The Rev. David Eroh, Lehighton Bible Church in Jamestown, remembers preaching one of his first sermons four decades ago to three ladies in the congregation.
The Jamestown church has grown from that handful of members to 198 members today.
Rev. Eroh, along with the Bible Church congregation, will celebrate their 40th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 2. A luncheon following the 10 a.m. service is being held to celebrate the occasion.
Eroh held his first church service on Sunday, Oct. 4, 1970, in a building which was originally a school.
"It was a bright, sunny, fall day, when the first services were held in Lehighton Bible Church," he recalled.
When the church was formed, he and his wife, Carol, were the parents of two small children, Jonathon, 6, and Elizabeth, 3.
Since then, they have had three more children – Mary Ruth, Grace and Nathan. All the children are married now and have homes of their own.
In the beginning of his ministry, Eroh met with a Bible study group in the former Jamestown Mission building for several months on Monday evenings.
"I began my ministry by holding Bible studies and it grew," he recalled.
At the time, he had extended an public invitation to anyone interested in Bible teachings to attend Sunday services. About 20 people attended the first service, including pastor's family.
For four years, Eroh worked as a painter while pastoring the church, after which he was offered full-time support. During this time, articles of incorporation were filed and the church members formally ordained him into the ministry.
After receiving his Bible education through studies with Emmaus Correspondence School and the Navigators, an organization that prepares men for ministry and stresses Bible memorization, Eroh was licensed in 1970 by the Berwick Bible Church and ordained into the ministry in July 1974.
He has committed literally thousands of Bible verses to memory, including the books of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, I Thessalonians and II Peter. He has also written many teaching pamphlets and an eight- page booklet entitled "What's Included in 'the Revelation of the Mystery?'"
As the church grew, the congregation decided to purchase the Mission building and later added a sizable addition to the original building. Many other improvements have been made, including a new kitchen, new oak pews and central air conditioning.
"My parishioners have faithfully supported me through the years," he said. "A lot has happened in the past 40 years."