Living Hope UPC, Williamsport, PA
Living Hope United Pentecostal Church was birthed in 1999, when Reverend Roger Betterley and his wife Vicki heard the call of God to plant a church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. They started the church as a daughter work out of the United Pentecostal Church of Lewisburg where they were converted and served in ministry for eight years.
For their first service, the Betterley family of six plus two college students gathered in a local hotel. For the next three and a half years, the church met weekly at that location, growing through weekly outreach. As the church grew, extra rooms had to be rented to hold Sunday school classes. As the congregation started outgrowing the meeting space, they purchased their first building in 2004.
The new facility was a God-send to the congregation, allowing them to expand their service times and providing more visibility within the community. The facility had an attached parsonage in which the Betterley family could live, allowing them have a permanent residence in Williamsport. Over the course of the next six years, the congregation grew from 40 people to around 100 people in Sunday morning attendance.
The church then found themselves reaching a plateau. Their facility had seating for 120 people in the sanctuary, three classrooms, a small fellowship hall, four bathroom stalls, and a small parking lot. What had been room to grow for a congregation of 40 was a stifling problem for a congregation of 100. People would have to double park for services, classrooms were uncomfortably crowded, bathroom lines were the norm, and the lack of handicap accessibility made it difficult to grow any further. Pastor Betterley and the saints were continually looking at buildings and property to purchase, but door after door was closed.
In late 2015, God impressed Pastor Betterley that there was a church for them on the west side of town. The church began to focus outreach in the area and to pray for the doors to open. In May of 2016, they heard of a church closing due to dwindling attendance. Pastor Betterley drove by the facility to check it out. The pastor let him know they were having a business meeting that very night on whether to close the church. He showed Pastor Betterley through the facility, which exceeded expectations in every way. Living Hope was able to negotiate the purchase of the building for $480,000 before it ever hit the market, but was unable to find financing options. Pastor Betterley contacted the UPC Loan Fund, and the church was blessed to obtain the loan and close in time.
The 13,500-square foot facility can seat over 250, has 6 large classrooms, more office space, full kitchen, large fellowship hall, handicap elevator, large parking lot, and 4.5 acres of property. Since moving into the facility, Living Hope has been featured twice in full-page articles of the local newspaper, seen first time visitors on a weekly basis, and seen souls converted. Through the favor of God and the financing of the UPC Loan Fund, Living Hope is positioned for growth for years to come.