Providence Presbyterian Church

About Us

Our History

Providence Presbyterian Church in Altoona, Pennsylvania, is the result of a 2007 merger between  the former Broad Avenue and First Presbyterian churches. Additionally, the Second United Presbyterian Church in Altoona merged with Broad Avenue Church in 1981. Providence Presbyterian is located on the corner of Broad Avenue and 24th Street in the structure that was the Broad Avenue church’s original building.  Following, is a brief history of the three individual churches that ultimately formed the church we know today.

As its name implies, the First Presbyterian Church was the first Presbyterian church to serve the Altoona area. (TO BE FINISHED LATER)

The Second United Presbyterian Church was established as a result of the increasing memberships in the First United Presbyterian Church. On June 21, 1869, the Second Presbyterian Church was organized with 40 people enrolled as members. The congregation rented a hall on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Twelfth Street. This hall served as the church until moving to their new chapel on Eighth Avenue between Thirteenth and Fourteenth Streets. The construction of this chapel started in 1870 and was occupied in 1871. A new church building had its construction commence in 1875 and was opened for public worship in late 1876. All buildings, lots, and furnishings combined for a total of $62,965. The church purchased a manse in 1928 at 3008 Fourth Avenue. Second Church has been involved with several missions and ministries since its founding. A Panethnia Missionary Society, which provided funds for missions, was formed on October 6, 1885. The Olivet Chapter was organized in 1907, and aided in the work of the church and promoted the spiritual life of its members. A strong Sunday School organization, originally organized in 1869, contributed greatly to the work of the church. A 100th Anniversary was observed with a special worship service on September 14, 1969.

Broad Avenue Presbyterian Church was founded on a lot fronting Broad Avenue between 24th and 25th Streets that was purchased for the sum of $100. A small chapel was built and the first sermon was preached there on June 5, 1892. The present structure was completed in 1897 at a cost of $25,000. A remodeling of the chapel and choir loft was undertaken in 1937. Basement excavation, a new furnace and kitchen, and Sunday school rooms were completed in 1949. The third major improvement began in 1957 when a new pipe organ was installed. Subsequent work to the original building included a new heating system, new sanctuary carpeting, complete refinishing of all the sanctuary pews, and repairs to the pipe organ. During the week of September 10-17, 1967, a seventy-fifth anniversary celebration took place. A second milestone was recognized on September 15, 1992, when Broad Avenue church held a 100th anniversary banquet at The Casino at Lakemont Park. Members of Broad Avenue Presbyterian Church have worked to build a church that is alive and serving God and His people seven days a week. The church has been made available to fill many community needs. At one time or another, our facilities have served as a meeting place for the Boy Scouts, Welcome Wagon, and Family and Children Services of Blair County. Other stories could be told, but the true history of a church is recorded in the hearts and lives of people who have accepted God as their Heavenly Father, Christ as their Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit as their Guide and Comforter through the ministry of that church.

What We Believe

• There is one God the Maker and Sustainer of all creation, who has been eternally revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
• The Bible is God’s revealed means of showing us what to believe and how to live.
• Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, through his death and resurrection, has achieved reconciliation between an estranged humanity and a holy and righteous God.
• When we put our trust in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit restores our relationship to God the Father and
empowers us to live for God’s glory.
• Jesus Christ will return to earth one day to renew the creation, eliminating all the forces of evil, decay and death.

Image of a cross with the text "What We Believe"

Our Staff

Rev. Dr. Hilary E. Livingston Portrait
Rev. Dr. Hilary Livingston – Pastor   Phone: (814) 944-7258
We are pleased to welcome our new pastor, Rev. Dr. Hilary Livingston.  Her first day will be September 22.  The Rev. Dr. Hilary E. Livingston is an ordained Teaching Elder (Minister of Word and Sacrament) in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Hilary is originally from the South Hills of Pittsburgh, and she has served churches in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Hilary earned her B.A. from Grove City College, her M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and her D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary. Hilary is also a certified health coach who helps people integrate Christian spiritual practices with wellness habits. In her free time, Hilary enjoys hiking, writing, travel, spending time in nature, hanging out with friends, and various arts & crafts. She also enjoys spending time with her rescue kitty, Addy.
Photo of Peggy Horner
Peggy Horner – Choir Director   Phone: (814) 944-7258

Peggy is responsible for rehearsing and conducting the adult choir and the bell choir. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master of Arts  Degree in Music.  Both degrees were earned at Pennsylvania State University. Peggy taught in the Altoona Area School District for 35 years, teaching in primary, middle school and high school levels. In addition to classroom music, choral programs existing within those levels were maintained and developed. Peggy’s experience with church choirs both adult and children spans the last 50 years. She says, “ Our desire as a choir, accompanist and director is to minister to the congregation and  help to lead the worship of our living God.”

Photo of Carol McCracken
Carol McCracken – Organist   Phone: (814) 944-7258
Carol has been serving as an organist and/or choir director at several area churches for more that 40 years. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the Pennsylvania State University. Carol taught elementary and junior high school vocal music and general music for 33 years for the Altoona Area School District. Carol also studied music therapy at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. for several years. Carol now spends her time practicing for church services; arranging hymns for the pipe organ to be used in our church services; singing in the choir; doing volunteer work; baking and cooking; and working on home improvement projects.  She has two dogs, Clancy and Gracie.
Photo of Barb Hazlett
Barbara Hazlett – Pianist Accompanist    Phone: (814) 944-7258
Barb is a 50-year member at Providence. She taught Sunday school for 31 years, was treasurer for Women’s Fellowship for 17 years, and has been playing the piano for the choir and congregation for 10 years. Barb has served as an elder on Session for six years, and has been the Clerk of Session for several years. She is a graduate of Altoona High school and married to Bruce Hazlett.. Barb is so very thankful for her loving family and for her wonderful church family as well.
Kimberly Veronesi – Office Administrator    Phone: (814) 944-7258
Kimberly has been the administrative professional at Providence Church since 2006. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Business (Accounting). Kim has one son, David.
Anna Corley – Sexton     Phone: (814) 944-7258
Anna is responsible for the cleanliness of our building. The building is large so much work goes into this task. In the summer months Anna makes sure our grounds are well manicured. In the winter, she is tasked with keeping our sidewalks and handicap ramp shoveled and salted for the safety of our church family. Anna lives in Altoona with her husband Jeff and has been working for Providence for nine years.
photo of Megan Burchfield

Megan Burchfield – Children and Youth Director    Phone: (814) 944-7258
Megan Burchfield, is currently the children and youth director at Providence Presbyterian Church.  As a mom of two busy girls and elementary teacher, she understands how precious it is to spend time with your family, worshiping together. As the director, her goal is always to create events and times for families to join together for fellowship and fun in a safe and loving environment. She enjoys planning events that bring the different generations of the church together, and showcase the talents of the youth. Megan genuinely enjoys learning from the young minds of our community and learning about her own faith by listening to them.

Photo of Barry Gaut

Barry Gaut – Newsletter Editor    Phone: (814) 944-7258
Barry has a long history in the church beginning as a child at the former Second United
Presbyterian Church in Altoona where his mother taught as a Sunday school teacher. In 1965, his
family transferred to the former Broad Avenue Church, where he became active in their youth
program and traveled to Kentucky that summer for a mission trip. When Youth Club was
instituted at Broad Avenue, Barry volunteered as a youth leader for the junior and senior
highs—a role he maintained from the mid-seventies until the mid-nineties. Barry was ordained as
an elder in the late seventies and has served on Session over the years, most recently on their
Finance and Stewardship committee. He has been the church’s newsletter editor for more than 20
years and currently serves as church treasurer and one of the sound board operators on Sunday
mornings. Barry is a retired mechanical engineer and also worked as a part-time instructor at the
local career and technology center.

Photo of Jen Braun

Jennifer Braun – Webmaster   Phone: (814) 944-7258
Jennifer has been the church webmaster since 2015. She has a master’s degree in cognitive psychology with a focus on user experience design, and has also completed web design classes. In addition to being the church’s webmaster, she also works as a freelance web designer.