1874_1918

History

In 1855, the issue of slavery burned deep in the hearts of Americans on a national basis. In Wayne County, Ohio, among a few persons of the Amish Mennonite faith, the matter of religious unrest also seemed to burn deeply. Their dissatisfaction continued to the point where Isaac Gehring of a newly-established Apostolic Christian church in Sardis, Ohio came and held meetings for those who were interested. It was Gehring "who had a feeling some fellow believers could be found." He walked the 140 miles up to Wayne County where he was "able to find souls that were interested in their souls' salvation."

When Isaac Gehring, and eventually other ministers, came with a ringing gospel message preaching repentance and conversion, there were those in the Rittman area who felt touched by the Holy Spirit and could do nothing other than to respond to their convictions. Initially there were around 18 in attendance. Thankfully over time, this number continued to grow to over 900 souls attending on a weekly basis.

Much activity regarding church structures has transpired at Rittman. In 1874, the first church was built on donated land. It was a little white frame building that was eventually enlarged and remodeled in 1902. This building was moved to its present location north of the present Rittman Church. Today it is used as a tool shed and storage facility.

In 1918, a red brick, two story church was built. In 1948, a 40-foot by 60-foot addition was added to the church. In 1963, a new 80-foot by 154-foot sanctuary was added. It had a seating capacity of 1,000 plus a balcony.

In 2006, the congregation voted to enlarge their facility. A bigger lobby, a new kitchen, dining room, and Sunday School area formed the core of the expansion. Some other areas of the church were renovated as well. The church was increased from approximately 30,000 square feet to over 40,000 square feet.

Just as our forefathers were concerned about a place of true and simple worship, so must we be sure that those who seek the truth can be guided to their soul's salvation.

*Historical accounts adapted from Marching to Zion.

Klopfenstein, Perry A. Marching to Zion: a History of the Apostolic Christian Church of America, 1847-2007. 2nd ed., Apostolic Christian Church of America, 2008.