In the cities of Sharon and Farrell (formerly South Sharon) as well as in the surrounding communities of Sharpsville, Wheatland and Masury there has always been a great number of settlers from Slovakia, who made their homes in this section of the country known as the Shenango Valley. Many of these settlers were of the Lutheran faith. Longing for the Word of God and the Sacraments, they founded their own congregation.
However, about the year 1914 many quarrels, misunderstandings, troubles arose in the congregation which disturbed congregational life. The progress of the group was retarded and the many outbursts threatened disruption at almost any moment. When some of the members saw that their salvation, their faith was in dire danger and after they saw many efforts to correct these misunderstandings fail, they left the Holy Trinity congregation and decided to organize their own congregation. After stepping out of the congregation, a number of men, especially those living in Sharon, met in the home of John Petro, Sr., and decided to call the Rev. John Vojtko of Akron to advise them, as well as conduct the divine service. This he willingly did.
It was at the congregational meeting following the service that the Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saints Peter and Paul was formally organized and founded. The day was June 3, 1917. Thirty-six men were present. The question which pastor Vojtko put to the assembled group, "Did they wish to organize their own congregation on the basis of the Word of God?" was answered in the affirmative.
The first congregational officers were, Paul 0. Krivosh, president; Andrew Erdziak, secretary; John Kunda Chalupka, treasurer; John Hurajt, Paul Petro and John Krajči, collectors; Andrew 0. Krivosh and Paul Michalko, trustees.
The congregation met for services in the German church of St. Paul. The divine services were conducted by the Rev. John Vojtko for the first few months but from October 1917, the Rev. Andrew Hvizdak of Youngstown, Ohio became the regular vacancy pastor.
While the Rev. J. Vojtko was still conducting the services, the congregation bought four lots to prepare for the eventual building of its own church. These lots were located on Alderman and Liberty Sts. Their price was $1,800.00.
To remain in the bond of fellowship with other congregations of its faith, Sts. Peter and Paul congregation applied for membership and was accepted into the Slovak Ev. Lutheran Synod of the United States of America on July 15, 1917. It has remained an active member since that time.
From the very beginning the new congregation had felt the need for its own church building, therefore, on April 219 1918 it resolved with the help of God to start work on the church. After many members had generously offered larger and smaller sums, the rest of the needed capital for building was borrowed from individuals. The entire structure, including the church appointments, cost $5,210.00. While the church was being constructed, services were conducted in the store building of Mr. Paul 0. Krivosh who willingly offered it for this purpose. Likewise, Bible instruction was conducted in the garage of Mr. John Petro, Sr. at which time the Rev. J. Valentik, then a theological student, taught the children during the summer of 1917.
The long awaited day of the dedication of the newly built church finally arrived. It was dedicated to the service of Lord on the first Sunday of December 1918. The preachers at this occasion were Rev. John Vojtko and Rev. Andrew Hvizdak.
As the congregation slowly grew in membership, it called various theological students from Concordia Seminary in Springfield, Ill, to teach the school children, to prepare them for confirmation and to conduct regular services. The following served in the congregation as students vicars: Michael Gotthardt 1918-1919; George Marček 1919-1920; Joseph Valo 1920-1921; John Prok 1921-1922.