Pine Glen will note 120 years in county

LEWISTOWN – Some walked to church, some traveled in a 1932 Model A Ford and some are still attending today.

The congregation at Pine Glen Church of the Brethren has a rich history of faithful attendance. The church will celebrate 120 years of worship during an anniversary celebration set for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 22 at the church, 61 Pine Glen Road, Lewistown.

According to a history of the denomination, Alexander Mack, born in 1679 in Germany, is credited with the founding of what is now the Church of the Brethren. In 1858, the Brethren moved to Mifflin County, where they built identical Maitland and Spring Run churches.

At a council meeting in 1892, action was taken to build a meeting house at Pine Glen. The document states that a 40-by-60-foot structure was built on land donated by Abram Grassmyer at cost of approximately $2,000. Much of the work and materials were donated.

The congregation of 50 members was served by Free Ministry, including Reubin Myers, John C. Swigart, M.C. Swigart, William Hanawalt, Wilbur Swigart, David Hanawalt, Paul Swigart and Lawrence Ruble.

In 1941, Perry Huffaker became the first full-time paid minister at the church. Five years later, Pine Glen’s membership grew to almost match Spring Run, and it was declared a separate congregation with Ruble as it moderator.

Since the church’s beginnings, Pine Glen has moved the building, added additions and updated the inside and outside to make it a more serviceable structure. The church holds worship services, Sunday school classes, Bible studies and Bible school.

In preparation for the 120th anniversary celebration, church members are gathering old pictures of the church, photos of members from long ago, Bible school pictures and other memorabilia to be displayed. The church also collected memories from its members who have been attending Pine Glen for years.

“When I married Don in 1958, I remember that I had to ‘walk the plank!'” Barbara Bossinger recalled. “The church was getting an addition built onto it. There was a plank between the new part of the church onto the old, and I had to walk over that board to get into the church.”

Others remember their Sunday travels to attend morning and evening services.

“Our family came to church in a 1932 Model A Ford – all eight of us,” said Helen Anderson Passmore.

“I turned 17 in 1939 and got my driver’s permit to drive a car. I never drove a gear-shift car before, so I took the test in a 1927 Model T Ford Coupe. Following that, I bought a 1935 Ford, which became some of my transportation,” Merle Miller remembered.

Betty Yoder Hartsock recalled walking through fields, barnyards, down a hill and across a creek to attend church on Sundays.

Others remember preparing the church for morning worship services. Sylvia Thompson Harshbarger said she woke up at 4 a.m. on Sunday mornings to put coal in the church’s furnace so that the sanctuary would be warm for the service.

To preserve Pine Glen’s history for future generations, sewing circle member Norma Wade quilted a wall hanging depicting past and present pictures and projects at the church. During the anniversary service, there will be a review of the history of Pine Glen and its traditions.

Church of the Brethren Middle District Executive David Steele will bring greetings, and the Rev. Don Peters will bring Biblical thoughts about the church’s mission. Former Pine Glen members, Susan McCarl and Gery Grassmyer, will provide special music. A tree will be planted to commemorate the celebration, and a fellowship meal will be held after the service.

The community, as well as anyone who attended Pine Glen as a child or later, is invited to join in the celebration of the establishment of God’s meeting house in Pine Glen, 120 years ago.

Call the Rev. Don Peters at 899-7135 for more information.