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History

Many were attracted to the Christian and Missionary Alliance, in its origin, because of the ministry of healing. In 1891, just four years after the founding of the national movement, the seeds for the church in Altoona were planted. A lady from Altoona, Pennsylvania who was suffering from cancer, went to Pittsburgh. There she came into contact with two workers of the Christian and Missionary Alliance church in that city, who prayed for her healing. After her healing she was very desirous that a full Gospel work be opened in her city. In that same year Rev. and Mrs. Frederick H. Senft were invited to Altoona. Rev. Senft arrived in February 1891 and this was the official start of the Christian & Missionary Alliance’s work in Altoona. After much prayer they arranged for a convention that summer in the Fifth Avenue Methodist church, securing as speakers, Dr. and Mrs. A. B. Simpson and several others. Those receiving blessing at these services desired the Alliance work to continue, meeting at times to pray to that end. During the latter part of 1891, services were held in the home of the Blackwell family at 1900 10th Street. As a result, on January 23, 1892, Rev. Senft opened a Gospel Mission on 17th Street at Union and 11th Avenues. In July 1892, the church moved to 1200 6th Avenue, where a large front room served as the church meeting location. Two years later in 1894, when the attendance demanded larger quarters, the church moved to 1428 8th Avenue, where they remained until April, 1896. In that year Rev. Senft, acceding to the wishes of Dr. A. B. Simpson, moved to Philadelphia. There an Alliance church was also established and Rev. Senft spent the major part of his life there. Under the leadership of Rev. Senft, the congregation grew to more than 100 persons. Altoona, as far as can be learned, was the 2nd Alliance work in Pennsylvania.  After Rev. Senft departed in 1896, Rev. B. M. Osgood became the pastor of the Altoona Alliance congregation. The church moved into a building at 8th Avenue and 9th Street and continued to meet there until 1898. During this two year period there were three pastors of the church. During the year of 1898, newly-appointed Rev. Bush moved the church to 906 Green Avenue, where they held meetings on the second floor of the building. The church remained at this location until 1900.