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Muncy church dedicates new addition

By Staff | Jan 15, 2016

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary The Muncy United Methodist choir, led by Tom Ruhl, sings from the stage of the newly built Celebration Center during the church's dedication services held last Sunday.

MUNCY – With the theme, “Growing deeper, Reaching wider,” the congregation of the Muncy United Methodist Church dedicated their second and latest addition to the building they’ve inhabited since 1972.

Of the new structure, former pastor Michael Gardy said, “From my vantage point across the street, I was able to watch the dream come true, beam by beam and brick by brick.”

It was during Gardy’s tenure that a 2020 team was formed, a group of visionaries working toward the goal realized on Sunday, January 10, 2016.

Sentiments shared by dignitaries and special guests included congratulations from former pastor the Rev. Bruce Smay who asked, “Do you recall the day 42 years ago, when we carried our hymnals and marched up the street to this place?” He reminded the congregation that within that group, now more than four decades ago, when 90-year-old Grandma Boatman refused the offer to ride in a car, because she wanted to march.

“This addition is evidence of your love of God and your neighbors. While many churches are closing or merging, this is a refreshing change,” said Bishop Jeremiah Park of the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church.

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary "Steadfast Faith," was the title of the song delivered by quartet members (left-right) Pete Ruhl, Tom Ruhl, T. J. McCabe and Kevin Myers during the day of celebration at the dedication of a new addition to the Muncy United Methodist Church.

District Superintendent, the Rev. Beth Jones said, “I congratulate you on your incredible and gracious leadership. You will be serving people in this community in the name of Jesus Christ.”

The worship service was heralded in by trumpeters accompanied by other brass instruments, and later a bell choir rang out in unison. Prior to the choir singing Charles Wesley’s hymn, “How Can it Be,” choir director Tom Ruhl announced that as a gift for the day, T. J. McCabe wrote a new musical score for the age old song. His voice cracking with emotion, Ruhl said he’d known McCabe as a youngster growing up in the church, now pastor in Lake Como, PA.

Another vocal selection, “Steadfast Faith,” was given by a quartet featuring the voices of T. J. McCabe, Kevin Myers, Peter Ruhl and Tom Ruhl.

Current pastor, the Rev. Arlene Beechert said, “I’m over the moon with excitement about today.” Quoting from a trailer of the recently released movie “Star Wars,” Beechert noted the phrase, “Every generation has its story.” She then continued to enumerate the history of Methodism in this valley. “Prayer meetings began in log cabins in 1791 and in 1854, the church at 206 South Market Street was built.” As for visionaries, the pastor said, “They need three parts – a past, present and future. History belongs to visionaries; looking back gives us the strength to go forward.”

In closing Beechert said, “We’ve come this far by faith, how will we add to that sacred story?”

Participating in dedication services for the newly constructed Celebration Center at the United Methodist Church in Muncy were (seated left to right): Reverends R. Bruce Smay, Jeremiah Park, Beth Jones. Back row: T. J. McCabe, Arlene Beechert, Michael Gardy, and Associate Director of Music, Tom Ruhl.

Exiting the sanctuary, all moved to the new addition’s lower lever for a time of consecration and dedication. A meal was served by food staffers headed by Betsy Mothersbaugh.

James Mothersbaugh and Steve Godfrey served as co-chairs for the construction of the Celebration Center.

During the afternoon, both church goers and the community at large were invited to tour the $3.4 million dollar, two story, 23,000 square foot addition.

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary Bryce Eckard, (front), accompanied by sister Lacy and parents Mary and Jeremy Eckard, are among those entering the newly constructed Celebration Center at Muncy United Methodist Church. It was a duo celebration as Bryce's 8th birthday coincided with the center's dedication on Sunday, January 10, 2016.