March – 100 years ago
The Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church met March 15-20, 1916, at the Eighth Avenue Church in Altoona. In 1972 Eighth Avenue received the members from Faith (former Evangelical) and became Faith UMC. In 2010 Faith merged into Wehnwood (former United Brethren) UMC. Among the 1916 business conducted was the receiving of $150 in proceeds from the sale of the Opp church on the Washingtonville charge – a building with an uncertain history. It was erected about 1845 (the oldest readable date in the cemetery) in Moreland Township, Lycoming County, because the doors of the old union church “were thrown open for all denominations except the Methodists.” Services were discontinued for a number of years, but re-instated in 1898 and held at least until 1913. The structure was dismantled in 1938 and the wood and windows used in buildings on a nearby farm. The site is presently marked by a small cemetery and a sign reading “Moreland Methodist Burying Grounds” – but only about one-third of the original gravestones remain.
April – 50 years ago
The 12th Annual Methodist Men’s Mass Rally of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Church was held April 1, 1966, at First Methodist Church in Lewistown, Mifflin County. The program opened with a 30-minute gospel hymn-sing led by Ned S. Bly of Watsontown. Featured speaker for the evening was 1962 inductee into baseball’s Hall of Fame Jackie Robinson. Also participating in the program was Bishop Newell Booth. Some churches chartered a bus, and others organized car caravans to transport their attendees. It was reported that 1,837 men “jammed First Church for this outstanding event” as “the largest group of men ever to assemble in one place at one time in our Conference.”