Praise Assembly of God
In the early 1940s, the Reverend Harold McKinney learned from Mrs. Margaret Thompson that there was no Assembly of God in McKeesport. The Rev. McKinney rented a storeroom on Sixth Street and services were held on Sunday morning and Tuesday evenings. Some of the people who attended also worshiped at a little Swedish Mission on Evans Avenue. Soon thereafter, the two groups joined together at the Evans Avenue location and special meetings were held in order to build up the congregation.
In August 1943, the Reverend Alfred Buckley and the Reverend Van Meter presided at an organizational meeting when the congregation was officially taken into the Assemblies of God fellowship. On March 12, 1944, the Rev. Harold McKinney presided at a business meeting at which time the Reverend Fred Diehl was elected to be the Pastor. On March 29, 1944 the Rev. Diehl conducted the first business meeting for the election of church officers.
Soon the building on Evans Avenue was too small. Property was purchased at the corner of Soles and Beaver and the construction of a permanent edifice began.. The basement of the church was completed and the congregation moved in on October 29, 1944. The members worked many hours on the erection of the main auditorium. What a day of rejoicing when the completed church was dedicated on May 28, 1951.
Rev. Deihl resigned as pastor on September 7, 1961 and Reverend Paul Wislocky was elected to pastor the church on September 20, 1961. Rev. Wislocky united the congregation in an all out effort to liquidate the $20,000 mortgage that remained. On Sunday, May 28, 1965 – the mortgage was burned! The church continued to grow under the leadership of Rev. Wislocky. On June 1, 1965 it was decided that an addition would be added to accommodate the growing church body. A four story educational wing was added. During the expansion, the Lord had been speaking to Rev. Wislocky regarding a church plant in the South Hills. He resigned February 27, 1966.
The Lord met the need of this congregation, once again, when He sent Reverend David Blattner to pastor this assembly. The church continued to grow. Souls were being saved and the church began to develop a real heart for missions under the leadership of Rev. Blattner. The Christian Academy began under his ministry and the name of the Assembly came to be known as Christian Life Assembly of God.
The church continued to grow in spite of leadership changes. In July 1978, Rev. Al Rowan, along with his wife Linda, joined the family as the new pastor. It was under Rev. Rowan’s ministry that the church purchased the current location on Foster Road and changed the name to Praise Assembly of God. The Rowans stayed at Praise for fourteen years.
Praise Assembly went through a lot of changes during this time and the Lord sent Rev. Stephen Sparks and his family as the new shepherds of the assembly. Rev. Sparks and his family came to Praise and loved on the people for the next five years. It was during his ministry that their eldest son Brian succumbed to a disease he carried since birth. Praise will always be home to the Sparks family.
The Rev. Dennis Campbell and his family came to Praise in February of 1999 and in October 2011 he resigned as Pastor feeling the Lord was leading him and his family in a new direction of ministry.
This brings us to the present day at Praise Assembly. On March 4, 2012, Rev. Timothy Bunney was elected as Pastor.