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A Moreland Baptist Homecoming

By Staff | Oct 18, 2011

Honored as longtime members at Moreland Baptist Church were (L-R): Jesse Houseknecht and Wilbur Rupert. (Rear) Cindy Mueller, chair of homecoming committee; Dr. Linda Quodomine, speaker; and Bernadette Miller, newly appointed church secretary.

Two 90-year-olds with a difference in age of six weeks were honored during the annual homecoming at Moreland Baptist Church. Jesse Houseknecht has the longest running membership totaling 73 years, and Wilbur Rupert is the eldest member in age. Thelma Snyder Sager Ryder was the eldest female member present.

Gerald Houseknecht facilitated the service with Bonnie Bower Snyder sharing a history she’d researched at Bucknell University. The church began about 1819 in a union hall near Smith Mill. Henry Clark, the first recorded pastor, was ordained there. In 1831, the congregation along with six local churches, voted to sponsor a center for higher learning – high school, college and a theological seminary, now Bucknell University in Lewisburg. “Often students came summers to fill the pulpit, most by train to Muncy on Saturday afternoons where a member picked them up, housed them overnight and sent them off again after Sunday’s noon meal,” Snyder said.

Records credit 259 baptisms in the years 1834-1844. In 1853, a Mr. Opp purveyed land for the church’s current location described as a ‘pine grove.’ A shelter to protect horses from the elements was built which also served as a festival booth.

Twice fire destroyed the church, in 1882 and 1932. Costs for the first replacement totaled $969. The Rev. Henry C. Munro, who’d been called to pastor three time totaling 35 years, was there during that trying time. His additional circuit also included White Hall and Lairdsville. “When snow was too deep for horses, he walked,” Snyder said. Other pastorates for Munro were Jackson Baptist in Columbia County, Picture Rocks and the First Baptist Church in Williamsport.

The Rev. Earl Guyer was pastor when the church burned in 1932. The Muncy Fire Company refused to respond fearing a fire in town during their absence, so parishioners watched it burn to the ground. Rev. Guyer reportedly said, “while the ashes still smoldered, folks were talking about the rebuilding.”

During last Sunday’s service, Bobbi Greico rendered two vocal selections before speaker Dr. Quodomine was introduced.

Appearing in dress representative of Biblical days, Dr. “Q” recited the book of James from memory. The audience’s attention was captivated by the distinctness in her voice. Later she explained that in her occupation as an equine veterinarian, she spends lots of time in her truck where she carries a Bible. “What is committed to memory, God will bring back,” the Bloomsburg resident said.

It was announced that the long awaited pastors will conduct their initial service on Nov 20.

Underneath printed drawings by the late Florence Derrick Houseknecht’s of the three church edifices and parsonage, the church bulletin reads, “The friendly family Church serving Christ.”