History of Pioneer Valley Assembly of God
Welcome to the abbreviated version of the history of Pioneer Valley Assembly of God, (PVAG). We are situated in one of the beautiful highland river hill towns of the Pioneer Valley on Old Chester Road in Huntington, Massachusetts.
We have a conservative, yet beautiful white steepled New England church perched on a grassy knoll backed by stately pines, a green forest and across from the Westfield River. .
Our church, like the Westfield River that it sits across from, has a very meandering history. There were highs and lows, twists and turns before God revealed this location and vision. Many souls would come to know and receive the love and forgiveness of Jesus here.
We began in the town of Chester when four families contacted the Assembly of God district office to inquire about a full gospel, Pentecostal church in the Pioneer Valley. Assembly of God Chester Church was born!
This group found a small building on Main Street in Chester and Reverend & Mrs. Charles Pearce served as the first pastors for two years.
In 1974, the congregation had grown to about forty members and Pastor Russell Grant took the helm. But they had out grown the little building, so permission was received from the town of Chester to use the Town Hall.
There were Sunday morning services, Sunday school, nursery and Sunday night services along with a Wednesday night youth programs, Royal Rangers and Missionettes. There were also Sunday school teacher meetings and prayer group meetings held in the homes of individuals during the week. We were a busy and dedicated body of believers with many traveling from surrounding towns. Plans began to be formed for a new church building.
A building site was found and purchased, but when the site didn’t pass the perk test, the land had to be sold and the search for a new building site began. In the meantime, the parsonage on that site was used to house all our services as the town of Chester said we could no longer meet in the town hall.
Sunday school classes were held in the upstairs bedrooms or outdoors in good weather, and services were held in the dining room, living room and kitchen and our numbers kept growing.
Pastor Grant had been out scouring the hill towns to find a new building site. He and his family bought a home in Russell and the property on Middlefield Street was sold. At this time, we were all believing that God had a bigger vision than just the town of Chester. The name of the church was changed to Pioneer Valley Assembly of God.
A group of members were not in agreement with this decision and decided to leave the church. The Highland Grange in Huntington offered their hall for services and once again this group of faithful followers packed up their belongings to set up church in the Highland Grange.
This building came up for sale but after an inspection, it proved to not to be the best investment. Some members thought, “Well God lead us here”, others still had doubts.
The town of Huntington bought the Grange building and we were told we had to be out that day, which was a Sunday.
The sentiment was “Where do we go from here Lord?” People were praying and seeking Gods wisdom. The school Superintendent was one of our members, she received a phone call informing us that the Montgomery Town Hall would allow us to use their building if we would provide Sunday school for their church which was located directly across the street. We said yes and gave thanks again to the Lord for His leading and provision.
In the meantime Pastor Grant had found four acres of land for sale on Old Chester Road in Huntington. The Assemblies of God approved the purchase and the move was on to clear the land and begin building.
The church body donned their blue jeans, jackets, gloves and boots, and everyone pitched in to help clear the land. The building was completed and we quickly outgrew the space so a second addition was added.
Shortly after opening the doors of our second addition, a prophecy was spoken over us to be “the city upon a hill” and not to let our light got out or grow dim and that God’s truth, love and forgiveness could and would come to many through the ministry of each one of us at PVAG.
All ages, young and old have gone out from the pews at PVAG and have brought with them the truth that God is alive and well and that Jesus is the only way to forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.
We have a wonderful history of six God sent Pastors and their families that have served our flock over the past forty-nine years. We are once again in the process of seeking God’s wisdom and provision as we seek a new Pastor. However, we know God will provide us with His called and chosen one to continue the ministry that was started at PVAG so long ago.
1972 Pastors Charles & Rhoda Pearce
1974 Pastor Russell Grant & Ethel
1982 Pastor Karl Gustafson & JoAnn
2001 Pastor John Leslie & Rhonda
2005 Pastor Toby Quirk & Linda
2013 Pastor Charles Vanasse & Michele