Roney’s Point Presbyterian Church Welcomes Faithful for More Than a Century
By JESSICA BROVERMAN
TRIADELPHIA — Roney’s Point Presbyterian Church has been welcoming worshippers to its site on Dallas Pike Road since 1872.
Well over a century later, the church has changed many things, but one thing that has not changed is members’ desire to help others.
Roney’s Point Presbyterian has seen 19 pastors come and go, all of whom are still present in a series of photos at the church. There are currently four female deacons and 137 members of the church.
The deacons, who collectively have been members of the congregation for about 250 years, are heavily involved and enjoy hosting events such as a monthly soup and sandwich event. Some have been with the church for a few decades and others their entire lives.
The deacons at Roney’s Point make a point of helping their neighbors, whether they are members of the church, members of the local community or members of the global community. Members of the church assist at local soup kitchens and help children in and around Wheeling.
“We recently held a vacation Bible school where children put together boxes that hold school supplies. These boxes will be donated to children in the area that may not be able to afford a set of markers, pencils, paper and things like that,” said elder June Straub, who works closely with the deacons and has been with the church for 20 years.
The church also has taken part in an event entitled Stop Hunger for four years. Necessities are purchased and sent to areas that have a shortage of food, such as Haiti, or areas affected by disasters, including hurricane victims in Houston, Texas.
“Other churches in the area and all over contribute to Stop Hunger and collectively we raised $18,000 (this year). The boxes include things like vitamins and bags of rice, which feed six people per bag,” said deacon Betty Jane Myers, who has been a member of the church since birth.
The women of the church say they have helped local residents pay for funeral costs, a family’s electric bill and have sent a boy to science camp. A scholarship fund was also implemented after a member of the church who strongly supported education died.
A non-member of the church spoke with Straub about why Roney’s Point is special compared to other churches.
“I love our mega church for a lot of reasons, but this church provides people with home-cooked meals (and they) send them home with extra food … ,” the individual told Straub. “That’s when I wish I belonged to a little church.”
The congregation has been open to the public since the first service was held Friday, Nov. 24, 1871. Though this was the first service at the church site, worship had been held at a nearby schoolhouse while the church had yet to be constructed.
According to the church’s historical records, “When the church was built in 1872, an overflow crowd of worshipers marched from the school house to the ‘new church’ singing ‘Old Hundredth’ the 122nd Psalm.”
The original church still stands today but with many more amenities than in 1872, such as a stair chair for the elderly and handicapped and a finished basement. Among the many things members of the church are thankful they have retained are the stained glass windows, which are 115 years old.
“Our stained glass windows were collapsing and falling inward. We had no idea how to fix the issue so we decided to think on it and pray on it,” Straub said. “Not long after, we signed a gas lease for the land behind us, which paid for a whole lot of the cost. We were able to hold onto these beautiful pieces of the churches history instead of replacing them with more modern fixtures.”
The people of the church are proud to have a deep history, but they are even more proud of helping others. They want non-members to know they can be a part of their church without being as involved as others.
“If you want to go to church and you want to be fed by the word, that’s fine. You’re there — you’re opening your heart,” Straub said.