of the 1977 flood. The church building and its parsonage on Maple Avenue in Woodvale was destroyed. Despite the material loss, the congregation arranged to meet elsewhere until the current property in Richland Township could be purchased. The current facilities were built in autumn of 1983. The name of the congregation was then changed to University Park Church of God and the dedication service was held on November 6, 1983.The parsonage was built in February 1987 near the entrance of the five-acre parcel. The congregation has also enjoyed using the pavilion for outside activities. The congregation has established an ongoing working relationship with other churches and organizations having compatible goals as determined by the Board of Elders to use our facilities including side lawn area for soccer practice, etc.
For more information about the history of the Church of God Reformation Movement or Western Pennsylvania Ministries of the Church of God check out these links:
We are a congregation within the Church of God Reformation Movement based in Anderson, Indiana and are affiliated with Western Pennsylvania Ministries of the Church of God (WPA Ministries). As a congregation, Jesus is the central theme of who we are and what we are about. We seek to "Show the world Christ within us." Our action plan of how to accomplish this is summarized in Luke 4:16-22 whereby we "Proclaim, Heal, Free, and Restore" and thus are "Expanding the Kingdom of God." It is not through our own efforts that we accomplish this. Instead, we are daily learning to rest in His presence which allows Him to work through our weakness with His strength by the action of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God. (Romans 8:26)
Listed below are some scripture passages upon which we base our beliefs.
We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is useful for teaching, preparing and equipping us to live in right relationship with Him. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
The consequences of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:23)
If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life in all its fullness." (John 10:10)
If anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creation. The old life is gone and the new life in Christ has begun. We are His ambassadors and God has given us the ministry of reconciliation to share with others, so be reconciled with God. For God made Jesus, who never sinned, to be our sin offering so that we can be made right with God through Him. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
As new creations in Christ, we have received His magnificent grace and live our new lives in His abundant blessings. (John 1:16)
We are equipped by the Holy Spirit with spiritual gifts to empower us to accomplish God's work through the Church; this includes participating in spiritual warfare against Satan's Kingdom of Darkness. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 and Ephesians 6:10-18)
All of the scripture passages listed above are because:
God is love. (1 John 4:16).
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
For more information about the beliefs of the Church of God Reformation Movement check out this link:
Our mission is summarized by accomplishing the Great Commission through the Great Commandment set forth by Jesus, our Lord and Savior. In the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus tells us of His complete authority in heaven and earth, instructs us to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey Jesus' commands. In the Great Commandment of Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus tells us we must love the Lord your God with everything in us (our heart, soul, and mind) and love our neighbor as yourself. If we truly love our neighbor, then we will share what God has done in our lives and disciple him or her to become a fellow disciple of Jesus. We also will love unconditionally, as Jesus does. This is how the members of University Park Church will show the world, Christ within us. Our action plan to accomplish this is from Luke 4:16-22...to Proclaim. Heal. Free. Restore... Expanding the Kingdom of God!
University Park Church is headed by Jesus Christ and we, the Church, are His Bride (Ephesians 5:23). Spiritual leadership of the congregation is led by the Pastor and the five-member Board of Elders in accordance with the bylaws. The Holy Spirit equips and empowers members of the congregation to fulfill the requirements and duties of the offices as set forth in scripture. (1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9)