Country Church hosted Homecoming
MUNCY-A trio of events wrapped into a single day occurred Sunday, Oct. 20 at Moreland Baptist Church. Billed as a ‘Fall Festival,’ ‘Homecoming’ and ‘Bring your tractor to Church,’ the day was filled with activities for one and all.
A longstanding comical description of the location is “It’s the church between two corn fields.” Designated as an Agricultural Security Area, farming remains the chief occupation in Moreland Township.
The barely noticeable rain did not dampen the celebratory observances. Minutes before worship began, a traffic backup occurred when a trio of John Deere’s wheeled into the display area where a total of 24 tractors parked adjacent the church.
Under the direction of Paul and Michael Ritter, judging resulted in awarding the following ribbons: Best of Show-Vernon Temple’s John Deere 70; Oldest tractor-a 1939 John Deere A, also by Vernon Temple; Newest tractor was a John Deere M6115 brought by Paul Bower who also won for coming a distance of 20 miles from Dr. Poust Road in Penn Township. First in the category of most original was Roger Snyder with an Oliver 660. Most horse power was the John Deere 7020 shown by Lynn Temple and the least horsepower entry was a Ford owned by Julie Whitmoyer.
Not to be outdone by the ‘big boys,’ a lineup of pedal tractors were corralled in a taped off area. In the center, straw bales provided a round-about where youngsters exercised their leg muscles.
Additional activities included a blow-up bounce castle, pumpkin painting, a popcorn machine, ring toss, hayride, music and food, food, food.
An attendance of 166 (give or take one or two) matches the number of years the congregation has met. Beginning in the 1840s they gathered in the ‘Old Union Meeting House.’ In 1846, they were received as members into the Northumberland Baptist Association. They erected the first church in 1853, a larger edifice in 1883 which was destroyed by fire in 1932 and rebuilt the following year. In 1953 a parsonage was erected and in 1957 a Christian education wing added to the church. A new sanctuary and fellowship hall was added in 1995.
Beginning the recent worship with a welcome, Kay Wallis represented the committee. Special music was provided by Benton area residents Lorraine and Joe Feloa of Raven Creek Band. Selections included ‘The Old Country Church,’ ‘God’s Not Dead,’ ‘Dust on the Bible,’ and ‘Man in the Middle,’ the latter depicting Jesus as the middle man on Calvary’s Cross.
Between vocal renditions, Joe recounted an occurrence of the morning. “Midway through breakfast, I decided to put our instruments in the car. When I returned the food on my plate was gone. Our elderly dog has trouble with stairs but ably got on the chair and ate my breakfast. At first I was upset but soon forgave her when remembering God forgives us of our temporary short comings.”
As Lorraine strummed the guitar and Joe plucked the banjo, there occurred an unrehearsed example of what homecomings are about. Escaping from her seat, toddler Cora Snyder made her way to the center of the front pews where she began to swing with the music. Cora represents the sixth generation of the U. Z. and Minnie (Johnson) Faus family constants at the church for more than a century.
Introduced and lauded as excelling in communication technology, the guest speaker’s Facebook page is a ledger of his travels. Mark Mahserjian-Smith serves as Regional Director of the American Baptist Churches. A previous post was a 15-year stay at the Hepburnville Baptist Church.
Taken from John, Chapter 4, Smith’s message title was “Talk with Strangers.” In essence, “The passage records the meeting at the well between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. Had he not taken a longer alternate route to his next destination, they would not have met. Jesus overrode the culture of the times restricting any association between Jews and Samaritans. Upon realizing who Jesus was, the woman left her water jar, ran to the village and bid all to come hear the one who’d told her all she’d ever done. The two-day stay to teach and preach resulted in the establishment of an early successful church in the area.”
The speaker went on to say, “We have been engrained with the phrase ‘Stranger-Danger.’ Like Jesus, we must find a way to break the norms and share the Savior’s message.”
In conclusion, Smith complimented the congregation by saying, “You do awesome things together; you reach out to your community and engage others. You may be Christ’s only ambassador, the only Bible some will ever read.”
***IN RELATED NEWS***
The Rev. and Mrs. Thomas Brokow have made Moreland Baptist their church home. Upon leaving the Hughesville Baptist Church, Brokow accepted assignment as Chaplain with UMPC, a position previously held by the Rev. David Fischer.
Also, the Rev. and Mrs. Robert Ingraham have removed from duties at Moreland Baptist Church and he has accepted the Chaplain position with the Geisinger Medical Center.
Interim pastors are currently at both churches as pulpit committees search for replacements.