Mendenhall Descendent Visits H.O.S.T.'s Open House

June 26, 2010 – The Historians of Sterling Township held their annual Open House.  Homemade ice cream was made by Sam Conklin.  There were memorabilia from the Civil War, on loan from Joe Long, a long time friend of H.O.S.T. member Robert Shaffer and 2 of 12 windows from the late Zion Church, located on Rt. 191 outside Sterling.


It was here that Jeremy Mendenhall, a relation to Rev. Edwin A. Mendenhall came to be.  He had been told by other visitors of the Zion windows that were on display and he had to come and see them for himself.  He and his wife, Laura, enjoyed listening to Vaughn Dailey, who was now the proud owner of the windows.  Vaughn is a U.S. History teacher for the Peters Township School District.  Two of the 12 windows were on display; they belonged to the late Rev. Edwin A. and his wife Elizabeth.  They were installed in the Zion Church in 1904.  They were purchased by Mary Ellen (Mendenhall) Beale to commemorate the lives of her parents. 


They came to Wayne County from Chester County immediately after Edwin had finished his studies in the Seminary.  He was ordained to Ministry in the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1844.  Edwin would be the first pastor of the newly-formed congregation of St. John's Church, and later the founding pastor of its sister-congregation, Zion Church of Sterling.  Referring to himself as "God's missionary to Wayne County", Edwin would also establish preaching stations in Ledgedale, Bidwell Hill, and several private homes.


He was the longest-serving minister in the history of St. John’s and Zion churches.  It was upon the death of Zion’s last parishioner in 1928 that the church was closed.  In 1933, the church was sold for its salvageable lumber at a price of $40.  The windows were removed and re-installed at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Winton, Lackawanna County, PA, where they remained until its congregation dissolved and the building was demolished.


In 2006, the windows appeared at an antique outlet near Corning, NY and due to decades of neglect, the windows had been left in poor condition.  They were then purchased by an architectural salvager from Canonsburg, PA, who then sold them to Vaughn.  In 2007, he acquired the services of renowned stained glass artist, Nicholas Parrendo, owner of Hunt Stained Glass Studios in Pittsburgh to restore the 12 windows.  The 80-year-old owner along with his staff, worked for over a year to disassemble, clean, repair and restore the original artwork.


Back to that day in Sterling, it was noted that it would be the first time since 1862 (148 years ago) that a Mendenhall would again be serving as "God's missionary to Wayne County."


“I think Edwin Mendenhall would have been pleased on several counts.  First, he would have been pleased with Jeremy's extensive use of scriptural passages to emphasize a point.  Second, he would have appreciated the structured and articulate nature of Jeremy's message.  And third, he would have understood the need to preach with a humble heart and genuine love for those listening.  But most of all, he would be pleased to know that Jeremy had listened to God's call in his life and that this call, as least for a season, had brought him to Wayne County, an place where Edwin had devoted his entire ministerial career.” says Vaughn.