Our Building

Four years after the first worship service at Spring Valley Academy, on November 8, 1983, the church purchased the property at 456 W. Spring Valley Pike, in Centerville.  The church had been saving toward this day.  The Building Fund had grown to approximately $445,000, and the estimated cost of the new church facility was $1,200,000 including the land and the completed church.  So, hopes soared, courage grew, and now all that was needed was a builder, a plan, and more money!

The Church Board formed a Building Committee and elected the following members: David Tate, Chairman, Mark Merrell, Charles Cobb, George Lawrence, Melvin England, Jacob Yancey, Trudy Johnson, Michael Harrison, Thomas Cecil, Jack Fritzsche, Steve Yancey, Joe Eyman, and Pastor Gerard Seton. The group signed the final plan approval on October 9, 1984, nine days after the ground breaking ceremony.  On September 30, 1984, on a cold and rainy Sunday morning, members broke ground for a new church building.  Honored guests included: Walt Buchanan, Washington Twp Trustee, Elder John Fowler, Ohio Conference President, Mrs. Irene Hamlett, Centerville member representing the older adults, Miss Brittan Harrison, representing the younger members, Elder Norman Meager, Assistant for Church and Church School Building, Ohio Conference, Mr. David Tate, Chairman, Building Committee, and Elder Walt Sherman, Beavercreek and Xenia Churches. [link to program]Maple Leaf Construction, owned and operated by church member Mike Harrison, went into action.  Construction began almost immediately with Mike Harrison and Gerhard Janetzko working full-time on the project management. Many church members volunteered their time to sand and scrape, scrub and sweep, and paint, paint, paint! Completion of the church took approximately 18 months.   Design elements included a circle behind the pulpit composed of stained glass depicting a rendition of the Three Angels.  This copyrighted work of art was specifically designed for the Centerville Church by Cindy Kessler of Cincinnati, an artist and stained glass designer.  Active in her church, Mrs. Kessler was excited about this design which came from her research and understanding of what the Three Angels and the Seventh-day Adventist message means. [link to picture of stained glass window]

Prior to completion and occupancy, a funeral was held in the facility in memory of George Lawrence who was one of the building committee members.  On April 5, 1986 members met for last time in the gymnasium and ended the church service with a Candlelighting Ceremony.  Each family stood together holding one candle per family unit, making a large circle in the gymnasium.  Beginning at one end, the Head Elder, Don Schaffer and his wife, Gail, lit the family candles on either side.  Each family, in turn, lit the candles on either side, until it reached the platform, where two elders simultaneously lit a unity candle.  On April 11, 1986, members met for the first time in the new church. [link to program] The Celebration Weekend began on Friday evening with a Candlelight Communion Service.  The unity candle was lit throughout the service.  At the end, each family came forward, lit a family candle and formed a large circle outside the church, symbolizing Jesus, the Light to be taken to the world.  They committed to reach out as a city on a hill that cannot be hid, to shine a light to those in our community, with the following verse:

Because you gave, the church of God moves on
To tell the world God still is on His throne
The Gospel tells of God’s great power to save
And sinners hear because you cared and gave.

Because the Centerville Church members opened their hearts and gave of their resources and God blessed their efforts.  On April 12, 1986, they met in the new church for the first Sabbath worship service. [link to program]  Consecration Sabbath was held on May 17, 1986.  The presiding elder was Don Quakenbush, presiding deacon was Charles Cobb, and greeters were Barbara & Jack Fritzsche, Margaret & Walt Marshall, and Judy and David Tate.  The dedication sermon was delivered by Elder Edward Motschiedler, President, Ohio Conference of SDA.  The Sabbath ended with a vesper program and a baptism. Piano meditations were played on the newly donated piano given in loving memory of Dr. Gunther Ehlers, by Mary Gainer Ehlers.  [link to program]

From the beginning, the Centerville Church was committed to the development of its children and youth with the formation of an active Pathfinder Club in 1979.  The club earned top awards for outstanding achievement and unique and innovative programming.  The bulletin board was updated monthly with pictures of activities.  Annually, one worship service was designated as Pathfinder Sabbath where the children highlighted their activities and accomplishments and the members asked for the Lord’s continued blessing.  The Pathfinder Club never lacked for support and funding.  With new tents and equipment, innovative programming, and a Teen Club, the Centerville Pathfinder Club earned the respect of Ohio Conference members.  In 1986, the Church Board voted to merge with the Kettering Pathfinder Club and create the current Dayton Area Pathfinder Club.

In conjunction with the consecration of the new church, the Centerville SDA Church Library was created under the leadership of Marcia Waters to support families with Christian reading material.  This included a Children’s Collection  designated with an “E”  (Easy to Read) in support of the belief that from their earliest years, children should learn to read the scripture for themselves.  The Church Library has grown through the generous support and donations and now is managed with an electronic tracking system.

In September, 1986, Pastor Seton was called to serve in Colorado and Elder Bill Cochran accepted the invitation to become the third pastor.  With the growth of the congregation, Elder Ed Komorowski joined the pastoral staff as associate pastor, and together they served until October, 1991.

The church celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a Worship Celebration held on November 18, 1989.  It was a time of thanksgiving and praise for how the Lord had led and blessed the congregation.  More importantly, it was a time to look forward to His continued leading as united, the Centerville Church impacts the community with Christ’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.

On April 12, 1991, the Rodgers 900 organ was officially dedicated with organist, Cherylin Peach.  Jack Fritzsche provided dedication remarks and a variety of music from J.S. Bach to Dietrich Buxtehude was played.

During the fall of 1991 through the spring of 1992, Elders Al Brendel, Peter Bath, and Dick Tibbits served as interim pastors.
Pastor Fred R. Fuller accepted the invitation to serve as the senior pastor, and preached his first sermon on July 25, 1992.  On October 9, 1993, Pastor John Abbott became the associate pastor.