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History of the Churches of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association

by William Pankey


John Tomcik and Andrew Slabey, Sr., two Baptist laymen from abroad, settled in Pittsburgh to do missionary work among the Slovaks in 1900. On February 13, 1901, the Rev. H. C. Gleiss baptized John Beharka at the Temple Baptist Church, Pittsburgh—the first Slovak ever to be baptized in Pennsylvania. Several others were baptized at the same time.

Later in 1901, this small band of Slovaks obtained employment in the brickyard of James H. Welsh, of Monaca, who was also a Baptist. Services were conducted in the homes until 1903, when a small mission was established. A. P. Slabey, Jr., was the first candidate for baptism. He was baptized by the Rev. E. A. Finn at the Rochester church. The following year Matthew Majzlik and John Vongrey were baptized in the Ohio River at Monaca by the Rev. Mathias Steuscek.

Through the generosity of James Hi Welsh, and financial assistance given by the Pittsburgh Baptist Association, a church edifice was erected and dedicated in 1905. The church was officially organized November 8, 1910, with twenty charter members. The present church edifice was dedicated in 1914. Four members of the congregation have entered the Christian ministry; prominent among them being the Rev. Adam Strapon, who founded and is still in charge of The Baptist Home and Orphanage, Ceklis, Czechoslovakia, and Rev. A. P. Slabey, some time professor in the International Baptist Seminary, East Orange, New Jersey. The present membership is 23.

The following ministers have served the church:

Rev. Henry Ibser (1910-1911), Rev. Mathias Steuscek (1911-1912), Rev. Henry Ibser (1912-1914), Rev. Mathias Steuscek (1914-1918), Rev. Adam Strapon (1918-1921), Rev. August Meeries (1921-1922), Rev. Frank Cech (1924-1925), Rev. Stephen Herban (1925-1926), Rev. George Georgeoff (1927-1930), Rev. Paul E. Mlynar (1931-1933), Rev. Michael Krivosh (1933-1937).

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