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Lutheran Church celebrates milestone

By Staff | Oct 28, 2015

17 month-old Bentley Worthington was the youngest in attendance on Oct. 11, 2015 at the 125th anniversary of St. John Lutheran Church at Gordner's Grove, Unityville. Members of the four generation family included (Row 1, left to right): Reta Poust, Rosalie Keller, (Row 2) Wesley Worthington, Bentley, and Brittany Worthington.

UNITYVILLE – The congregation at St. John Lutheran Church at Gordner’s Grove, Unityville, celebrated a 125th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. A procession led by host pastor, the Reverend Ronald Montgomery, was accompanied by the Reverend Robert Driesen, Bishop, Upper Susquehanna Synod, ELCH. In his sermon, the Bishop challenged all to “Be of service and conscious of the needs of others.”

Council President Keith Gordner, and pastor Montgomery, accepted a citation presented by State Representative, Garth Everett.

Amy Boudeman, Gail Lutz and Joanne Mosteller provided music, anthems, and accompanied the 13 member choir. Special music was given by pianist Ronald Hill. Blake Sherwood served as acolyte.

Founded in April 1889, on land purchased from John Gordner, and along with a field belonging to his son, Jacob Gordner, the grounds became a site for the church and cemetery grounds. With 18 charter members, the building’s dedication was held December 14, 1890 and became part of a trio of sister churches now closed.

On their 80th anniversary in 1970, the church was remodeled. On August 4, 1973, fire completely destroyed the edifice, basically the entire building. A dedication of a new structure was held on April 24th, 1977.

PHOTO BY CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary State Representative Garth Everett (left) presents a citation to the Reverend Ronald Montgomery and Council President John Gordner during the 125th anniversary service at St. John Lutheran Church at Gordner's Grove near Unityville on Oct 11, 2015.

Called to serve as Lay Leader on October 12, 2008, Montgomery became the church’s 48th pastoral leader. Later ordained at St. John’s, Rev. Montgomery is five generations removed from original landowner, John Gordner.

The anniversary committee consisted of Dotty Gordner, Keith Gordner, Dale Keller, Eileen Montgomery, Joanne Mosteller, Leona Poust, Mary Ann Shaffer and Rosalie Worthington. The anniversary cake was baked and decorated by Reta Poust.

At 17 months old, Bentley Worthington was the youngest in attendance. The toddler represented a fourth generation family including parents Wesley and Brittany (Moyer) Worthington, grandmother Rosalie (Poust) Keller, and great-grandmother Reta (Wheeland) Poust.

The service concluded with the hymn “The Church’s One Foundation.”

BY CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary Acolyte Blake Sherwood lights candles in the sanctuary at St. John Lutheran Church at Gordner's Grove near Unityville, opening the 125th anniversary service on Oct. 11, 2015.