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Church plans anniversary celebration By: Nancy Coleman 05/25/2005 Daily Review
As the years roll by, a community sees a lot. Summers and winters,
heat and snow, prosperity and want. People come, and people go. In Wysox,
something has outlasted all that for almost two centuries. It stands tall
and strong in its bright red brick coat, ready to see even more years.
The Wysox Presbyterian Church has stood for 175 years. This year, its congregation
is celebrating that anniversary.
"The congregation's very excited about it," says the Rev. Roger Griffith,
church pastor since 1998.
Following their year-long theme of "Let's Celebrate," members are planning
a special evening, coming soon.
On Thursday, June 2, they'll hold the St. Columba Dinner and Program.
It starts with a roast beef dinner at 6 p.m. in the fellowship hall at
the rear of the church, then a worship service and program at 7 p.m. in
the sanctuary. (St. Columba was a missionary to Scotland and Ireland centuries
ago.) "So it's kind of a twofold celebration," Griffith explains -- marking
the building's 175th anniversary, and honoring the church's roots. Main
speaker during the service will be the Rev. Charles Reynolds of New Albany,
a native of Northern Ireland. Reynolds recently published a book, "He Leadeth
Me," looking at the history of the Scots-Irish and his own life. He himself
is a Methodist minister. In fact, the church offers a special invitation
to local Methodist and Disciples of Christ congregations, as the three
denominations have historic ties. Now all they need is -- the bagpiper.
And they'll have one. Lee Crawford will play his pipes during the program.
Also, Mrs. Lea Troup of New Albany will perform as soloist, and the church
choir will share some Celtic music, directed by music staff Brian Primrose
and Loretta Stevens. Those interested in attending the dinner should call
Judy Barbur, at (570) 247-2485, to make reservations and buy tickets. Tickets,
at $8 apiece, must be purchased ahead of time for the dinner. There is
no charge or need for reservations to attend the program afterward, although
a freewill offering will be taken. Though the church building is 175 years
old, the congregation goes back more than two centuries. Information Griffith
provided states: "The Wysox Presbyterian Church was organized Oct. 3, 1791,
as a Congregational "Church of Christ" in Wysox by the Rev. Jabez Culver,
a Connecticut missionary."
The members built a wooden church in 1815, then finished the current
building in 1830. It was called the "Wysox Brick Meeting House." The church
is a New England-style building, with elevated pulpit; boxed-in pews; and
original, clear, square-paned windows.
It is the oldest Presbyterian church in Bradford County and the second-oldest
in the Lackawanna Presbytery, covering northeast Pennsylvania, Griffith
says. Also, the congregation is planning to rename its dining room, built
45 years ago, as the Rev. Harry L. Ferguson Fellowship Hall. Ferguson was
a former pastor who died recently. That program will be held this fall.
Contributed by Carol Brotzman
Painting by Brian Keeler
Wysox Presbyterian Church Marking 175th Anniversary - by James
Tuttle - 5/26/2005 Wyalusing Rocket
The Wysox Presbyterian Church will soon observe its 175th anniversary,
celebrating the historic milestone on Thursday, June 2nd. The Festivities
begin at 6 p.m. with a roast beef dinner and will continue at 7 p.m. with
a special worship service and a guest speaker.
Built in 1830, the church houses a congregation that was originally
formed in 1791 by the Rev. Jabez Culver, a missionary from Connecticut.
Prior to the construction of the edifice which stands today, members met
in various structures: privates homes, a barn, a log meeting house, the
Bradford County Court House and eventually a wooden church which was built
in 1815 and stood about a quarter mile from the current church’s location.
In 1828, the congregation had outgrown the 24-by-40-feet wooden structure,
and planning began for a new meetinghouse to be built of brick.
The handsome structure was comprised of 100,000 locally made bricks
and still stands today, 175 years later. Several building and restoration
projects have shaped the current appearance and condition of the building.
For example, 1960 marked the addition of the Christian Education Center,
located in the rear of the church. In 1976, the need for restoration was
recognized and through generous donations from the congregation and the
community, the building’s original beauty was carefully refurbished. The
effort continued in 1999 with the restoration of the steeple, a new roof
on the education center and the repairs made to the exterior brick.
The celebration on June 2nd will serve to commemorate the building’s
anniversary as well as the work of Saint Columba, who was a valuable missionary
to Scotland and Ireland. The church’s Scottish/Irish roots will be emphasized
with a Celtic worship service, featuring soloists Lee Troup and Loretta
Stevens, and bagpiper Lee Crawford to accompany the hymn singing.
The Rev. Dr. Charles Reynolds is the featured speaker for the event.
He is a resident of New Albany, but hails from Northern Ireland. He served
in World War II, as a member of the Royal Air Force, and moved to the U.S.
shortly after the war to study theology. He has dedicated his life to many
noble pursuits, including mission work in India, research of the Kirk Presbyterian
Church of Scotland and exploring the Scotch/Irish influence in spreading
the gospel throughout Europe and America.
His latest book, “He Leadeth Me,” chronicles his own life, as well
as the history of his people and their influence in the United States.
Pastor Reynolds will shed light on the Scotch/Irish heritage that surrounds
the Presbyterian faith.
The roast beef dinner that will kick off the evening’s celebration
is being limited to 150 people. Tickets may be purchased in advance at
a cost on $8 per person by calling Judy Barbur to RSVP at 247-2485.
The Rev. Roger E. Griffith, Pastor of the Wysox Presbyterian Church,
invites all members and friends to attend this event, which will no doubt
prove to be an exciting evening of fellowship, as well as an excellent
learning experience for any Presbyterian. Submitted by Carol Brotzman