First Church - Why We Exist

Our Vision

Raising disciples of Jesus Christ, we equip and nurture individuals who love and serve God with all their being and one another as Jesus loved, and who carry life to everyone they meet.

Our Mission

We exist to bring people to Jesus Christ and to help them become His fully devoted followers.

Our Declaration

We are joy-filled people, united in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and committed to spiritual maturity.

Our 5 Covenant Commitments

We have a commitment to Worship, to Equipping, to Accountability, to Service, and to Witness. 

Our Core Values

  • Prayer - We commit ourselves to conceive and carry out all ministry through prayer. 
  • The Bible - We confirm the Bible as the inspired Word of God, the source of instruction, knowledge, and wisdom for living. 
  • Stewardship - We acknowledge God’s gifts - time, talent, treasure - and dedicate them for His glory and use. 
  • Unity - We acknowledge the command of God to love one another and respond to the leading of His Spirit to make us one. 
  • Maturity - We desire to "attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" by submitting to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, encouraging, nurturing, and holding each other accountable in love. 
  • Relationships - We acknowledge that maturity occurs best when we are in godly relationships.
  • Renewal/Sanctification - We believe that this is not only God's will for us, but that He is actively, faithfully, continually working in us to conform us to the image of Christ.

Doctrine - What We Believe

Our doctrinal standards are nothing more, nor less, than the doctrinal standards of the United Methodist Church. We believe that they are binding, unifying, and relevant for us and for all United Methodism today. 

The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church (AD 1808) –


The Confession of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church (AD 1963) –


The Standard Sermons of John Wesley – 


The Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament by John Wesley (1755) –


What is a United Methodist? We believe no better definition exists than Wesley’s “The Character of a Methodist.”

"The Character of a Methodist"  by John Wesley

A Brief History

In 1871, Cyrus Keemer, an Ephrata resident, received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior under the ministry of a New Holland pastor, M.J. Humma. From this experience, the vision to establish a caring ministry in Ephrata was born. Even though, in 1872, there were only 100 dwellings and shops in Ephrata, a few faithful people laid the cornerstone for a building 32 by 42 feet in size on July 28, 1872. After they built and dedicated the building on December 2, 1872, they held revival services. From those bold Gospel proclamations, 36 people organized the First United Brethren Church. Twenty years later the church membership of 140 and Sunday School of 175 dedicated the completed construction of a new, larger, two-story building.

Despite difficult economic times, in 1933 the people of faith had vision to build a new facility that would not only meet their present needs, but the needs of future generations. The Education Building, which houses the current Sunday School rooms and offices, was completed in 1936. In 1946 the Evangelical and United Brethren Churches merged to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church. At this point the congregation prepared to initiate the second phase of their building project, a new sanctuary. They completed the chapel behind the sanctuary in 1949 and placed the cornerstone in 1950. By 1955 they dedicated the completed main sanctuary. This is the facility we still worship and minister out of today.

In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren Church once again merged, this time with the Methodist Church, to form The United Methodist Church. Both denominations had similar doctrines, church government, and background since the Wesleyan movement greatly influenced them both. 

In 1997 major upgrades were made to the current building and in 1998 the church purchased a nearby sixty-acre farm for future growth. The farm house and land are used today for current ministry and special events as First Church looks to what God has planned for their future. The real story of First Church is not of how the facility itself developed, but how the people of faith sacrificed and gave to the church to perpetuate the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ. 

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of

the power will be of God and not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7