In 1941, The United Presbyterian Church of North America founded Memorial Park as a mission congregation in the rural, undeveloped North Hills town of McCandless. Under the direction or organizing pastor Rev. John Mark Schott, the first worship services were held in the old Peebles School building at the corner of Duncan Avenue and Peebles Road in what is now Colaizzi’s Beauty Salon.
In 1944, Memorial Park purchased land to build a permanent church near the intersection of Sample and Peebles Roads. The congregation then purchased an old church building from a Lutheran church on the North Side, which they disassembled, moved, and reassembled on their property.
By the late 1950s, under leadership of the first permanent pastor, Rev. Charles Skuce, the congregation had increased and outgrown the building and property on Sample Road. Plans began to move the church to a seven-acre property purchased by the congregation from Memorial Park cemetery. Construction of the current sanctuary was completed in 1962, while the Fellowship Hall building and attaching breezeway were completed in 1963.
Membership of Memorial Park reached a high point in the late 1970s, during the pastorate of Rev. Richard Todd, when over 1,500 active members were recorded on the rolls. During this time, youth ministry for teens and unchurched young people in the North Hills brought in significant numbers for the church. By the 1980s, new ministries emerged, including the beginnings of single, adult outreach under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Todd’s successor, Rev. Jerald Landrey. Membership, however, saw a decline to approximately 1,000 members by 1989 as a large number of families left Memorial Park to found the new Northway Christian Community.
In 1990, Rev. Douglas Pratt joined Memorial Park as pastor, and the church began a new era of expansion and spiritual growth. Several significant facility expansions and renovations were completed in the 1990s, including the addition of a narthex at the front entry of the church in 1991; renovation of the sanctuary (including purchase of a new organ) in 1993; purchase of a home at 8830 Peebles Road for staff housing in 1994; and completion of a $1.7 million, 17,000 square foot addition for offices and classrooms in 1997. Memorial Park Christian Preschool was also founded in 1993.
Saturday Night Worship services were initiated in 1998 to add a contemporary service to the church. We continue this contemporary-style service on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. at the Clayton Community Youth Center (added to the grounds in 2007). Present-day Christian music is played by a live band and the format is casual, but you’ll hear the same pastoral message we present on Sundays.
Memorial Park was also blessed to be able to plant a daughter church (Fountain Park Church) in Cranberry, PA. In 2007, the members of Memorial Park Church overwhelmingly voted to disaffiliate with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and unite with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).
Since May 2006, under the leadership of Lead Pastor Dr. D. Dean Weaver, Memorial Park continues to experience growth and development of our ministries and outreach. Dr. Weaver formerly served as the pastor of Knox Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Weaver has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religion from Grove City College, a Masters of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry focusing on Expository Homiletics from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. For Dr. Weaver, the Word comes first, and everything else follows. He has a passion for missions and youth ministry, and enjoys both traditional and contemporary styles of worship. Dr. Weaver and his wife Beth have six children, and reside in Ingomar, PA.
Our current active membership is approximately 1,600.