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Congregation celebrates and remembers

By Staff | Sep 13, 2012

Noted at a celebratory service at the Clarkstown United Methodist Church were (front l-r): Lila Snyder, Eleanor Blackwell, Melva Smith, and Harvey “Bud” Moyer; (Row 2): Nancy Winder, Donna Snyder, Pastor Grace Marie Ransom and former Pastor Art Gladfelter.

CLARKSTOWN – A hush came over the congregation as Pastor Grace Marie Ransom lighted a large candle representing keepers of the faith whom are remembered but no longer with us.

“We are the church, not this building,” said the pastor at Clarkstown United Methodist Church on Sunday Sept. 9 during a morning service. The service was planned to dedicate the newly refurbished century old windows and the 155th anniversary of the formation of what became the Clarkstown church.

Pastor Ransom spoke of symbols within the sanctuary as reminders of our Christian heritage. She commented on the unknown number of persons who’d walked the aisle of the church, which she called “a runway between God’s presence and his world.”

Liturgist Harvey “Bud” Moyer read a fitting scripture, a portion taken from Psalm 100 “For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Also relevant were the hymn selections, “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation” and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”

An eight voice choir sang “The Little Brown Church in the Vale” led by Nancy Bogart Winder and accompanied by pianist Donna Bogart Snyder.

Also attending were the Reverend and Mrs. Arthur Gladfelter. From 1981 to 1995, Pastor Art served a term of 14 years at Clarkstown while serving at Hughesville’s Christ United Methodist Church for 18 years. “I congratulate you on your growth and give you my very best wishes,” Gladfelter said.

Melva Confer Smith, who will celebrate 94 years of life on October 13, was the eldest member in attendance. She’d joined the membership in 1937 after graduating from Muncy Creek High School and prior to her 1938 marriage to the late Frank W. Smith. “I was married in this church as was all four of our daughters and son Allen,” Smith said.

Having recently been baptized at the church, five-month-old Turner Leigey, son of Andrew and Heather (Shaner) Leigey was the youngest attendee at the celebration.

When the moment came to dedicate the windows, the pastor invited the congregation to put their hand on a part of the window’s frame. One of those was Eleanor Poust Blackwell of Elysburg, descendant of Anna Walton Opp for whom one of the six windows had been memorialized in 1912.

The window named for founder and exhorter Jacob Fiester was claimed by descendant Lila Fiester Snyder of Muncy.

Honoring Martha Tolbert Bellig and the window dedicated to her; a poem by grandson Daniel E. Bellig was read. The poem is from the booklet “Memories of the old town,” and titled “Get Insured.” It’s a parable of sorts with instruction on how to obtain Blessed Assurance. The words reveal the heritage of Bellig’s faith, instilled in him at the church and by his grandmother’s legacy.

This summer, the stained glass windows were removed and replaced after being repaired at the Williamsport Shop of Glass by Lindi. Fundraisers and donations have covered 85 percent of the cost. Anyone wishing to send a donation may mail it to the church at 3117 Clarkstown Rd, Muncy, PA 17756-6702.