[Much of this information can be found in The Life & Times of Goldsboro]
A few hundred yards north of Goldsboro, for half a century, stood a frame building known far and wide as the “River Meeting House”, used for school purposes, and for religious services, by different denominations. It has long since disappeared; Michael Shelley, Henry Drorbaugh and Jacob Kister were the last trustees of it. In it William Chandlee and Asa Johnson each taught school for a number of years.
This building became noted for its great revival meetings, under the auspices of the Church of God. Rev. John Winebrenner, the founder of this denomination, himself preached in it on many occasions, as well as Revs. Maxwell, Mullenix, Kister, Weishampel and other fathers of the church.
One of the most noted events of its history occurred in November, 1825, when Lorenzo Dow preached to an immense audience in this building, shortly after his European tour, when the nobility of England paid admission to hear that “singular, yet wonderful genius.”
The Sunday School, which numbered about 150 pupils and teachers, was superintended by Ross W. Kugan. The school originated in the “River Meeting House,” before 1850, and was then superintended by Samuel Bierbrower and George W. Kister.
In the year 1832, according to Prowell’s History of York County, John Winebrenner began a series of revival meetings in the River Meeting house. At that time the religious thought and sentiment was quiet until Winebrenner came, due to the Friends that worshipped in the community nearby. Little is known as to the results of the Winebrenner meetings, but the “seed sown bore fruitage in later years.”
In 1841, the Rev. Wm. McFadden was pastor and received two members: Geo. W. Kister and Susan Frazer into church fellowship. In 1842, in the same meeting house, the Rev. J.G. Kister organized the Church of God. The church grew steadily during the years that followed under the ministry of several leaders: Rev. J.G Kister, Rev. Israel Brady, Rev. Wm. McElroy, Rev. Wm. McFadden and the Rev. C. Price.
The Bethel Church was built in 1857, by the Church of God. There was then an organization and a good membership. Mr. Isaac Frazer contributed largely to its erection. Some of the preachers who served the circuit to which this church belonged were Revs. Price, Jones, Keller, Charleton, Owens, Seabrooks, Meixel, Arnold, Carvell, and Flieble. W.J. Grissinger was pastor in 1885.
One of the most notable events of that period was a funeral sermon delivered in that church in memory of Abraham Lincoln by Rev. Charlton.
In 1909 a new parsonage was erected next door to the church building, just up the hill to the west.
In 1914 the original frame building was razed to give place to the new modern structure under the pastorate of the Rev. W. S. Sturgen.
For many years the Goldsboro Church was a part of the East York Circuit, but in 1908 it became a station and Rev. C.I. Behney was the pastor. During his first pastorate from 1885 to 1887 a parsonage was purchased on York Avenue; and during his second pastorate in 1909 a new parsonage was erected on the ground adjoining the Bethel.
The following ministers have served the church:
J.T. Fleegal, W.J. Grissinger, C.I. Behney, O.E. Huston, H.E. Reever, W.J. Shaner, H. Whitaker, G.R. Gano, M.T. Lovejoy, W.S. Sturgen, G.W. Harper, F.W. McGuire, E.T. Sheets, C.W. Peters, J.C. Witmer, H.S. Hershey, A.E. Siple, E. Yoder, E. Vance, H. Wagner, B. Keekler, C. Weigle and several other supply ministers.