Our Story

How it all started...

In 1931, on the banks of the Monongahela River, Rev. W. T. Poling started a small church in the Westover area simply known as "The Mission". Within three years, the congregation grew from a small group of believers to approximately 100 members. Rev. Poling and the members of the church prayed for the Lord's direction concerning a location for a new building. One evening while walking along Monongahela Avenue, as he came to the corner of Monongahela Avenue and Ferry Street, the Lord spoke to him and said, "This is the place!"

Following an investigation, the owner of the property was contacted and the ground was purchased.  Work soon began on the new church with Rev. H. C. Weaver in charge of the building program. The majority of the work was done by Rev. Poling and the men of the church. Rev. Poling boasted that "not one hundred dollars has been spent for hired labor, on carpenter work, plastering, and wiring." The new structure, when completed was 30ft by 55ft church "equipped with good lighting and ventilating systems." The exterior construction was composed of block covered with slate-surface shingles.  The bell towers and rafters were built of oak and the baptismal was located in the basement and was fed by running water from a spring.

On Thanksgiving Day 1937 the newly completed Riverside Apostolic Church was dedicated by Rev. H. I. Goodin who preached the inaugural sermon.  The first revival began on the same night with Rev. D. J. White of Akron, OH as the guest evangelist.

As in the past, God blessed the church with continued growth and once again, a building project was undertaken in 1959. The auditorium was enlarged to 30ft by 75ft with a 10ft by 12ft church office also being added. With the auditorium completed, more space was provided for the expected increase in Riverside's spiritual family.

Expanding the vision...

In 1977, under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Edwin Harper, land was purchased on Dents Run Boulevard with the first service being held in the newly constructed Fellowship Hall on September 19, 1979. The church continued to experience tremendous growth, quickly filling the spacious Fellowship Hall. On April 2, 1981, the first block was laid for the new church building and construction was completed in time for the first service on Easter Sunday April 3, 1983.  

Through dedication and adherence to God's direction, the church has grown from a few loyal members to a large body of believers networking across the United States and around the globe. 

To the ends of the earth...

From the humble beginnings of a congregation simply known as "The Mission" that moniker came full circle under the pastoral leadership of Rev. David Hudson. Pastor Hudson's passion for spreading the gospel to the whole world was evident by his travel to 59 countries and 20 visits to the Holy Land. Israel was Pastor Hudson's passion as he led multiple tours taking more than 100 people to the sacred land where his Savior walked in the flesh.

But those travels were not by himself as he made sure that his best friend, Brenda his wife, was with him on almost every trip. They frequented both Africa and India, preaching in crusades and helping pioneer a great work in the Punjab state in India where there have now been 10,000 baptized in Jesus name. They also taught in the Bible School in Scotland while ministering throughout most of Europe.

He became Bishop after 30 years of serving as Lead Pastor of The River Church, known initially as Riverside Apostolic, changing to Riverside Ministries during the last 12 years of his tenure. Bishop Hudson also served in various capacities within the United Pentecostal Church International all the way to the Executive Board of the organization that he so dearly loved.

Where we are headed...

Following in his father's footsteps, but with a calling of his own that started at the age of 18, Nathaniel & Candace Hudson became Lead Pastor in 2015. Within just a couple of years, the task of a complete renovation was needed on the aging facility. This was nothing new to either one of them as they had been a part of two previous church building programs, while leading major growth, serving as assistant pastors in TX. Jumping in with both feet they led the project to completion within one year giving the campus a major makeover and welcoming church members into a "new" place of worship with a fresh face while maintaining the same foundational principles that have led to The River Church celebrating 91 years of ministry to the Morgantown community and beyond.

Steady growth has continued while the pastor and wife have surrounded themselves with a team of fantastic leaders committed to leaving a legacy that honors God and impacts people for eternity. Constantly adding fuel to the fire and not letting up, the church is primed for the most dynamic days in its almost 100 years of existence. Working to make even more of an impact, there are plans to expand the campus with ministry to the underserved with social action undergirded by spiritual foundation and guidance.

We are not comfortable with the status quo as you will see when you enter the building where you are greeted with the phrase on the main wall that says...Get Used To Different. God wants your life to be different, and we want to be front and center in helping you, as you begin your new journey with Jesus Christ.