The Story of the Mainesburg United Methodist Church

Mainesburg, Pennsylvania

 

Mainesburg United Methodist Church began when a group of friends felt the need to communicate with and serve God. In 1808, Reverend Joseph Mitchell, a Methodist-Episcopal minister, preached the first sermon to this small group of people. Later, a formal church was organized, land was purchased, and a small frame building was erected and used until 1875, when the present brick church was finished.

In our church's history, the story of people listening to the voice of God and doing His will, sometimes in very small ways, is what pushes our service to Him forward. For example, at the very beginning, no one could think of a way to fund the building of the first church. One woman stepped forward and gave ten dollars that she had been saving for a new silk dress. That gift sparked others to give, and soon the first church was able to be built. The main focal point of our church is a painting of an open Bible, complete with scriptures of the Twenty-third Psalm and the Lord's Prayer. It seemingly floats on clouds high above the alter at the front of the church. The original art was painted shortly after the church was finished, and a new painting was done at the time of the last remodeling by a young girl from our congregation. During our worship service, we feel that looking at this wonderful painting of the Word of God is His way of directing our eyes and hearts toward Heaven, so that we may be guided to think of what our service to Him should be.

Our church has had its share of trouble. In 1969, a young minister preaching here, decided he would take over the church and lead it away from Methodism, but he soon found out that the people of the church did not actually own the building; the United Methodist Conference did. However, his take-over bid still did serious damage to the church by splitting the congregation into two separate groups. One group met with him in another building, and the rest tried to continue with a new minister in the present church. Because of this split, those who tried to keep the church open, decided to "temporarily" yoke with the State Road Baptist Church, which was also having difficulties, until both churches could stabilize. It was a challenging struggle for many years, but eventually most of our members returned to the original church. However, more than ten years later, we were still yoked with State Road. That meant that every other three months, either the State Road church was closed or the Mainesburg church was. Also, neither church was really able to grow, because new people often had a difficult time deciding which church they should join without hurting feelings in the church they didn't join. Another problem was that neither church could really get a Sunday School program started due to the constant moving from one church to the other. The year 1983 brought further changes when a realignment occured. The Elk Run United Methodist Church closed; Covington United Methodist Church was added to the Blossburg parish, and the Roseville United Methodist Church was added to our parish. This also added new personalities, a new parsonage, new financial obligations, and a new minister to the mix. In 1985, a painful and stressful separation from State Road finally occured, but since Mainesburg did not have an adult Sunday School class, our people continued to attend the State Road class. Sometime in 1989, after much prayer and thought, two Mainesburg women decided to start an adult class because they felt the need to learn more about God, so that His teachings that could be applied to modern life. Five quarterlies were ordered, and it was announced that class would begin the following Sunday for all who cared to attend. Six came! More books were ordered. Others came until eventually there were two adult classes, and five children's classes.

 

In more recent years, a retired music professor directed people from our congregation in the "Mainesburg Follies" and "Christmas at Mainesburg", which were musical reviews of Broadway tunes and dance numbers. The shows eventually came off without a hitch, but at the last minute, just before the first show, we had to reschedule around the high school graduation ceremony and the Methodist Annual Conference! A wonderful time of fundraising, fellowship and fun had provided yet another way in which we could serve our Lord. A young boy scout in our congregation saw that the sanctuary needed to be painted. He selected this massive undertaking as his Eagle Scout project. This new paint job led to new carpeting and a new heating system, which provided a much more comfortable worship area. Many people work hard at our fundraisers, which are needed because we built a new addition to the church which began as a dream in 1991, started with a work camp in 1998, and in 1999, we finished Memorial Hall, complete with a new kitchen, dining room, office area, church library, and many classrooms.

Along with this much needed new wing, however, came a whole new set of responsibilities and challenges, such as: maintenance, more heating bills, a large mortgage, what to do about a now faltering Sunday School program, etc., but we want to use this building for the best service to God. Recently, at a church council meeting, one woman spoke about what she called the "Potato Project". In the spring, she brought a fifty pound bag of potatoes to church with her one Sunday. Members were encouraged to take one or several of these potatoes home, plant them in their gardens or flower beds, and harvest them in the fall. From that one bag, our church donated over 600 pounds of potatoes to the Mansfield Area Food Pantry!

As stated in the beginning, God only needs to give one person one little idea to get a great thing started. A line from a hymn tells us, "It only takes a spark to get a fire going". We hope that we are those sparks. God is at work in our church today, just as He was in the beginning. Though we are not perfect people, nor are we a perfect church, we hope and pray that we will continue to seek God's guidance as we work to be His servant church, and that He will always use us to do His work.

Written and Submitted By: Sherry H. Courtney, Member

For information about the history of Mainesburg UMC please contact our Church Historian

To read more about the history of area, check out Local historian, Joyce Tice's website