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Hughesville Baptist Church celebrates 125 years

By Staff | Sep 22, 2015

The Rev. Mark Mahserjian-Smith, Rev. Thomas Brokaw, and Rev. Robert Berger, gathered around the anniversary cake marking 125 years for the Hughesville Baptist Church.

“Time to Party” was the theme of the speaker’s remarks during the 125th anniversary service at Hughesville Baptist Church on Sunday, September 13. The church was founded on September 11, 1890.

Remarks were given by the Rev. Mark Mahserjiam-Smith, Regional Minister for the American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware. The speaker declared the anniversary a milestone for any congregation, saying, “In America, up to 25 churches close their doors each week.”

The speaker admonished the congregation to “Get ready for another 125 years, and be loyal, stoic, faithful and remain true to Jesus. This is the kickoff for the celebration, let the people of Hughesville know there’s a party here and its not exclusive.”

Three selections by hymn writer Robert Lowry were used in the service. “Shall We Gather at the River” was the offertory by organist Sandy Bitler. Bitler also led the choir in another of Lowry’s song titled “Let It Be Said of Us.” Choir members included Valerie Arthur, Linda Bower, Pastor Thomas and Dorothea Brokaw, Linda Frye, Nelson Phillips, Thomas Smith and Jarred and Rhiannon Summers.

Later, the congregation sang the “Jubilee Hymn,” also written by Lowry which had been used during the 50th anniversary of the First Baptist Church in Lewisburg.

Eldest and youngest attendees to the 125th anniversary service of the Hughesville Baptist Church included (Front left): Myron Smith, 89, backed by son Thomas Smith; and youngest, Maddox Baysore, held by mother Kelsey Ritter, backed by grandmother Joni Shaner Ritter.

Rhiannon Summers directed the children’s bell choir, their instruments chimed the tune, “O, How I Love Jesus.”

Following the service, a meal was held in the church social room where recognition was given in the following categories: Traveling the greatest distance was Linda Leonard, former choir director; the most family members present was awarded the Eric Stamen family.

Maddox Baysore, son of Kelsey Ritter and the youngest attendee, represented the fifth generation of a family connected to the church. Maternal grandmother, Joni Shaner Ritter, gave the following information: “When Grover Smith was killed in an accident in 1939, his widow Clara moved to Hughesville. Their daughter and my mother, June Smith Shaner, was 11 years old then. When my parents married in 1945, they moved to Penn Township and went to the church at Mt. Zion. However, due to family connections, we often return for special events at the Baptist Church here in Hughesville.”

Souvenir items available to all in attendance included pens and beverage cups.

The Hughesville Baptist Church is located at the corners of East Water and Third Streets. Their website is www.hughesvillebaptistchurch.com.

Members of the Hughesville Baptist Choir participating in its 125th anniversary service on Sept 13, 2015 included (Front l-r): Linda Bower, Linda Frye, Dorothea Brokaw, Valerie Arthur, Rhiannon Summer, (Back l-r): Thomas Smith, Pastor Thomas Brokaw, Jarred Summers, Nelson Phillips and director Sandy Bitler.