About Seneca Hills
History of Seneca Hills
In 1936 Bob Pierce was in his final year of Seminary when Dr. George C. Miller invited him to visit churches in Western Pennsylvania and share about mission opportunities in Africa. Pierce accepted the invitation, but he spoke far more about the impact of Bible conferences (camp) than he did about African missions. Pierce learned from Miller that no such summer conference existed in Western Pennsylvania, but Miller was curious: If he could find a spot for a summer Bible conference, would Pierce come to Pennsylvania and run it? Pierce agreed, so long as he could bring with him pastor and fellow Bible conference alumna Dit Fenton.
Pierce knew that a week at a Bible conference could change a kid’s life. Not only did his home church in Philadelphia have empirical proof, but Pierce had the testimony of his own experience. A week of fun and biblical instruction in an extraordinary setting was a way the Lord moved in hearts and confirmed Christian calling.
In its first 30 years, only one person from Pierce’s home church had gone on to full-time ministry. Then a doctor in the church offered to pay the fees for any young person in the church who wanted to attend a summer Bible conference. Young people signed up in droves, and over the church’s second 30 years, more than 70 people went from the church to full-time ministry of one kind of another.
In the summer 1936 100 people attended a Bible conference held at another camp in Kossuth, PA. In the spring 1937, a group of men banded together to purchase a dilapidated 100-acre farm that would become the site of Seneca Hills. Pierce went on to overseas ministry in Africa, while Miller, Fenton, missionary George McCune and businessman Walter Carrell prepared Seneca Hills Bible Conference to welcome campers and become a spot where the Lord would speak to them.
For over 85 years Seneca Hills has continued this mission. The campus has expanded, the name has changed slightly to reflect a modern understanding of summer camp, but the mission has stayed the same.
Seneca Hills exists to lead people, especially youth, to a vital personal relationship with, and a life of dedicated service to Jesus Christ.