Moundsville First Christian Church Celebrates 150 Years

The Moundsville First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will be observing its 150th anniversary celebration Sept. 27-30.

Current pastor Wesley Howsare said,“This is a special time in the life of our church, as we will be coming together to remember the legacy that has been passed on to us, and in so doing we will be honoring the present.”

“A special dedication will go out to those early Disciples who were led to organize this congregation in the spirit of Thomas and Alexander Campbell; those many dedicated pastors who, by their faith and leadership, led us to follow the teachings of Christ and encouraged us to live as Christ would have us to live; those many members who, over the years have helped us to continue on our faith journey by giving of their time, their talents and their financial resources. By their faith, hard work, and devotion, this congregation continues to be a lasting and inviting presence in this community and continues to serve others in Christ’s name,” pastor Howsare stated.

“This 150th year, Journey of Faith for the Moundsville Disciples of Christ Church began on Dec. 16, 1868. At that time, a small group of 27 persons met in the home of a family by the name of Criss and organized themselves into a Christian Church as established at Brush Run and other surrounding areas by Thomas and Alexander Campbell,” Howsare added.

He explained, “The first meeting house (outside of private homes) was a building known as Liberty Hall and was later moved to the Odd Fellows Hall on the north side of Tenth Street.”

In reviewing the church’s history, Pastor Howsare, along with several church members, learned that Ephraim Doolittle had been the first pastor and the membership doubled under his leadership. He served from 1868-70. The following years saw the membership have it ups and downs and from 1870-73 there were no regular meetings and the congregation scattered. But, the good news was that in June 1873, the church was reorganized and during that period, there were many people who ministered to the congregation, including several students from Bethany College.

Pastor Howsare said, “Our church experienced a significant growth in membership under the ministry of Rev. J.B. Smith (1884-86 and 1892-1904). During his second ministry, a building was erected at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Seventh Street. This building was dedicated Jan. 23, 1899. Today we know this building as the Salvation Army Service Unit.”

In tribute to this structure and several of the current members who attended this church through 1958, a service will be held there on Sept. 27. The theme of Pastor Howsare sermon’s will be, “Remembering Our Legacy.” Those attending this service are to meet at 6:30 p.m., for photographs, with the service to begin at 7 p.m., at which time there will be a remembering and rededication.

The other three days of 150th anniversary events will be as follows:

Sept 28 — The theme will be, “Gathering for Fellowship.” During the day, the current church will be open for people to tour the building and check out the memorabilia. At 7 p.m., there will be a time for enjoying entertainment and fellowship, featuring the Ron Retzer Trio. A love offering will be taken, and there will be refreshments served in fellowship hall after the entertainment.

Sept 29 — The theme will be, “Celebrating the Present, Remembering the Past.” There will be dinner (catered by Bob’s Lunch). This dinner is by invitation only. Following the dinner, there will be entertainment.

Sept. 30 — The theme will be, “Our Journey and Legacy Continues.” At 9:30 a.m., there will be Church School for all ages. At the 10:30 morning worship, Rev. Thaddaeus Allen, Regional Minister, will be the speaker. A light luncheon will be served following the worship.

It was because of church membership growth that a new church was built.

In 1949 the membership exceeded 1,100. It soon became apparent that a larger building was needed. The Rev. I. Clifford Bucy was pastor at the time that basic plans were made for a new church building. Rev. E.P. Schaich then assumed the pastoral responsibilities, and with the help and sacrifice of a great many dedicated people, the present church home was constructed and dedicated, the dedication taking place Nov. 2, 1958.

In the past 150 years the church has been served by 20 different full-time pastors, one having served at two different times), four interim pastors and seven students from Bethany College.

There have been two church members who became commissioned ministers and 12 former members who became pastors in other congregations.

The 150th anniversary committee has included:

A.D. Rutter, chairman; Debby Anderson, Jeff Anderson, Betty Burley, Neil Burkett, Mae Crow, Shirley Dulaney, Helen Edge, Bill Francis, Mary Francis, Melvin Francis, Kathy Hardway, Vicki Howsare, Wesley Howsare, John Nozum, Barb Riggle, Aubree Robinson, Jolien Robinson, Lora Rutter, Earl Shaw, Barbara Stern, Bob Stern and Jackie Woodward.

The church’s general board officers are: Neil Burkett, moderator; A.D. Rutter, vice moderator; Judy Wellman, secretary; and Ann Thomas, treasurer.

The theme for Thursday’s Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event will be that of the 1980s, with those attending asked to wear their favorite 80s workout gear.

The BAH will be hosted by Hudson Premier Physical Therapy and Fitness on North Lafayette Avenue. The hours are 5-7 p.m.

RSVP to the chamber via telephone or email.

Tickets for the annual Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Dinner are on sale at the chamber office.

The dinner will be Oct. 4 at the Training Center within the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary.

The guest speaker will be “Pittsburgh Dad,” who is being sponsored by Bordas and Bordas PLLC.

Mark your calendar for Sept. 29 if you plan to attend the annual Grand Vue Park Fall Festival, which will take place that day from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The event will feature crafts, food, inflatables, music, etc.

The park is accepting vendors. Call the office at 304-845-9810 to sign up to be a vendor.

Susan Saseen, from the Eye Center at both the Moundsville and The Highlands, was the speaker this past week’s meeting of the Moundsville Lions Club.

The Moundsville Lions Club provides funding for eye examinations and eye glasses for those who can’t afford them.

This past month the club purchased eight examinations and eight pairs of eye glasses.

Saseen told the Lions Club members on behalf of herself and Dr. Edward W. Crum that it is a pleasure to work with the Lions Club in providing these services.

It should be a big day Saturday in Moundsville, as both the 20th annual Elizabethtown Festival and the 8th annual Uptown Merchants Association Committee Festival will be taking place.

The hours for both events will be 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The Elizabethtown Festival will be held at the Training Center inside the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary, while the UMAC event will take place on The Avenue (Jefferson Avenue from Second to Fifth Streets).

There is no free for either event.

The Elizabethtown Festival, sponsored by the Moundsville Economic Development Council (MEDC), features numerous culture heritage attractions. One of the attractions this year will be hats to be worn by women who will also be dressed in long dresses from the past.

The UMAC’s event features more modern attractions including numerous ones for children.

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