Baptist Church marks 175 years
MUNCY – One of the oldest churches in Muncy Borough recently celebrated a 175 year anniversary. With an open house and ice cream social, attendees were greeted with a warm welcome by Pastor Robert Rice and his wife Jen as they stood outside on a pleasant Sunday afternoon in late June.
Located on the corner of West Penn and Market Streets, the church was built in 1896 after the original building on South Market and High Streets outgrew its congregation. It was founded in 1841 by the Rev. William T. Hall who called a meeting on June 24, 1841 and a group of 28 baptized believers organized and formed the Independent Regular Baptist Church of Muncy.
It was later changed to Muncy Baptist Church and was admitted to the Northumberland Baptist Association.
Baptists were very active in the Muncy vicinity and before the church was built, they would have their meetings in the old schoolhouse in Muncy which stood “at the upper end of the village.”
The building for the second church was proposed by Reverend L. J. Shoemaker, chair of the building committee and served as pastor during its completion on November 22, 1896.
The chronological history of the church was visually connected at the open house with lots of memorabilia and photographs from members and former pastors. Committee members, Whitney Bernan and Nicole Flick said that many of the church’s members brought in booklets, photos, cards and albums acquired over the years from various retreats.
Ken Gottschall who attended the open house said there is no longer anything there in Muncy where the original church once stood. “It is a vacant lot now,” he said. “Word was there was a cemetery also, and they moved the bodies to the Muncy cemetery,” said Gottschall as he made a reference to the original building erected on S. Market and High Streets.
Judy Stringfellow also helped with the open house and the extensive archives from the past 175 years. The church was renovated in 2013 she said when the sanctuary and adjoining rooms were completed. New pews were also added and air conditioning.
“God is alive and working in the lives of our members,” said Pastor Rice. The focus is God’s word as the primary value through scriptures, music and sermons. The church is fond of prayer requests and uses the technology through emails for prayer chains when needed. They also have multiple Bible study groups and members like to get involved helping each other, especially through outreach projects.
“We look forward to the coming years as we watch God continue to work and trust in His goodness and love. God is alive and working in the lives of our members.” So far there have been 36 pastors who have served at Muncy Baptist Church since 1841. Community service is 9 a.m. on Sundays followed by worship at 10 a.m.