First United Methodist Church
One Hundred Fiftieth Anniversary
Rev. Gary Atkinson—Pastor
306 S. Spruce Street
March 18, 2007
Booklet is dedi-
cated to the host of
devoted and loyal
men and women
who in varying ca-
pacities across the
past one hundred
fifty years helped lay the foundations and guided the destiny of
the church that has grown to be the First United Methodist
Church of Emporium, Pennsylvania. ―You have come from
afar and waited long and are wearied.
Let us sit side by
side, sharing the
same bread drawn
from the same
source to quiet the
same hunger that
makes us weak.
Then standing to-
gether let us share
the same spirit, the
same thoughts that
once again draw us
together in friend-
ship and unity and
A.R. Rielley ............... 1857 - 1859 J.A. Dixon .............1859 - 1860
J.Cole ........................ 1860 Charles Nash .........1860 - 1861
J.T. Craig ................... 1861 - 1862 J.R. King ...............1862 - 1863
W.C. Hesser ............... 1863 - 1865 G.W. Van Fossen ...1865 - 1866
W.H. Stevens ............. 1866 - 1867 James Mullen ........1867 - 1869
M.L. Drum ................ 1869 - 1872 A.B. Hooven .........1872 - 1874
J.W. Olewine ............. 1874 - 1876 H.T. Cares .............1876 - 1878
J.W. Vrooman ............ 1878 - 1881 Benj. H. Creever ...1881 - 1883
R.H. Gilbert ............... 1883 - 1886 E.M. Stephens .......1886 - 1889
J.W. Rue .................... 1889 - 1893 E.A. Deavor ..........1893 - 1896
J.M. Johnson.............. 1896 - 1899 W,P. Shriner ..........1899 - 1900
O.S. Metzler .............. 1900 - 1906 N.E.C. Cleaver ......1906 - 1908
J.J. Anderson ............ 1908 - 1911 J. Emory Weeks ....1911 - 1914
L.M. Brady ................ 1914 - 1915 James H. Morgart ..1915 - 1917
W.W. Banks ............... 1917 - 1921 J.M. Brennan.........1921 - 1927
S.S. Carnell................ 1927 - 1930 C.F. Berkheimer ....1930 - 1936
W.L. Armstrong ......... 1936 - 1940 J.H. Greenwalt ......1940 - 1943
G.A. Williams ............ 1943 - 1946 J.R. Moore ............1946 - 1953
J.G. Rigby ................. 1953 - 1961 O.R. Kraft .............1961 - 1966
D.P. Schroeder ........... 1966 - 1969 A. Shank ...............1969 - 1971
H.E. Boyd .................. 1971 G.A. Miller ...........1971 - 1978
D.E. Hughes .............. 1978 - 1987 W. Morgan ............1987 - 1992
J.V. Spahr Jr. .............. 1992 - 2000 E. McElroy............2000 - 2004
OUR CHURCH LEADERS
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton Rev. Robert W. Higginbotham
Reverend Gary B. Atkinson
For the past 8 – 10 months we have been asking people to share
their memories as we have been preparing for out 150th Anniversary.
Many of those memories can be seen in this program. I would like to
take this opportunity to share my memory as well.
There is always apprehension when one is faced with a new ex-
perience. Moving to Cameron County and to the First United Method-
ist Church was no different. Thoughts of uncertainly almost always
creep up. What a wonderful experience it was when we finally got to
meet. As I recall, it was a time of celebration as we worshipped to-
gether for the first time, as we shared in Holy Communion and as we
shared in fellowship.
Ginger and I have been blessed with the relationships that we
have developed since our first meeting. The feeling of celebration has
continued as we began to share in ministry together.
Today, as we come to celebrate this historic event, the 150th An-
niversary of this church, the word ‗celebrate‘ is at the very core of what
we attempt to do. We celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ. As children,
we may recall singing ‘This Little Light of Mine‘. As adults, we cele-
brate carrying that light into our community and making disciples for
Celebrate my friends. This is the day to celebrate. Tomorrow we
go back to work carrying the light of Christ into our community. May
God continue to bless this church, its people and its ministries as we
continue the call of Christ to make disciples for the transformation of
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
March 18, 2007
Fourth Sunday in Lent
150th Anniversary Celebration
THE TOLLING OF THE BELLS
THE ORGAN PRELUDE
(The Prelude is an act of worship. It is a time when we begin to prepare
ourselves spiritually for worshipping God, our Creator and Redeemer.
Focus silently on God‘s presence in this place and in these gathered people.)
THE WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
THE CHORAL INTROIT ‗Let Us Celebrate‘
* THE INVOCATION
* THE CALL TO WORSHIP (Responsively)
P: Bless God at all times; may praise of God be always in your mouth.
C: Our souls make their boast in God, the afflicted hear and are glad.
P: O magnify our God with me, and let us exalt God‘s name together.
C: We sought our God, who answered us and delivered us from all our fears.
P: Look to God and be radiant, so your faces shall never be ashamed.
C: O taste and see that God is good! Happy is the one who takes refuge in God.
* THE AFFIRMATION OF FAITH #881
* THE GLORIA PATRI #70
* THE HYMN OF PRAISE ―O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing‖ #57
* THE PASSING OF THE PEACE
THE BELL CHOIR ‗Trust and Obey‘
MOMENT OF REMEMBERANCE
THE SHARING OF OUR JOYS AND CONCERNS
THE HYMN OF PREPERATION ―Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross‖ #301
THE PRAYER OF CONFESSION (In Unison)
Loving Jesus, there are times when we cannot believe your love for us and for others.
We stay away in fear or shame or close off parts of our lives in case you look upon us in
judgment. Sometimes we cannot imagine that you will want us near you as we imagine
your holiness. Turn our lives around that we may look you in the face, Jesus Christ. If
we look at others and determine that they do not deserve to be received in delight by
you, O God, putting them outside the realm of those who could be your friends and
distancing ourselves from their company: Turn our lives around that we may look you
in the face, Jesus Christ. Seat us at the table of your kindness that we may believe in
your forgiveness. Remind us of your Divine love for us and for all people. Amen.
THE PASTORAL PRAYER
THE PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD
2 Corinthians 5:16-2
THE PRESENTATION OF TITHES, GIFTS, AND OFFERINGS
‗I Sing the Mighty Power of God‟ Men‘s Choir
* THE DOXOLOGY
* THE PRAYER OF DEDICATION
THE CHORAL ANTHEM
„Great, Great Morning‟
THE CHILDREN‘S CHOIR
THE CHILDREN‘S MESSAGE
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
This is the word of the Lord! Thanks be to God.
THE MESSAGE Reverend Robert Higginbotham
* THE HYMN OF DEPARTURE ―Victory In Jesus‖ #370
* THE BENEDICTION
* THE RESPONSE
„Sweet, Sweet Spirit‟ #334
* THE POSTLUDE
Bold Face type in the context of prayers and responses, the congregation will respond.
*The Congregation will please stand, as each is able.
EMPORIUM FIRST UNITED
"History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illuminates reality,
vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of
The following pages contain the history of the Emporium First United Methodist Church.
Members have researched histories in 30 year intervals. Those members are:
Sarah Roberto (1857-1887), Carol Keller (1887– 1917), Diane Bolin (1917 - 1947),
Sandy Ford (1947 - 1977), and Diane Bolin (1977 - 2007). A segment written by Dr.
Robert Simpson written in 2000 for the General Commission on Archives and History,
covers the early circuit riders that brought the true beginning of Methodism to Emporium.
Our thanks to them for their contribution to this booklet!!
“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.”
The Circuit Riders in Early American Methodism -
By Dr. Robert Simpson as presented in the 2000
General Commission on Archives and History - The United Methodist Church
John Wesley‘s Methodist plan of multiple meeting places called circuits required an itinerat-
ing force of preachers. A circuit was made up of two or more local churches (sometimes
referred to as societies) in early Methodism. In American Methodism circuits were some-
times referred to as a ―charge.‖ A pastor would be appointed to the charge at least once, and
possibly start some new ones. At the end of the year the pastors met with the bishop at an-
nual conference, where they would often be appointed to new charges. A charge containing
only one church was called a station. The traveling preachers responsible for caring for
these societies, or local churches and stations, became known as circuit-riders, or sometimes
saddlebag preachers. They traveled light, carrying their belongings and books in their sad-
dlebags. Ranging far and wide through villages and wilderness, they preached daily or more
often at any site available be it a log cabin, the local court house, a meeting house, or an out-
door forest setting. Unlike the pastors of settled denominations, these itinerating preachers
were constantly on the move. Their assignment was often so large it might take them 5 or 6
weeks to cover the territory.
Francis Asbury (1745—1816, the founding bishop of American Methodism, set the pace.
He traveled 270,000 miles and preached 16,000 sermons as he traveled the circuits. Peter
Cartwright (1785 - 1872) described the life of the circuit-rider. He went through storms of
wind, hail, snow, and rain; climbed hills and mountains, traversed valley, plunged through
swamps, swollen streams, lay out all night, wet, weary, and hungry, held his horse by the
bridle all night, or tied him to a limb, slept with his saddle blanket for a bed, his saddle-bags
for a pillow. Often he slept in dirty cabins, ate roasting ears for bread, drank buttermilk for
coffee; took deer or bear meat, or wild turkey, for breakfast, dinner and supper. This was
old-fashioned Methodist preacher fare and fortune.‖
Not only did the preacher face physical hardship, but often he endured persecution. Free-
born Garrettson (1752 - 1827) wrote of his experience: ―I was pursued by the wicked,
knocked down, and left almost dead on the highway, my face scarred and bleeding and then
imprisoned.‖ No wonder most of these preachers died before their careers had hardly be-
What did they earn? Not much in dollars. Bishop Asbury expressed their reward when he
recruited Jesse Lee, “I am going to enlist Brother Lee. What bounty? Grace here and glory
hereafter, if he is faithful, will be given.”
The following was written by Donna Shaffer and performed
by the First United Methodist Children for the 150th Celebration
A couple hundred years ago, give or take a few
When our country was being settled and America was new.
The farms and villages were scattered, neighbors seldom to be seen
And the churches that were built were few and far between.
And even though the churches did not number very many
The preachers numbered even less—there were hardly any!
How would God‘s people grow and learn without a pastor‘s care?
How could they take Communion without a reverend there?
So God reached out to a man He knew would find a way
And the Lord told John Wesley to get on his knees and pray.
John Wesley prayed and pondered, ―What would God have him to do
To spread the Holy Gospel ‗round this country still so new?‖
And one day while he was praying the answer became clear
John Wesley shared his thoughts with all who were glad to hear.
Wesley called upon young pastors who had hearts for our King
And said, ―I have a plan and here‘s what you should bring…‖
―You‘ll need the Methodist Hymnal to lead your flock in song
Once they hear your strong voice, they‘ll gladly sing along.
You‘ll need The Book of Discipline to settle matters in dispute
And you‘ll need to bring a map so you stay on the proper route.
You‘ll need your Holy Bible to preach and teach God‘s Word to all
And to strengthen and encourage you if you ever fear you‘ll fall.
Last but not least, men, there is one thing you will need
Make certain you have a strong and fine, trustworthy steed!‖
Each young man would be in charge of several churches at one time
He would visit one each week till he hit each church down the line.
And just when the young preacher made his last and final stop
He‘d check his map and his list and start over at the top.
Each brave young man would be known as a Circuit Rider
Doing everything he‘d know to do to make God‘s Kingdom wider.
It was a hard and lonely life, they were often tired, often dirty
So hard and lonely, in fact, that most retired by age thirty.
It was these amazing Circuit Riders who gave all they had to give
They preached and taught and prayed and rode just so God‘s church would live.
If it hadn‘t been for the Circuit Riders would we be here today
Celebrating this wonderful, beautiful, glorious, proud day?
Praise God for John Wesley, a good and faithful man
And praise God for delivering such a unique, successful plan.
Praise God for Circuit Riders, trusted, tried and bold
Praise God for our church family, now One Hundred and Fifty years old!!
The cast for “The Circuit Rider”
Kelli Anthony, Scott Cokely, Zach Cokely, Tess Dubler, Brady Hepfner,
Lia Inman, Cassandra Lyon, Daniel Lyon, Mariah Reid, Amily Schatz,
Hannah Shaffer, Mason Shaffer.
You are our future!
Our thanks to the children and Donna for their hard work!!
EARLY CIRCUIT RIDERS IN CAMERON COUNTY
& SURROUNDING AREAS – By Sarah Roberto
The first Methodist Circuit Rider, Jas. Roach, was appointed by the Genessee Con-
ference in 1823. In order to cover his circuit, he had to make a trip on horseback of
247 miles, commencing at Coudersport, thence 18 miles down the Allegheny River
to the Canoe Place (now Port Allegheny) thence up the Allegheny Portage 10 miles
to the dividing ridge, thence 14 miles down Sinnemahoning Portage to its conflu-
ence with the main creek to Portage settlement, being unbroken wilderness of 24
miles with the exception of the homes of Hiram Sizer and Brewster Freeman about 6
miles up the Portage at a point near the present village of Sizerville. From the Port-
age the trail ran 3 miles to the mouth of North Creek thence back 2 mile to the
mouth of West Creek, thence by a bridle path some 7 miles up West Creek to the
south of Big Run. Thence by a bridle path 23 miles over the mountains to the Ker-
sey settlement making 30 miles of a bridle path over unbroken wilderness forest
thence 12 miles to Brockway settlement near Bennett‘s branch, thence 16 miles to
the mouth of Sinnemahoning, thence 15 miles to Youngwomanstown (North Point),
thence 37 miles returning to the confluence of Bennett‘s & Driftwood (now Empo-
rium), thence up North Creek by bridle path 17 miles to Portage Creek, thence 10
miles to Smethport and over the mountains 10 miles to Canoe Place and back to
Coudersport to the place of beginning.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR CHURCH - 1857 - 1887 ( Sarah Roberto)
The first official organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church that included the
present site of Emporium was in March 1857, when the Portage Circuit was created.
It included appointments at Shippen (now Emporium), Rich Valley, Sizers, West
Creek and Pleasant Valley. The first minister sent to the circuit was Rev. A.R.
Reilley. The first Quarterly Conference was held on June 30, 1857 and was presided
over by Rev. B. P. King. At the Quarterly Conference a committee was appointed to
make arrangements relative to a house occupied by the pastor and to secure a house
for the coming year. The name of the circuit was changed from Portage to Shippen.
In 1866 the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church presented to the court a
petition to gather themselves as a body corporate under the name of ―First Method-
ist Episcopal Church of Emporium”. January 12 1866, court having examined the
petition, George Metzger stated that at the present time of the petition there was no
published newspaper in Cameron County, so the petition was published in the Potter
Journal. Charter was granted May 18, 1868.
In 1870, the project of building a church was resurrected. The building committee
made a report to the fourth Quarterly Conference. February 11, 1871 confirming the
purchase of a lot known as the Reuben French property, situated in the east side of
Spruce Street between Third and Fourth Streets. Included in the bargain was all the
hemlock required for building purposes. The committee had a hard time finding a
―man with the ability to build a church.‖ Finally a contract was let to Barney Nefcy
of Driftwood and the church was built in 1873. (It is believed that Illustration #1 is
a picture of the original church.)
Then came the panic of 1873 and the property was sold by the sheriff to B.W. Green
as the church was unable to meet the payments. Later it was conveyed back to the
trustees. It was a constant struggle for years to keep from again getting into the
clutches of the sheriff. Then in 1886 the debt was paid in full.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR CHURCH - 1887 - 1917 (Carol Keller)
Twenty years after paying off the debt of the church built on the lot on Spruce Street
between Third and Fourth Streets, during the pastorate of Rev. J.W. Rue, the con-
gregation had outgrown the church building. So the church was sold and moved to
the lot at the corner of Spruce Street and East Allegany Avenue. It was then occu-
pied by L.L. Fisk as a residence and planing mill. It later became the Johnson
Apartments and is currently owned by George Coppersmith.
A new church, being the main portion of the present building, was erected of brick
and was dedicated on January 29, 1893. While the cost of the church was covered
by cash and subscriptions, the financial crash of 1893 caught the congregation as it
had with the crash of 1873. The subscriptions, (an agreement to pay for something
over a particular period of time) which were perfectly good when made, became
worthless and a heavy debt was left upon the church. For years it was a struggle to
keep up with the interest payments.
No repairs were made, and by the year 1899, the property had become very much
rundown. The walls and ceiling were dirty and it was proposed that it be papered to
cover the unsightliness. Rev. W.P. Shriner became pastor that year, and under his
management the idea of papering the walls was abandoned, and instead they were
nicely frescoed (the technique or method of painting on fresh plaster) and other nec-
essary repairs were made.
By the year 1900 the financial situation of the country had begun to improve, and
with a mighty effort during the pastorate of Rev. O.S. Metzler, the debt was finally
paid in full.
Also in 1900 a pipe organ was purchased at a cost of $1800 with half of the cost
paid by Andrew Carnegie.
In 1916, during the pastorate of Rev. J. H. Morgart the trustees decided it would be
wise to enlarge adding the Sunday School rooms and making other needed improve-
ments. The services of Rev. John Kranz fo New York were secured on June 18,
1916. He took a subscription amounting to $9000. Plans for the improvements
were made by John Coxhead of Buffalo, N.Y. The new Sunday School rooms were
used for the first time February 2, 1918.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR CHURCH - 1917 - 1947 (Diane Bolin)
In 1916 during the pastorate of J.H.Morgart, the Sunday School rooms were added.
Until then, only the main sanctuary existed. This was also the first year that the pos-
sibility of digging out a basement under the church was discussed. The project didn‘t
begin until 37 years later, when Roy Altman led the men of the church in a project
that took nearly three years to complete.
The Pipe organ was repaired at a cost of more than $500.00 in 1927. Further work
was done on the organ in 1929 which cost almost as much. Also in 1929, the art
glass windows were repaired as was the steeple of the church. The tower received
During the summer of 1930, the property was finally put into first class repair and
appearance. The interior walls of the auditorium and Sunday School rooms were
decorated by the Bryant Brothers Company of Columbus Ohio. Later, all the wood-
work of the auditorium (including the pews) was thoroughly cleaned and varnished.
The exterior of the church was given three coats of paint, the stone and brick having
been previously repainted. It was found necessary to again include the tower in this
operation. The wood trim on the parsonage and the house on the corner of Third and
Spruce Streets was first repaired and then repainted.
A new and larger steam boiler was installed to replace both the old boiler and pipe-
less furnace which had outlived their usefulness. New copper spouting and gutters
replaced the worn portions on both the church and parsonage. The floors of the Sun-
day School were renewed by varnishing and waxing. New lighting fixtures were
placed in the pulpit recess and plans were made for new modern fixtures to be in-
stalled soon in the entire auditorium.
About 1943, Rev. G.A. Williams looked ahead to the time when improvements were
going to be needed and, under his guidance, the congregation began laying aside cer-
tain monies earmarked for major improvements.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR CHURCH - 1947 – 1977 (Sandy Ford)
In 1947–1948, a $26,000 renovation took place. In the parsonage, the kitchen was
remodeled, a new gas furnace installed, the building completely insulated, and new
furniture, paint and paper purchased. In the church, the sanctuary was remodeled to
make a divided chancel with a new pulpit, lectern and choir seats. A Moeller pipe
organ was purchased for approximately $10,000. A week of services with former
pastors bringing messages was held at the completion of the work. The altar cross,
candlesticks and communion rail together with 2 new Bibles and chimes for the or-
gan were dedicated as memorials.
In May 1953, the men of the church under Roy Altman began digging out the base-
ment of the church to provide space for Sunday School rooms and for the Boy
Scouts. They worked from one to four evenings a week until December 1955 when
a contract was let to finish the job. More than 3000 hours of labor were donated for
In 1956, the church was redecorated. Folding doors were installed between the
Sanctuary and the Sunday School rooms and also in the alcoves on the first floor and
in the basement.
The church celebrated its 100th anniversary on March 3, 1957, with a week of spe-
cial services each evening.
In 1962 the memorial window entitled ―Christ in Gethsemane‖ was placed behind
the altar along with the wood paneling surrounding it. New glass panels were pur-
chased for the lights in the sanctuary.
In 1967 the nursery church schoolroom became the Pastor‘s Study and the kinder-
garten room the sitting room for the pastor‘s counseling sessions. The beginners,
primary and junior classes were moved to their present locations. The house on the
corner of Spruce and Third was torn down and volunteers graded and seeded the
property. In 1971 the balcony was remodeled to extend it straight across between
the two classroom doors.
(Continued Page 15)
June 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church be-
gan uniting with a 12-year deadline to become fully united and we became the
First United Methodist Church. In 1970, with the drawing of new boundary lines,
we, and all Cameron County United Methodist Churches, moved from the Central
Pennsylvania Conference to the Western Pennsylvania Conference.
The Rev. Aurance Shank, who was appointed here in 1969, was totally involved
with the church youth. He passed away unexpectedly on Easter Sunday, April
1971. The youth asked permission to have a permanent memorial in the church
and the center alcove on the first floor was made into a library in Rev. Shank‘s
honor. It was done in his favorite color, blue. Several of the youth joined Rev.
Gerald Miller in the dedication service on April 16, 1972.
On November 12, 1972, Mrs. Cora Walters was honored for 25 years as our
church organist. She passed away March 26, 1975. There is a plaque bearing the
hymn ―Amazing Grace‖, one of Mrs. Walter‘s favorites, in the church library,
given in her memory by the Dorcas Class on December 1, 1975.
December 1972, the Deborah Circle hosted the first coffee hour for the congrega-
tion, a tradition still observed one Sunday each month by various groups within
During this period, Raymond Lyon, the son of Lyle and Ellen Lyon, entered the
ministry. Ray was ordained a Deacon in June 1977 and an Elder in June 1979.
HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR CHURCH - 1977 – 2007 (Diane Bolin)
In 1978, Rev Dean E. Hughes and his wife Jean accepted an appointment to Emporium.
Natives of West Virginia, Dean and Jean came to us from Turtlepoint PA. Rev. Hughes was
very knowledgeable about early American Methodism and, after taking a year or so to get to
know us, began forming ‗classes‘ within the congregation. Each class was led by a person
(or married couple) and included several families, mostly from the geographical area where
the leaders lived. Class leaders were also instructed to include non-members who lived
within the class boundaries in their care and prayers. Copying early Methodism, classes met
regularly at the church or in the home of the class leader or member. The focus was on
helping one another and others in our neighborhoods. Nearly thirty years later, there are
faithful members in our church family who are here because of the outreach of those classes.
Early in Rev. Hughes pastorate a renovation of the sanctuary was done. The walls were
painted a light yellow and, on the white ceiling, the shape of a cross was highlighted in
brown. Rev. Hughes said that even if your attention wandered during worship, your eyes
would be on the cross.
Rev. Hughes was a talented carpenter and knowledgeable about just about every skill a man
could know: electricity, concrete, bricklaying, painting. In June 1987, in his final weeks in
Emporium, he led a work crew in an attempt to fix leaks in the roof on the East side of the
building. While moving from one section of roof to another, he accidentally stepped on
freshly applied coat of roof sealant. He lost his footing, slid to the edge of the roof, then to
the pavement below. He was rushed to Saint Marys and then to Pittsburgh where he under-
went surgery followed by months of rehabilitation. The next Sunday, when Rev. Hughes
should have been sharing his farewell message with us, lay speaker Ann Bignell brought a
powerful message entitled ―Storms Do Pass‖.
As we welcomed our new pastor, Rev. William Dallas Morgan, we continued to pray for
Rev. Hughes and Jean and the congregation of the Rocky Grove UMC who were left with-
out a minister.
On Thanksgiving Sunday 1987, the Hughes returned to our church. We all held our breath
as Dean struggled, an aluminum crutch encircling each forearm, up the three steps to the
pulpit. He spoke of his physical struggles and his ever-deepening faith as his injuries con-
tinued to heal. He told us how, when he hurt too much to even take a deep breath, he would
know that someone was praying for him at that instant, and be able to breathe, to be
calm, to carry on. To see him standing before us, knowing that our prayers and God‘s grace
had brought him there, made the Bible‘s promises come alive for us . (Continued Page 17)
A gifted administrator, Rev. Morgan and Betty came to Emporium in July 1987. Their son
Bruce was of high school age then. The whole congregation became wrestling fans as
Bruce‘s wins on the mat continued under the coaching of Larry McGraw, another of our
church family. It was not unusual for the bell choir, women‘s circle or Boy Scouts to arrive
at the church on a weekday evening to find Bruce running in place in the overflow room or
doing deep knee bends in the basement. All his hard work paid off when, in 1990, Bruce
became Pennsylvania State Class AA wrestling champion at the 189 pound weight class.
He went on to a distinguished career at Cornell University.
It was during Rev. Morgan‘s time here that our church‘s annual budget first topped
$100,000. That seemed a very scary figure at the time but, as always, God was with us.
After years of talk, we finally added a handicapped ramp and new porch and doors to the
Spruce Street entrance. The old wooden railings were removed from the parsonage porch,
and wrought iron railings installed to match the ones on the new ramp. Ed LaBrozzi, local
contractor, suggested that the new steps be made from cut granite rather than concrete. The
results add a beautiful touch to that side of the church.
It was also about this time that extensive work was done to the bell tower. A structural en-
gineer was brought in who, after inspecting it, said we were in immediate danger of it col-
lapsing toward (or in to) the sanctuary. A part of this project included new brickwork
around and above the Fourth Street entrance. New dark glass doors were installed also.
In 1992 Pastor John Spahr was appointed to our church. It was during this time that the
northeast corner of the church was jacked up and repaired due to deterioration of the wood.
The exterior bricks were refurbished and a new roof was added in 1998.
By 2000 it was again time for a change and Pastor Ed McElroy was assigned to Emporium.
During this time a cross was added to the steeple. With the help of Pastor McElroy, a new
sound system was purchased and was a welcomed addition.
In 2004 Pastor McElroy left and Reverend Bloomster was our interim pastor until early in
2005 when Pastor Gary Atkinson joined us. As is the case with any house, it was time for
another renovation. This time the interior of the sanctuary was refurbished. Almost a year
ago those renovations were completed. Through the grace of God, generous donations and
pledges from the members, all of the repairs and additions have been possible.
And today (March 18, 2007) begins the next 50 years!!
Boy Scouting at First Methodist Church
Boy Scouting came to Emporium early, just a few years after coming to America. The Emporium
Independent ran a front page article on March 29, 1917 telling of the organization of Troop 1 which
had 23 members at its inception. The Scout Master was Nelson L. Allen. Later that same year,
Troop 2 was formed under the direction of Earl McDougall. Both troops marched in the Memorial
Day parade that year, much to the delight of the crowds. The boys and their leaders were very active:
they camped, hiked, planted trees at Newton Cemetery, earned merit badges and even fought a forest
fire that they discovered near the railroad tracks a mile east of Emporium. They reported it to the
District Forester who accepted their offer to help extinguish it. Many boys received additional train-
ing and became Forest Guides, pledged to protect and preserve the forests along with their wild life
and plant life and to prevent and extinguish forest fires. The Baptist and Presbyterian Churches are
noted as early meeting places of the troops. In March 1938, formal installation for a new troop was
held at Saint Marks church. This was Troop 55, later to be known as Troop 555.
Troop 1 became known as Troop 51 by 1932. Many years later, it became Troop 551. The exact
date when the troop began meeting in the Methodist-Episcopal Church is unknown, but O.K. Metz
was Scout Master beginning in the early 1930s and it is likely that the troop met in the church in
which he was very active. A wonderful picture of the troop, taken in 1942, was taken in the church.
OK‘s son Bert is listed as assistant Scout Master in 1942 even though he was serving in the US Army
at that time. Bert loved white-water canoeing, and under his leadership, dozens of Scouts learned the
ways of the local rivers. The Metzes, father and son, acted as Scout Masters of the troop for over
sixty years. Tragically, Bert‘s only son, Steve, drowned in a canoeing accident near Port Allegany in
May 1967 as the Scouts practiced for a race to be held the following weekend. The church, to which
all three generations belonged, overflowed with mourners at Steve‘s funeral. Dozens of Boy Scouts
and their leaders from many surrounding counties attended in their Scout uniforms. Two months
later, OK died suddenly. After a few weeks, during which time the boys of the troop regularly visited
him to mourn and remember both his son and his father, Bert returned to his Scouts. He stayed active
as a committee member until his death in 1995.
Recent Scout Masters include Harry Mansfield, Alan Ramsey, Jeff Hunt and John Major. Lyle Lyon
has been the Church Representative to Troop 551 for decades.
Harry and Gayle Mansfield, members of First United Methodist, have the distinction of having all
three of their sons obtain the rank of Eagle Scout as members of Troop 551.
Scouting‘s highest award, that of Eagle Scout, has been awarded to 22 Boy Scouts from Troop 551:
David Baldwin, Raymond Lyon, Laurence McGraw, Gary Boden, Paul Malizia, John Guisto, Mark
Lewis, Kyle Mansfield, Barry Brown, Brett Mansfield, Dirk Mansfield, Adam Eckert, Eric Cool,
James Pahel, Adam Lundberg, Thomas Keller, Brian Armanini, John Boswell, Jeff Singer, Bradley
Pahel, Norman Hunt, Ryan Hunt.
As our church celebrates 150 years of ministry and mission in Emporium, it is good to note that the
Boy Scout troop that began as Troop 1 in March of 1917 is still active here as well, helping prepare
boys to meet the challenges of an ever changing world.
LENA LUMAN CLASS
Records show that in 1928, a Sunday School Class known as ―We Will‖ was being taught by Mrs.
Lena Luman. In 1932, the following names were listed:
Mrs. Lena Luman Teacher
Lucille Brown Narby President
Olga Johnson Kahl Vice President
Ellen Conway Brown Secretary
Helen Averill Treasurer
For several years there were two teachers serving this class, Mrs. Lena Luman and Mrs. Clara Pal-
mateer. Then, in 1952, Mrs. Lena Luman passed away. Around this time, the class changed its name
to the Lena Luman Class and Mrs. Clara Palmateer continued teaching for better than 20 years. She
and her husband moved, so the class was without a teacher. Mrs. Bishop and Mrs. Galbreath both
filled in temporarily. Finally, Cosy Manginell, a member of the class, agreed to take over The class
carried on for several years with the number getting smaller until they decided to disband. The few
that were left joined what is now known as the ―Rigby Class‖.
As far as I know, those still living are: Kay Dolnick, Betty Clingan, Arlene Zidar. Glennis Stewart,
Monica Swartwood, Ada Drum, Frances Tozier, Sara Roberto, Grace Young, Sue Duby, Annabelle
Cooper, Mary Louise Rodich.
Lena Luman Class Notes of Interest
Over the years, an estimated 120 members were listed with possibly 10 still living.
In the 1940s and early 1950s, meetings were sometimes held in the Community House which was
located where the parking lot next to Reid‘s Western Auto now stands.
December 1956, the Class held their Christmas Dinner at the Warner Hotel. They enjoyed a delicious
Swiss Steak dinner at a cost of $1.75 per person.
August 1956, the Class met at the home of Mrs. Palmateer on Sylvan Heights for a picnic. There
were 26 members present and two guests, Mrs. Joseph Rigby and Mrs. Vaughn.
February 1957, the Class held a soup sale from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM. The tickets sold for 40 cents
for adults, 20 cents for children and 60 cents a quart for take outs. Things went so well that they ran
out of soup long before closing time, so many were turned away. A note of apology was placed in
the local paper stating that anyone wishing to turn in their unused ticket would be fully reimbursed.
P.S. Another soup sale was held at a later date for which they were better prepared and all went well.
Submitted by Sara Roberto
Susanna Wesley Circle (Carol Keller)
On February 7, 1956, Mrs. Louise Bishop, Mrs. Dorothy Rigby and Mrs. Dorothy Lyon
brought together a group of young churchwomen to organize a new circle for the Wormen‘s
Society of Christian Service. And thus began the Susanna Wesley Circle. The circle was
named in honor of John Wesley‘s mother, Susanna. The first meeting was held at the home
of Wilma Lee Davison in Prospect Park. Some of the charter members were Wilma Lee
Davison, Norma Vought, Natley Myers, Shirley Minard, Valetta Lipsey, Shirley Bailey,
Carol Keller, Mae Crosby and Dorothy Lyon.
The first elected officers were President, Dorothy Lyon; Vice President, Wilma Lee Davi-
son; Secretary, Norma Vought; Treasurer, Natley Myers; and program chairpersons, Valetta
Lipsey and Shirley Bailey.
Over the years Susanna Wesley has done many projects; dinners, wedding receptions; an-
nual birthday calendar, 50th wedding anniversary celebrations, rosebuds on the altar in
honor of newborn babies, ―The Last Supper‖ portrayal, hostess for coffee hours and many
Probably the best know project is the hoagie sales held twice a year in the spring and fall.
The first hoagie sale was held in April 1979, making 250 hoagies, selling for $1.00 each. In
March, 1998, there were2699 hoagies made and sold at $1.50 each; the largest number sold
in 27 years. Profit from hoagie sales goes toward church projects. Since 2000 Susanna
Wesley members have donated $32,100 to the ―Find Us Faithful Fund‖, monies to Phase II
Building Fund and Mission Share.
On February 27, 2006, Susanna Wesley Circle celebrated their 50th birthday with a dinner
at Tino‘s Restaurant.
Monthly meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month at 7:00 pm at the church.
Current officers are President, Kitty Reid; Vice President, Georgiann Holly; Secretary,
Verna Reed; and Treasurer, Carol Keller.
Deborah Circle - Ann Bignell (35 Year Member)
On February 27, 2007, the Deborah Circle celebrated their 35th birthday. The charter meeting for
the circle was held on the cold and snowy evening of February 23, 1972, at the home of Ann Bignell.
Charter members included Sue Blackburn, Lynn McAulay, Ann Bignell, Joan Reasinger, Marilyn
Brown, Emma Stewart, Carol Buzard, Judy Thomas, Beverly Cool, Diana Towner, Sandy Ford
Sally Uber, and Nancy Main.
The name Deborah was chosen as the circle’s name. We hear about Deborah in the book of Judges.
She was a prophetess who was responsible for bringing her people back to God. Because of her cour-
age, wisdom and faithfulness to God, we chose that name for our circle hoping that she could be an
example for us as women. It was decided that we would take turns meeting in each other’s homes the
4th Wednesday of each month. Each month, some of our meeting time was to be spent doing a study
lesson which we continue to do. Our first study was “Learning To Be A Woman” and cost $1.50 per
book. The first officers elected were; pres. Ann Bignell, v. pres. Judy Thomas, sec. Joan Reasinger,
treas. Sandy Ford, cards & gifts, Diana Towner. August was chosen as picnic time. For the first pic-
nic, we invited our husbands to join us. Thereafter, picnics became family times until our children
grew up and were no longer available for picnics with us. Other social activities we enjoy yearly are
Christmas dinners and our Birthday celebrations. Sometimes we go out to a restaurant for these and
other times we meet for dinner in our homes. Sometimes we go shopping together also.
The first project the circle undertook was to start coffer hour after church once a month. The first
coffee hour was held April 10, 1972. Deborah Circle was in charge of arranging coffee hours for
several years until the UMW took on the responsibility. At first we always served donuts from the
Over the years, the circle has been engaged in many different fundraisers: rummage sales, craft bazaars,
pie sales, candy wreaths, and dinners. We have used money to support mission as well as various
needs in the church. Deborah Circle has helped the Handbell Choir by purchasing the first table cov-
erings and some of the foam pads. When Rev. Miller was pastor, we purchased white altar cloths
which have since been replaced. Deborah Circle can also claim to have had an auxiliary member. Joe
Buzard was always on hand when we served a dinner to help clean up and run the dishwasher.
Over the years things have changed. We now meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 pm. We
do not get involved so much with fundraisers as for awhile our members worked and were not avail-
able to take on these responsibilities. Our membership has changed too as we welcome new members
or say good by to friends who move from Emporium. One thing has not changed. We are a group of
friends who are there to be in support of each other, to share in both the good times and the not so
good times. We continue to enjoy learning more about God’s Word and we hope to continue serving
our church for a long time to come.
Anyone interested in becoming a part of our group is most welcomed.
History of the First UMC Handbell Choir - Ann Bignell, Director 2007
In 1980, Rev. Dean Hughes was pastor of this church and introduced us to a new kind of musical in-
strument called English Handbells. He thought being a part of a handbell choir might be a good min-
istry for the youth to do. With funds from the MYF and the church, two octaves of Schulmerich
handbells were purchased. When the bells arrived, a person from Schulmerich came to teach us about
the bells. We were amazed by the beauty of the bells and he assured us that they were easy to play. It
was not quite that simple as we soon discovered. Nan McGraw and Ann Bignell happened to be asked
by Rev. Hughes to be involved with this training and to get the group started.
Thus began the First UMC Handbell Choir. There were about eleven youth who agreed to play. Nan
was to lead them. Their initial performance was on Christmas Eve, 1981, and they played “Silent
Night.” For several years, the choir remained a youth choir. The job of director changed from Nan
McGraw to Ann Bignell. Soon, these youth moved on and the interest faded, so the bells were silent.
Then in 1986, Rev. James Moore was instrumental in stimulating interest in the bells again. He and
Rev. William Morgan spoke with Ann Bignell who agreed to try. Ever since that time, there has been a
handbell choir that often participates in the worship service. There are a few of us that have remained
a part of the choir since that time; Ann Bignell, Bonnie Smith, Sandy Ford, and Diane Bolin. We are
now a choir of eleven ringers and one director.
Additions have been made to the choir since the purchase of the first two octaves. Lois Jordan, who
had to leave the choir as she was moving, gave a gift that she specifically wanted us to buy mallets with.
Then in 1996, the choir decided that it would be nice to have the third octave of bells. Rev. John
Spahr who was a ringer at the time stated that Millie Lucas was interested in giving a gift for these bells
in memory her husband, John. The third octave arrived and a dedication service was held in the fall of
1996. Another new and interesting challenge was now before the ringers.
The director never being satisfied, the summer of 2006, she introduced the thought of trying to obtain
three octaves of melody chimes to add a new dimension to the handbell music. A gift from Rev. Gary
and Ginger Atkinson made this a reality. This was a gift in memory of Ginger’s daughter, Cari Lewis.
In September, 2006, the chimes arrived and a dedication was held during a worship service in October,
While the mission of the choir is to be in ministry through music and to grace many worship services
with their music, we have had the opportunity to be a part of other activities. We have done some
traveling to other churches, to the Parade of Stars, Olmsted Manor, Rotary, and various other commu-
nity events. However, due to the difficulty in transporting all the equipment, our playing is now usu-
ally confined to our own church. We are also a member of AGEHR which is the American Guild of
English Handbell Ringers which regularly gives us new ideas about music and techniques.
All of us in the choir enjoy bringing music to all of you. It is hoped that the bells will remain ringing
for a very long time.
The Missions of our church are an important part of who and what we are
and what we feel as United Methodists. The following is just one example
showing how the Emporium First United Methodist Church is involved in
United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
810 12th Avenue S.
Nashville, TN 37203
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2007
Nothing But Nets Campaign Gets $3 Million Boost
NEW YORK: The Nothing But Nets campaign will receive a $3 million chal-
lenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the purchase and distri-
bution of insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets to prevent malaria among children
and families in Africa.
The people of The United Methodist Church and other Nothing But Nets partner
organizations--the United Nations Foundation, NBA Cares, Sports Illustrated and
others-are working together to raise donations for bed nets that save lives. The
grant will match those contributions dollar to dollar up to $3 million.
The Nothing But Nets campaign was inspired by Sports Illustrated columnist Rick
Reilly who wrote a column by the same name appealing to his readers to donate
money for bed nets. Joining in the campaign is just the latest step by The United
Methodist Church to prevent and control malaria.
"For decades, the denomination has been working in African communities to com-
bat diseases of poverty through education, prevention and treatment," said the Rev.
R. Randy Day, the chief mission executive of The United Methodist Church.
"Now by partnering with other organizations, we are able to reach more people
and have a greater impact. Mosquito bed nets are a simple and cost-effective way
to prevent malaria."
Malaria infects more than 500 million people each year, and more than a million
die from the disease. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets can reduce the incidence of
malaria by half in areas of high transmission, yet fewer than 5 percent of African
children sleep under a mosquito net. (Continued Page 24)
―Coming so soon after the Christmas season, this is great news because bed nets
represent the gift of life," said Bishop Thomas Bickerton, president of the Gen-
eral Commission on Communication. "Among the poorest in Africa, the strug-
gle to preserve life occurs every day. In a recent visit to Mozambique, I was
deeply moved by the hospitality of the people I met and their real joy for living.
The Gates Foundation challenge grant, and the response of generous people,
will make a real difference in this effort to save lives."
So far, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $2 million, and 150,000 nets have
already been distributed in Nigeria. Those were the first of many that will be
shipped through the campaign, which is working through one of its partners, the
Measles Initiative, to deliver nets to even hard-to-reach areas within Africa.
Malaria Facts from NothingButNets.net:
Malaria has been brought under control and even eliminated in many parts of
Asia, Europe and the Americas. Yet in Africa, with increasing drug resistance
and struggling health systems, malaria infections have increased during the last
Bed nets are effective tools in the battle against malaria. They create a protec-
tive barrier against mosquitoes at night, when most transmissions occur. A fam-
ily of four can sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, safe from malaria, for
up to four years. The benefits of bed nets extend beyond the family. When
enough nets are used, the insecticide used to deter mosquitoes makes entire
communities safer-including those individuals who do not have nets.
Malaria accounts for up to half of all hospital admissions and outpatient visits in
Africa. In addition to the burden on the health system, malaria illness and death
cost Africa approximately $12 billion a year in lost productivity. The effects
permeate almost every sector. Malaria increases school absenteeism, decreases
tourism, inhibits foreign investment and even affects the type of crops that are
“Memory is a way of holding onto the things
you love, the things you are, the things you
never want to lose.” ~From the television show
The Wonder Years
The following pages were done
by people who have been
touched by events at the church
or people from the church. It
gives us insight to how indi-
viduals can be disciples and
many times never realize the
impact they have had on those
around them. Thanks to Pastor
Rock Pifer, Lowell Young, Ann
Bignell, Diane Bolin, Joyce
Lundberg, Bibi Park, Ruth &
Randy Metcalf, Ken Ostrum,
Helen Lloyd, & Sara Roberto.
Take the time to read these
pages. They are a wonderful
testament to the impact that our
church has had on so many
“A memory is what is left when something happens and does
not completely unhappen.” ~Edward de Bono
A True Story
In 1961 or 1962, our family moved to Cameron County, I was just 3 years old at the time. My father
found a nice little property located in the village of Cameron, and there, in that little village, we de-
cided to put down roots!
I remember at a very young age that my parents decided that going to church was very important. My
Mom and Dad raised 8 children; most all of us got our first taste of Christianity in the First United
Methodist Church, right here in Emporium.
Mom and Dad were faithful in getting us kids up to the church almost every Sunday. I can still re-
member those days; we would get all dressed up, and head to town, and we would go right to Sunday
school. After Sunday school, we would attend the morning worship service, which seemed to last for
an eternity! Following the worship service we would drive out to the old Towner Market, up where
Cool‘s Auto Body is today, and grab the Sunday paper and head home.
I cannot say exactly when, or how old I was, but I remember always being excited and eager to go to
Sunday school; I had the most awesome teacher. I think that her name is Bibi! She was awesome! She
had a way of bringing the stories of the Bible to life, making it seem real and exciting!
One particular Sunday as she talked about God‘s great love for us all, and His incredible power, she
took and apple, and cutting it crossways, exposed a star design. She had told us something to the ef-
fect that God‘s love runs deep, and can even be found hidden in places we do not expect, God is
I was touched! I suppose I was about 9 or 10 years old at the time. Somehow, through that little dem-
onstration, I realized that God loved me! Cared about me! I was determined that God was with me
right then and there; if God could make His mark in the center of an apple, He could surely make His
mark upon my heart, and that He did! In 1969 I was presented with a Bible from the First United
Methodist Church; I was 11 years old when I got it!
For my 12th birthday my dad bought me a brand new slingshot! It was cool! It wrapped around your
wrist and boy could it shoot! Dad told me to be very careful not to lose it, and to take good care of it
and it will last a long time. I was so happy!
I took the slingshot down to the river behind our house and pretended to be like David in the Bible,
and in my imagination, I was slaying giants! What fun! After a while I began tossing stones into the
river, skipping rocks and having a great deal of fun. When it was time to head back home I noticed
the slingshot was missing! I had lost it! I looked everywhere, but could not find it. I was devastated! I
knew my dad was not going to be very happy. I remember sitting down on a tree stump and I prayed;
―Dear God, if you help me find that slingshot, I‘ll, uh, . . .I‘ll, uh . . .I will. . .Read Your Bible all the
way through!‖ What a promise, but I was desperate!
(Continued Page 27)
I went back down to the river and looked everywhere; I couldn‘t find it! So, with my head down, I
headed back up to the house. Walking by the tree stump that I sat on while I prayed, I glanced over at
it, and lo and behold, there was my slingshot, lying right on top! I remember calling out; ―Dad. . .hey
Dad!‖ Then it dawned on me, my heavenly Father had answered my prayer!
That night, I began reading the Bible, the one I got from the First United Methodist Church. I read it
every night for many months, and each time I finished a Book in the Bible, I drew a bright green line
through the Book name, in the table of contents. I read Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and
Deuteronomy. It took me nearly 3 years to do it, a little at a time.
By the time I was 15 years old, I had stopped reading the Bible, only occasionally remembering my
promise to God. By the time I was 16, I was starting to dabble in alcohol and drugs, and by the time I
was 18 years old, I was a wreck! My life was totally out of control!
Without going into great detail, suffice it to say that my life was one of rebellion against God, I de-
cided to do things my way, go it alone, and who needs this God anyway. Boy had I changed!
I had traveled all over the country, different towns, different jobs, finally coming back to Cameron
County. I found a local girl and we were married, we had two wonderful children at the time. 17
years had gone by since I had looked at a Bible, and in my 32 nd year of life, God was once again
knocking on the door of my heart.
My wife and I, along with our two children, were invited to a church gathering, and in that meeting, I
had an incredible encounter with Jesus, the one who made a star in the heart of an apple, now made
an old wicked heart, brand new! I‘ll never forget it!
The next day at home I told my wife that I needed to get my hands on a Bible, surely I must have one
somewhere. I started going through old boxes sifting through stuff I had been carrying around for the
last 17 years, and there it was, that old Bible given to me by the First United Methodist Church. I
carefully opened it up, and there they were, bright green lines through the first 5 Books of the Bible,
and a gentle voice from God whispering in my ear. . .‖will you keep your promise to me now, and
read this Book all the way through?‖ Tears flooded my eyes, and I remembered the promise I made,
and I remembered a beautiful Sunday school teacher, and the apple with the star in the middle.
I thank God for the First United Methodist Church, and for the wonderful people who have served
there over the years. You taught a young boy that God is real, and that Jesus is alive; I will never for-
May God give you another 150 years. . .and more!
Pastor Rock Pifer
Dedicated to Rev. Aurance Shank (1905-1971) By Lowell Young
If I were asked to pick only one word in the English language to adequately describe
Aurance Shank, I would choose “D Y N A M I C..”
He was a large man well over six feet in height and tipped the scale in excess of 250 pounds.
When coming to the pulpit on a Sunday morning, he would stride in, entering by way of the
old kitchen. He never used the small door near the console of the organ, possibly because it
was a bit too small to accommodate someone of his stature.
Rev. Shank was on the bleachers at every school sports event cheering for our local football
or basketball teams. He had a charming and effective manner when dealing with teenagers.
It was very noticeable because nearly every Sunday morning the front two pews were filled
with the youth of the church. He never failed to make comments such as, “Did you see how
these guys performed Friday night? Aren‟t you proud of them?” Then he would compli-
ment the teams and coaches for a job “well done.”
The first June after Rev. Shank became our minister, he was asked to speak at the senior
class graduation. Everyone in the class, dressed in their caps and gowns, were seated be-
hind him on the stage. He faced the audience only long enough to explain he was going to
be directing his speech to the graduating class, not to the visiting public. With that, he
turned to face the class and delivered his speech with his back to the audience.
From his enthusiastic manner, it is doubtful any member of the congregation had knowl-
edge of Rev. Shank‟s physical condition. Perhaps he had asked to be transferred to a
smaller church than the one he had been serving for a number of years in Harrisburg. He
was admitted to the hospital on a Saturday where he died the next day, Easter Sunday,
April 11, 1971. Both Rev. Shank and his wife, Priscilla, are buried in Newton Cemetery.
Rev. Shank was a “Tough Act to Follow” and it was difficult for Conference to find anyone
of his caliber to partially „fill his shoes.” It was unusual to attend his viewing at the Copper-
smith Funeral Home. Every casket I had ever seen was of the same basic design. Rev.
Shank‟s casket was the first full view casket I had ever seen. That type was necessary to
accommodate his size 16 shoes
It was a joy to have been given the chance to become acquainted with Aurance Shank.
Cora Walter, as told by Helen Lloyd at a dinner honoring Cora for her 25 years as organist,
and the choir of the Emporium First United Methodist Church on Sunday November 12, 1972.
Submitted by Lowell Young
When I was approached to ―say something‖ about Mrs. Walter, the first word to pop into my head
was DEDICATED. In her case, that means ―having a job‖ and doing it well. Another word I could
use for her is SINCERE. And yet another is PATIENT. She had to be patient to listen to sour notes
played on the piano or organ by children of all ages, these umpteen years.
What I am going to say now may not be strictly on the ―up and up‖, but it is what I have gathered
over the years. Cora Walter was born and reared in New York City. Her father was an assayer of
gold in the City. She attended Julliard School of Music and tells of playing piano duets with an aunt
of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. (Do you want to touch her?)
After her marriage to John Walter, and the birth of daughter Lois in New Jersey, the family lived in
Syracuse where the twins were born, and then moved back to Nutley, N.J. Mr. Walter was trans-
ferred to Emporium with McCrory‘s Five and Ten Cent Store in the late 20‘s and later Mrs. Walter
and their family of three little girls came to Emporium. Lois was four years old, and the twins were
just babes. A friend tells about seeing her going downtown pushing the twin carriage , which was a
novelty in our town then. She has told us many times about her early days with the twins. They were
not given too much of a chance to live, but with loving care and devotion, they are about ready to
enter the ―grandmother‖ category. Alice and Ann are identical twins, and I never could tell one from
the other. In Sunday School class, I would call on Alice, but never knew which one was answering.
To this day I can‘t tell them apart.
Lois (Rhebergen) teaches High School English in Baldwinsville N.Y. Her husband Fred is Farm
Tank Manager for Dairylea Milk Products, and supervises a 7-state area. Their daughter Keri teaches
school in Ticonderoga, N.Y. Son Paul is a senior at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and plans to
enter Seminary to study for the ministry.
Alice (Morrow) was secretary to Herbert Lamb at Sylvania both in Emporium and Seneca Falls, and
now works in the school office in Buchanan, Michigan. She is married to Keith Morrow, who
worked in Emporium and Seneca Falls as a Sylvania engineer, but left that work and is now a Presby-
terian minister. Their son Eric is in college in Michigan and daughters Linda and Carol are in high
Ann (McKinney) and her family live in Florida where she is a registered nurse and her husband is in
housing development. Their son Bob is attending Junior College, son Don is in the service, and John
and Susan are at home. All the children are interested in Little Theatre and three of them took ballet
lessons in New York City when they lived in Carlisle, Penna. For that matter, John performed with
the Russian Bolshoi Ballet Company in New York and they wanted to take him back to Russia, that‘s
how good he is. His Mom and Dad said NO WAY!
(Continued Page 30)
Mrs. Walter has one brother, Howard, who makes his winter home in Orlando, Florida and his sum-
mer home in Highlands N.C. Two nieces live in Syracuse and are retired from library work. Mrs.
Walter has told us in the Dorcas Class, with much pride, of the many incidents in the life of her Aunt
Phoebe, who was a medical missionary in India.
John Walter, after a long illness, died in 1961, and Mrs. Walter has carried on alone keeping up a big
house, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, working in her vegetable and flower garden, teaching music,
and playing organ in the Methodist Church. She has also done more than her share as a member of
the Garden Club and the Lookout Club. She is a member of the Williamsport Chapter of the Organ-
ists‘ Guild. And of course, we all know and love the tote bags, which she designs and makes con-
Her favorite color is BLUE. One of her favorite TV programs is the TODAY show (who else gets up
that early) Her favorite composer is BACH. And she is an ardent reader, receiving every magazine
that is published, as gifts from her friends.
Mrs. Walter has been my bed-buddy at Chautauqua, N.Y. on numerous occasions, and long before
I‘m thinking about getting out of bed, she is in a class somewhere on the grounds, or attending a lec-
ture, getting more inspiration for her teaching and living.
I never heard her make a derogatory remark about another all the days I have known her.
Daughter Lois says she never heard her talk about her beliefs, but she just went about quietly – a liv-
ing example of them. Lois went on, groping for the right word, ―you know, my mother is SENSI-
BLE.‖ That, from a daughter, is good.
I hope you have all gathered from this discourse that I think DEDICATED, SINCERE, PATIENT,
SENSIBLE Mrs. Walter is a pretty wonderful person.
Remembrance Moments – from Ann Bignell
There are so many things I remember about this church and congregation. I moved to
Emporium in 1964 and joined the church shortly thereafter. My friends are here and my
children were raised with regular attendance to Sunday school and youth group.
As I think back to memories, they are almost always associated with persons here who
have impacted my life in some way. I would like to share a few. Some of you may re-
member Mrs. Dandois. She invited me to my first WSCS meeting, which is now called
UMW. I might not have come to the meeting if she had not been thoughtful enough to ask
me. Then Dorothy Lyon took an interest in me and offered to give me rides not only to the
women‘s meetings but also to circle meetings for awhile. I do so appreciate her friendship
and am sorry that I probably never told her that. However, those events started me on my
journey of service in this church.
One Laity Sunday, Clark Lyon invited me to give a short talk during the worship service.
I think I was one of three persons speaking. Rev. Shank was pastor at that time and later
in the week, he called and asked if he could stop by the house to talk to me. I did not
know him very well and was rather nervous about his visit. I was a young stay at home
Mom with two very small children. When he arrived, he walked into the living room, sat
down, did not take off his coat, told me that he was impressed with my talk on Sunday and
that I should be teaching Sunday school. There seemed to be no room for discussion so I
agreed and with that he left. Not sure I could do this alone, Lynn McAulay and I teamed
up to teach Sr. high students. Having never taught SS before, this was quite the challenge.
We had a group of about 10 or more very intelligent young adults who were probably
wiser than we were. Although tempted to give up, we persevered at least for awhile. As
you know, Sunday school is very important to me. I am so glad Rev. Shank gave me that
opportunity and I have been at it off and on for 42 years. I have to say that as a teacher, I
have learned more about scripture than I would have if I had remained as a student.
United Methodist Women has also been important to me although we no longer have a
unit. I mentioned Dorothy but I also would like to thank my good friend, Helen Ander-
son. It was she who helped me to become interested in district UMW meetings and be-
cause of this I held an office in the Kane district UMW for eight years. This was a tre-
mendous opportunity for growth both spiritually and in leadership. This led to another big
event in my life, becoming a Mission Ambassador to Japan from our conference. I was
able to do this with the help of all of you who supported me and helped financially. This
was quite an experience for someone who had never done much traveling up to that point.
(Continued Page 32)
How can I not forget Deborah Circle. Since 1972 we have been a group of friends. My closest
friends from Emporium have resulted as a result of this group. I know I look forward to our meeting
The Handbell Choir certainly has given me many memories over the last fifteen years or so. With
Rev. Moore‘s and Rev. Morgan‘s encouragement, I agreed to direct. It has definitely been a team
effort over the years and we have learned together to make the choir successful. We have had many
good times and laughter together and I thank them for allowing me to be their director.
So many other things to remember: my experiences with Bible school, sharing in the activities of
the youth groups when my children were in this, the trip to Knoxville, sending my kids to camp at
Wesley Woods, the list goes on and on, too long to elaborate on all of them.
Of course the clergy of this church have helped me more than I can say, each pastor encouraging,
teaching and guiding me in a unique way. Emporium church has been a special part of my life and
if I were to leave this town, saying good-bye to all of you would be the most difficult part.
―SHARE YOUR MEMORIES‖ dedicated to ALBERT METZ (By Lowell Young)
It is difficult to pay adequate and proper tribute to a person who possessed the innumerable
and superior qualities of Bert Metz. Not only was he an important part of the Emporium
First United Methodist Church but he was also connected, in some manner, with nearly
every local organization. Of utmost importance to Bert, and to his father before him, were
the Boy Scouts of America. In addition to Scouting, you must also include Bert‘s close in-
volvement with the Emporium Fire Department, the Cameron County Ambulance Associa-
tion, the Cameron County Health Care Center and especially his family.
Bert always helped plan and participated in the annual Easter weekend canoe trips enjoyed
so much by the Boy Scouts. During one of these trips, Bert‘s only son was drowned when
involved in a tragic canoeing accident. Despite this sad event, Bert‘s enthusiasm in Scout-
ing was not lessened.
Bert had a prominent dimple in his chin. He must have been proud of this family trait as it
was inherited by many of his offsprings.
At each Christmas Eve church service, just before a couple hundred candles were lighted
prior to singing ―Silent Night‖, Bert would leave his pew and stand close to a fire extin-
guisher just in case it might be needed. It appeared Bert‘s services were going to be re-
quired the night someone‘s candle singed a girl‘s hair. Sadly, in recent years, no one stands
poised near a fire extinguisher on Christmas Eve as Bert used to do.
In February 1973, I became ill about three o‘clock one morning. This was before the days
of 911, and not knowing the proper procedure to call for an ambulance, I phoned Bert. He
said, ―Turn on your porch light, make yourself as comfortable as possible and I will take
care of it.‖ Despite rain and below freezing temperature, Bert was at my front door within
five minutes. Very few persons would have been willing to get out of bed at that time of the
morning just in case he might be needed to help get me loaded into the ambulance. That
was the Bert Metz everyone knew and loved.
Bert was a special person. I still miss him as do so many persons who
Dedicated to Perley R. Balch, - (by Lowell Young)
No one will be able to refute anything I may write pertaining to Perley Balch because all of
the other fellows who attended his Men‘s Sunday School Class are dead. Before going on, I
want to point out that I never heard anyone address him as ―Perley‖. He was such a digni-
fied man that everyone affectionately referred to him as P.R. or respectfully called him Mr.
He may have been a widower or a bachelor. As I recall, he never mentioned having a wife
or family. He lived under the Happiness Inn located just beyond the bridge at the edge of
town on Route 120. This was also where he repaired and restored furniture….not the most
In Mr. Balch‘s line of work, you‘d think he would have needed some mode of transportation
but I never saw him going about town other than walking.
To have had so much knowledge of the Bible, Mr. Balch must have had special training -
possibly a degree in theology. He made things so clear it was as though he was personally
acquainted with every Bible personality. It seemed he knew everything from ―In the begin-
ning‖ of Genesis to ―The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen‖ at the end
Mr. Balch was a rather thin man who carried himself more erect than most men of his quite
I believe Mr. Balch may have had only one suit. As evidenced by the narrow trouser legs
and belted jacket, it could have been a hold-over from the 1930s. I did see him wear cover-
alls when the men of the church started digging out the basement using picks, shovels,
wheelbarrows and muscle power. Incidentally, up until this time, there was only enough
space in the basement of the church to accommodate a hot water tank, a coal bin and a fur-
To adorn his lapel, when walking to Sunday School and church from spring through early
fall, Mr. Balch used to take the liberty of stopping along the way to pick a sprig of forsythia,
spirea, lilac or other flower from someone‘s yard.
If I were to become familiar with Mr. Balch today, I would ask him many questions. I do
not believe many persons in town ever got to know him very well. One thing we know for
certain - he never associated with patrons of the Happiness Inn. I don‘t even know where he
is buried but God knows where his soul is and that is all that matters.
―Sub‖ Ostrum (By Lowell Young)
It would be a case of pure negligence and carelessness to compile ―Share Your Memories‖
articles and fail to include a few paragraphs about an important former fifty-year member of
the First United Methodist Church Choir. A special ‗niche‘ in the choir loft was filled
nearly every Sunday by none other than Selburn Ostrum, affectionately known as ―Sub‖.
Even when a young man, Sub always sported a neatly trimmed mustache. He married
Grace Von Arx and they had one son, Jan. Sub was a handsome man, Grace was a beautiful
woman and Jan a teen-age heart-throb who made quite a name for himself in young sports-
world circles starring in Little League Baseball. Unfortunately, Jan died at a relatively
young age, leaving a tremendous void in the lives of Sub and Grace.
Years ago the choir used to sing an anthem titled ―The Beatitudes‖. With his strong bari-
tone voice, Sub was always expected to sing the solo part. Perhaps some Sunday when Pas-
tor Gary‘s sermon relates to the beatitudes, the choir would sing that anthem again with
Walt, Chris or Kenny substituting for Sub.
It seemed Sub never attended church after retiring from the choir. It was rumored he felt
over fifty years of dedicated service to the choir should have warranted some sort of recog-
nition-perhaps something no more elaborate than a ―coffee hour‖ in his honor following a
Sunday morning worship service.
Sub, you were such an important member of our church and choir for most of your time on
earth and if your feelings were hurt, we are extremely sorry and we are expressing our ex-
treme regrets today before God and our entire congregation.
―My Church Memories‖ (By Joyce Lundberg)
Since the death of our dear friend, Esther Bosnik, I guess I am the oldest active member of
our church (at least that is what Pastor Gary announced one day). I knew I was getting old,
but this really made me realize just how old! Ha!! These are just a few of many good
memories I have of our church. Many more but my ―old ― brain isn‘t remembering them.
I remember coming to Emporium when I was 5 years old (1929) when my Dad got a job at
Sylvania. We immediately took the Methodist Church as our own because there was no
Swedish Lutheran Church here in town - - that is the one my parents belonged to in Kane,
PA before moving here. I immediately became friends with Esther and Carolyn Berkheimer
(the daughter of our preacher at the time). We have been friends ever since. Spent many
days and nights with them at Sunday School and at Berkheimers‘ home. We would stay
over there and play with paper dolls ( a lost activity for girls anymore, but such fun) while
Carolyn‘s Dad had Prayer Service in the church.
We were all in the children‘s choir for years. Hazel Merkle (our music teacher from school)
was head of the church choir and tried her best to make our children‘s choir as good. She
had a few problems because some of us would go down an octave when the notes became
too high for some of us to reach. She wanted us to sing alto, but we didn‘t want to do that
and would do like I said above. I know we were exasperating during those periods, and she
finally gave up gracefully and accepted us as we were. We all loved her.
So many important events took place in our church over the following years. Took classes
and became a member of the church (big group). I can‘t remember who the preacher (as
we called them then—I like pastor better!) who took us into the church, but it was such an
important day for all of us. Eddie moved to Emporium during this time, and we eventually
got engaged and married in our church.. The church had a different floor plan then . There
were two aisles (one down the left side of the church and one down the right side with a
small aisle going part way down the middle from the back. Have no idea why they planned
that aisle at all, and it was taken out during one of the renovations).
Both our sons, Craig and Blair, were baptized in the church and were active in the children‘s
programs, etc. Blair is still an active member today. All four of our parents, Stuart and
Mabel Magnuson and Edward and Mary Lundberg, were members of our church and were
buried from the church. (One thing I remember about my mother was that she had the repu-
tation of making the best Swedish Limpa Rye bread and every church supper the ladies put
on had to have her bread on the tables to make it a complete success. Even after she lost her
eyesight she continued to make it just as good as ever. Everyone missed it when she finally
had to give up. WE STILL DO!!! Ha! (Continued Page 37)
I remember Ellen Conway Brown so well. She was always a teacher and was in the plays we put on.
She reminded me so much of Mary, Jesus‘s mother. And that was the part she usually took, and it
really made such a big impression on me as a little girl. She was so beautiful and truly fit the part.
I remember all of our ministers with good memories, but one has always stood out for me all these
years. Reverend Shank came to our church when Blair and his group of friends were in the last couple
years of high school, and what a dynamic man he was! The first Sunday he preached, we waited for
him to come in, and all of a sudden this huge, handsome man came rushing down the aisle with his
black robe flying all around him as he strode to the altar. I can still remember that sight. Our minis-
ters never wore robes in those days, so that was new, and just his dynamic personality made him some-
one you never would forget. He was so wonderful with the young people in the church at that time.
Every Sunday before he would begin his sermon, he always acknowledged their activities at the school
the past week (if they won their sports games, competitions, etc., he always saw they were recognized
and appreciated and the kids all loved him). He took them on trips (the one to New York City was the
most exciting one it seemed for the kids, most of them had never been to the big city, and it was some-
thing they would always remember. I know Blair still does!). Easter Sunday when someone got up
and announced that he had passed away was unbelievable to the kids as well as all we adults. A very,
very sad day.
Another memory that still stands out in my mind was when they were putting in the basement of the
church. I can still see the men wheeling buckets of dirt out from under the church. Roy Altman was
head of the project, I do believe. The men worked many, many hours getting that dirt out before the
basement was put in. And what a wonderful project it has turned out to be in the years following.
Both our Dads helped.
I remember all the people who filled the church every Sunday. There were so many, they had panels
put in that raised up between the church and the Sunday School rooms (at that time) and these were
raised every Sunday and special occasions for people. It was an incentive to arrive early for church
because I hated sitting over there. I couldn‘t see everything (being as short as I am), and it didn‘t seem
quite like being in church when you sat there. I also remember how we all dressed up for church,
adults and children alike. And you had to have a new outfit for Easter Sunday. It was wonderful. I
just wish it were as filled today!
Also had very big teenage attendance at a group that gathered every Sunday night at 6. Besides being
religious, it was also a fun gathering and we had so many fun parties all through the year. I can‘t re-
member the name of the group (shame on me), it‘s right on the tip of my tongue. It was fun attending
and also a good way to get out on Sunday night, instead of having to stay at home and do homework!!!
In closing I would like to say that I have fond memories of all our ministers over the years, and there
was always something special about each of them but that would take up too much space. Our church
has always been beautiful, especially the gorgeous stained glass windows, but now with the new reno-
vation just completed, what a magnificent church we have to worship in.
WE ARE TRULY BLESSED!
―My Church Memories‖ (By Bibi Park)
I have many great memories of this church. The fact that I was able to raise my three chil-
dren in this church makes it very memorable. I often wonder how people can raise children
without religious background.
I think that Rev. Aurance Shank did a wonderful job with the youth of this church. I don‘t
think that he preached a sermon that he didn‘t have something to say about a football game.
I can still remember him standing behind the pulpit with his hands behind his back talking
about sports. That got the kids attention.
In 1970, under his leadership, we took two bus loads of kids and chaperones to New York
City. I complained that my son couldn‘t go because we didn‘t lock doors, close windows
or know how to be careful around people; we were too trustworthy, so to get me to quit wor-
rying, he invited me to go as a chaperone.
In New York we went to a museum, the U.N., a Chinese restaurant, rode the subway, saw a
movie, a ball game. We saw things that our kids had never seen before - people lying in the
streets, begging on street corners. I think on our way to our hotel they took us through the
Bowery. What a sight. The kids were shocked to see things like this.
Rev. Shank went Christmas Caroling with us one evening before Christmas, it was snowing
and slippery. We started down the hill from Fifth Street Extension to East Allegheny Ave-
nue and he fell and slid all the way down. As you probably knew he had a bad back, but he
picked himself up, brushed himself off and continued on his way.
Rev. Shank wasn‘t with us very long but he sure made an impression on me and my children
and I‘m sure he made an impression on many of you!
―SHARE YOUR MEMORIES‖ dedicated to Mark Marshall
June 24, 1956 – November 25, 1979
Submitted by Lowell Young
Mark Marshall was the oldest child of Harry and Phyllis Marshall. He graduated from
Cameron County High School about 1977 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. ―JOIN THE.
NAVY AND SEE THE WORLD.‖ That was what Mark was trying to accomplish. We
understand he was permitted to have his own bicycle aboard ship. If on shore leave in a
(friendly) foreign country, Mark would explore the nearby countryside on his bicycle.
When home on leave in November 1979, he was involved in an accident while riding in a
car operated by one of his high school friends.
The accident occurred a few miles west of Emporium where the new and old Route 120
merge. On the left side of the road, regardless of the time of the year, there is usually an
accumulation of three or four inches of stagnant water in the ditch. The car overturned in
such a manner that he drowned – in only a few inches of water.
As a memorial to Mark, The Marshall family purchased gold colored pew cushions for the
entire church including the choir area. Each is reversible and interchangeable so the cush-
ions at the back are periodically moved to the front to equalize wear and tear.
The cushions do require a certain amount of maintenance especially after Christmas Eve
services when lighted candles are held during the singing of Silent Night. Invariably, some-
one‘s candle will drip hot wax despite the use of candle holders.
Of all the memorials to the church, the Marshall family‘s gift has provided comfort for
thousands of persons, especially to we regular Sunday morning worshippers. If you see any
member of the Marshall family, shake their hand, pat them on the back, express your appre-
ciation and tell them, ―God loves you and so do we.‖ We miss seeing them in church.
MEMORIES—FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF EMPORIUM
(By Ken Ostrum)
Personal memories with direct connections to the United Methodist Church were primarily
from my Boy Scout days. I joined scouting late, I guess I was 11 years old. I joined be-
cause I had four brothers in the Service for WW II and I wanted to join something too. I
don‘t remember all my leaders but I worked through the Scouting system to Star Scout un-
der the watchful eye of A.W. Peterson. My first memory was being blindfolded and made
to stand on the railing around the balcony in the overflow room. I was then turned around
several times and told to jump. Fortunately I didn‘t drop the 15 feet to the floor, only three
feet to the balcony floor. We play a lot of games and did many crafts at our meetings and
had a lot of camp outings.
Most of my memories are actually through the life of my late wife, Mary Jane (Kinley).
Mary Jane was baptized and raised in the Emporium United Methodist Church. She spent
her early years in Sunday School and church along with her parents, Jack and Mary Kinley.
She was very active in many of the programs and over the years told me of the good times
and experiences they had at the Methodist Church. One story concerned a Rummage Sale.
One of the lady workers came in a little late and laid her coat over a chair. Someone sold
her good coat as part of the sale items and they had a difficult time trying to find who had
bought it. It was eventually recovered.
At another sale a sort of shady lady picked up a couple of small things to buy but had also
taken a new wallet from the sale items and deliberately put it in her purse. Without think-
ing, when she paid for her items she pulled out the wallet she had stolen. Normally it would
have gone unnoticed but the wallet had been brought in by the lady who was the cashier and
she recognized it. An embarrassing moment for the ―wallet thief.‖
Mary Jane continued to attend there until her late teens. At that time, her grandfather, E.J.
Bloom, moved in with her mother and father. They tried to get E.J. to join them at church
but he insisted on only going to a Baptist Church. Mary Jane told her mother she felt her
grandfather should be attending church somewhere and asked if they could all go to the First
Baptist church. Mary Jane, her mother and grandfather began attending the Baptist Church.
She and her mother then became Associate members of the church. Jack remained Method-
(Continued Page 41)
Mary Jane started attending Baptist Youth Fellowship (BYF) meetings. I met her for the
first time at one of those meetings that was held in a private home. She didn‘t like me but
after a few months I must have won her over because we started dating, fell in love, were
married in the Baptist Church and continued to attend there for the next thirty years.
Closing of the Emporium Sylvania plant forced us to move to a new job with Sylvania in
Seymour, IN. The Baptist Church there was a huge church and we felt uncomfortable in
such a large congregation. We talked to the minister‘s wife who suggested we might feel
more comfortable at the local Trinity United Methodist Church. It was about the size of
either one of the Emporium Churches, Baptist or Methodist. We tried it and immediately
felt comfortable and welcome. Later, after retirement, we moved to State College, PA
where we attended the Mt. Nittany United Methodist Church.
When we moved back to Emporium, Mary Jane wanted to remain Methodist. This was not
a problem for me since I was familiar with Methodism, having gone through an orientation
class at Trinity. I also was at least familiar with may members at the church because of
singing groups and the fact many of my friends and relatives attended there. I jokingly told
Mary Jane that since she had attended the Baptist Church with me for thirty years, I would
go to the Methodist Church with her for thirty years , then we could make a decision about
the next thirty years. Unfortunately, we were only to complete 23 of the 30 years, when,
after 53 years of marriage, Mary Jane was taken to dwell in a much better Home where there
are no denominations. I have continued to honor my offer to remain Methodist, even
though I had said it in humor. Somehow, through Mary Jane, the Emporium Methodist
Church history is also my history.
Ken also gave us the a couple of Mary Jane‘s Church School Certificates to share. What a
marvelous story!! (See Page 42)
Mary Jane Kinley Ostrum‘s Church Certificates
―Our Church Memories‖ (By Randy & Ruth Metcalf)
My fondest memories in the First United Methodist Church are of Ruth and me working
with the youth group and Joe and Carol Buzard. Joe and Carol brought such warmth to
those times at youth meetings, our annual trips to Wesley Woods and our car washes. Joe
was such a character, so adventurous and inspirational. He could tell a story that would
weave you right into the moment and have you standing in Hezekiah‘s cave or watching
him build a jet engine or take an old airplane for a ride. He love the kids so much, I think
because he too was still a kid inside. I remember him showing me all of the inner workings
of the pipe organ and how to clean out the valves or in an emergency situation to remove a
pipe and stop it from sounding. Joe and Carol were a major part of this church and church
family that made me feel so welcome, that I chose to make the First United Methodist
Church my home. (Randy Metcalf)
Another wonderful memory for me is the day Ruth and I got married in this church. It all
felt so wonderful to marrying Ruth and having our families, both relative and church, there
to be part of our special day. I remember how beautiful it was that Pastor John and Janet
Spahr sang one of our favorite songs, ―All I Ask of You‖ from Phantom of the Opera. This
was such an important part of our beginning together with our church family. (Randy
Randall and I were married in this church on September 3, 1994. I knew I‘d be smiling
from ear to ear all the way down the aisle and throughout the ceremony. Upon watching
the video which was recorded by a friend and given to us as a gift, I was surprised to see the
expression on my face - sort of a bland stare, with absolutely no smile whatsoever. And yet
I knew I had to have been smiling. The smile must have been in my heart! (Ruth Metcalf)
I was baptized on Wednesday afternoon, after school and just before the Sunday I was to
become a member of the church. I was 11 years old and was told that in order to become a
member, I needed to be baptized. All the other kids that were joining had been baptized as
babies. Rev. Oliver Kraft was our minister at the time, and he arranged for me to be bap-
tized in the sanctuary. As I recall, it was just he and I, and a short ceremony of words, wa-
ter, prayer and certificate for proof of the event. (Ruth Metcalf)
I had the opportunity to view our church from a different aspect. One afternoon Randall
took me up to the attic area over the sanctuary. I was awed by the massive wood beams
which support our church building. I couldn‘t help but imagine being ―back in the day‖
when the church was being built and to have been a child watching these huge beams being
hoisted into place with the help of a lot of men, very large ropes and probably a team or two
of horses. It must have been quite a sight. (Ruth Metcalf)
My Fondest Memory (By Sara Roberto)
My fondest memory about a pastor of this church happened many years ago—not sure of the exact
date but it was around 1957. In the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by the phone ringing.
When I finally answered it, the person asked ―Is this Mrs. Roberto at 560 E. Second St.?‖ and I re-
plied ―Yes it is.‖ She then proceeded to tell me my husband had been in car accident, could I please
come. For a moment I was terrified not knowing which way to turn. Then the answer cam ―Call
Reverend Rigby.‖ This I did and in spite of being awakened at this early hour, his words were ―I‘ll
be right there.‖ I awakened my son and we both dressed and were soon on our way to the hospital.
Thankfully, my husband recovered from his injuries. This act of kindness is something I will never
forget and you may be sure Reverend Rigby will always have a special place in my heart.
P.S. I doubt if Carol ever knew until now that this happened.
A Few ―Share Your Memories‖ dedicated to Joe Buzard 1933-2003 by Lowell Young
Where does a person start when trying to recollect a few of the attributes of Joseph Buzard? Joe pos-
sessed a myriad of talents. That phrase pretty well describes him.
Joe was born in Sewickley, Pa. He came to Emporium in the mid 1950s and started working at Syl-
vania. He became acquainted with Carol Morris, a girl from Smethport whom he married.
During most of their years together, Joe and Carol lived on Lyons Run Road, a true cul-de-sac.
When they heard a car approaching, they knew someone was lost, curious or stopping by for a visit.
It is one of the most beautiful spots in Cameron County.
After living here for a number of years, their roof started to show the ravages of time. When replac-
ing it, Joe found that the previous occupants had cleverly concealed copper tubing within the gutters
and down spouts, obviously the remains of a 1920/1933 prohibition era still. We must have had some
moonshiners in them thar hills. If we had moonshiners, we must have had revenuers too.
In the mid 1950s, Joe and Carol traded their car for a used Cadillac hearse. To distinguish it from a
funeral home vehicle, Joe had it painted blue and white. Carol said with their three growing children,
it was a practical as well as a comfortable, way to travel. When the local funeral director saw the
hearse, he approached Joe and said, ―Emporium doesn‘t really need two funeral homes.‖
One time, some of Emporium‘s most distinguished ladies were to attend a meeting in Coudersport.
They needed transportation, so Joe volunteered to take them. It was their first trip in a hearse. They
had so much fun, they would often ask Joe to chauffeur them to other out-of-town activities.
(Continued Page 45)
Years before seat belts were compulsory, Joe and Carol were youth directors. They would pack kids
into the hearse where they would sit cross-legged on the floor without any kind of restraints in the
event of an accident.
I have heard our Moeller pipe organ was purchased in 1935. It must have placed excessive stress on
the church budget because, at that time in history, the entire country was in the middle of the Great
Depression. By the 1990s, our pipe organ would often take on the ‗drone‘ of bagpipes when an im-
portant valve ceased to open or close. But with Joe‘s uncanny ability, he kept the organ functioning
long beyond everyone‘s expectations despite some of the leathers having deteriorated due to age,
excessive moisture or lack thereof. The Moeller Company was contacted but their quote to rebuild
the organ was higher than the purchase price some sixty years earlier. There was no doubt about it.
We needed a new organ. After much thought, Joe declared, ―We can rebuild this organ ourselves.‖
With a team of helpers, the organ was practically disassembled with the pipes carried to the balcony
where each was carefully and lovingly cleaned. If one of the pipes had been damaged, it was doubt-
ful a replacement could have been found. One young boy wanted to help so Joe said he could return
one of the smaller pipes to the sanctuary. Joe said his heart nearly stopped when he saw the boy go-
ing down the center aisle twirling the pipe like a drum major.
Joe‘s project was started just after the first of the year. His desire was to have it completed and the
organ back in service by Easter Sunday. To quote Carol, ―Every heart swelled with pride at the first
notes of the organ, making that Easter morning sound so heavenly.‖ Many played a part in the pro-
ject, but it was Joe‘s expertise that made it successful.
According to Carol, Joe made trips to many other churches around the area explaining how they
could repair their own pipe organs.
When listening to one of Joe‘s occasional Sunday morning sermons, one would assume he had a de-
gree in theology rather than electrical engineering. Joe could put more wallop into one of his 15 min-
ute sermons than some full-fledged ministers could accomplish in an hour-long sleep-inducing reli-
Joe‘s sermons for children were always thought-provoking and were enjoyed by adults as well as
children. When delivering one of his kids‘ sermons at another church (obviously not Methodist) he
asked the children what they wanted to do when they got older. A cute little girl replied, ―Stay up
late and drink beer.‖
The Methodist church was always important to Joe. He held many offices as well as teaching both
adult and youth Sunday School classes. When teaching the Rigby Class, Joe decided it would be
helpful if the members knew how Methodism was similar to other religions as well as how they dif-
fer. One group we knew nothing about was Mormonism, so Joe arranged for a busload of us to go to
their pageant held annually at Hill Camorrah near Palmyra, New York.
(Continued Page 46)
Women from the United Methodist Church were always famous for their delicious roast beef dinners
but everything always seemed to work a bit more smoothly if Joe ―took charge‖. He attended to the
details from setting the temperature of the ovens through to the slicing of the meat. On the day of a
dinner, Joe was in the kitchen until every cup, plate and saucer had been run through the dishwasher
and was back in the cupboards, floors swept, tables and chairs returned to the storage area and the
In 1995 Joe was hired by the owner of a manufacturing firm to manage his business in Meadville,
PA. The gentleman wanted to go ―on the road‖ as a salesman rather than to be tied down with the
every day responsibilities. Joe and Carol moved and, from all indications, it had been a wise move
on Joe‘s part. After a couple of months, the owner decided he did not like living out of a suitcase and
he was coming back to manage his own firm again.
Joe and Carol moved back home where it would be cheaper to live, but monthly bills had to be paid
and now they had no income. As an experiment, Joe made a few colored glass sun catchers in the
shape of a cross. Each was about 7 inches tall, 5 ½ inches wide, ingeniously held together with lead
strips and solder. Joe used about 15 pieces of different colored glass with a diamond shaped crystal
in the center. They were beautiful and practically sold themselves. In addition to the crosses, Joe
also made small colored glass bird cages encasing a miniature cardinal or bluebird. These also sold
like ―hot cakes‖.
Carol said those sales kept them financially afloat until Joe could get back on his feet. When Joe got
a job, the orders stopped.
When entering the Spruce Street entrance of our church, pay particular attention to the lighted colored
glass cross on your right. This is more of Joe‘s colored glass handiwork, except on a larger scale.
There is no doubt about it! Bad things happen to good people! The year 1995 was bad enough but
the year 2000 was worse. It started with Joe learning he had colon cancer. Then they were involved
in an accident on Route 46 between Emporium and Smethport and, toward the end of the year, their
business on East Second Street caught fire and burned.
Joe was not injured too badly in the accident but Carol required many months of rehabilitation.
Joe put up a fierce battle until September 11, 2003. To quote Carol, ―Joe was one of a kind as we all
are when we allow God to work through us. When Joe was nearing the end of his time on Earth, I
asked God and Joe to send me a sign that he was OK. When Joe‘s body was at the funeral home,
there appeared a double rainbow. I was filled with such peace and joy. I knew that Joe was with his
Lord and I knew it would be OK. The rainbow was Joe‘s ‗sign‘.‖
Joe was a wonderful person. I feel privileged to have known him for thirty years prior to his death.
―Share Your Memories‖ dedicated to H. Ward Zimmer 1897-1954, by Lowell Young
When attempting to write a few paragraphs for ―Share Your Memories‖, it is often difficult to choose
appropriate words. This is especially true if the person is someone you never knew. If I had not been
given Mr. Zimmer‘s obituary clipped from an issue of the Press Independent newspaper, I would not
have had a place to start.
Quoting from that clipping, Ward Zimmer was born June 20, 1897 in Gardeau. He was educated in
local schools and attended Westbrook Academy in Olean, New York.
(Whatever education Mr. Zimmer received had to be short-lived because he had already been em-
ployed by Aetna Explosives Company before going to work in 1919 for Nilco, the predecessor of
His twenty-two inch double column obituary included the following paragraph: ―Mr. Zimmer was an
active member of the Methodist Church and served in many capacities. He was president of the
Board of Trustees and had been a member of the Conference Board of Lay Activities and the Board
of Education of the Annual Conference. He was also Williamsport District Steward of the Central
Pennsylvania Conference. He was appointed a trustee of Lycoming College last year because of his
service to the Methodist Church.‖
His obituary pointed out how in thirty-six years he had progressed from a stock handler to president
of Sylvania Electric Products Inc. employing over 25,000 persons at the time of his death. It went on
to state his greatest contribution to Emporium was perhaps the South Park area. He had a vision and
saw it through. Just a few short years earlier, it was nothing but a slag pile and dumping ground.
Today, neat rows of homes with well kept lawns, flowers and shrubs stand as a silent tribute to his
As Mr. Zimmer was well known for his philanthropic contributions, perhaps the pipe organ in the
Emporium Methodist Church, purchased in 1935, was paid for in part (or in full) by him.
―Share Your Memories‖ Baptismal Font and Communion Table, (by Lowell Young)
Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion in our Methodist Church have always been properly
observed, even as early as 1857, the year circuit riders brought Methodism to this area.
By the late 1980s or early 1990s, it was decided to retire the baptismal font and communion table as
both in use at that time had seen many years of service. Our church deserved something new, some-
thing tasteful, but more modern. Cokesbury‘s catalogs showed just what we had in mind but price-
wise, they were out of our realm.
If you examine our new baptismal font and communion table, you will agree they exemplify ―a work
of Art‖ except both were made by Frank, not Art. In this case, Frank is Captain Franklin H. Alden,
USN Retired. He is one of our real close church friends and resides in Emporium.
When Frank learned our church was in need of these two pieces of special church furniture, he ac-
cepted the challenge and the church agreed to pay for material and labor.
First on his agenda was to locate the proper wood. Frank needed a sufficient quantity of extremely
well-seasoned oak. When located, he took it to an out-of-town planing mill to have it planed down
for his specific needs. Now Frank‘s skill took over with only pictures in a Cokesbury catalog to
After months of sawing, gluing, cutting, fitting, carving, sanding, rubbing varnishing and polishing,
Frank‘s efforts paid off and the Emporium First United Methodist Church was the proud recipient of
a new baptismal font and communion table.
About this time, Mrs. Catherine Whitmer Noll contacted the church and expressed her desire to dedi-
cate something special to the church in memory of her parents and three brothers. The Whitmer fam-
ily was very well known and respected in Emporium as early as the 1800s. Because of Mrs. Noll‘s
generosity, she picked up the ―tab‖ for both items.
Warren R. Rolf was a member of our choir for nearly half a century when he retired and returned to
his home state of Kansas. When he died in 1995, his widow purchased imported white hand-made
linen communion table covers. When in use, the new communion table became one of the many cen-
tral focal points at the front of our beautiful sanctuary.
This photograph was taken sometime between 1878 and 1882. It is believed that
this was the original building and that was located above 4th Street.
Before the 1893 Dedication. Chairs borrowed from the Opera House. Look
closely and we can see how our ceiling looks very much like this picture.
2007 First United Methodist Church Membership List
Ackman, Douglas Ackman, Evelyn Allison, Karen
Anderson, Helen Andrews, Ruby Anthony, Mark
Anthony, Susan Atherton, Christopher Atkinson, Benjamin
Atkinson, Virginia Averill, Donald Beck, Minnie
Beer, Brucetta Beldin, Amber Bender, Miles
Betz, Erin Bickford, Jettie Bickford, Kenneth
Bignell, Anne Bignell, Fredrick Bingeman, John
Bingeman, Marjorie Ann Blackburn, Allen Blackburn, Douglas
Blackburn, Suzanne Blackford, Helen Bolin, Diane
Bolin, Michael Bower, Rory Bower, Trent
Brehm, Debby Brennan, Ann Britton, Leane
Burfield, James Burfield, Jean Burfield, Shannon
Burgoon, Dustin Burkhouse, Fredrick Burne, Fred
Burne, Karen Bush, Tyler Callahan, Jakeb
Cessna, Karen Cessna, Lawrence Chmelar, Kamme
Chmelar, Kip Chmelar, Patsy Chmelar, Shey
Clingan, Betty Collins, Lisa Conway, Clay
Cool, Beverly Cool, Eric Cool, Richard
Cool, Richard Jr. Cooper, Annabelle Cooper, Linda
Coppersmith, Darlene Coppersmith, George Jr. Coppersmith, J
Coppersmith, Lois Crosby, Christopher Crosby, Larry
Crosby, Lynn Davis, Alex Dechant, Steve
Dechant, Susan Dempsey, Jack Dempsey, Michelle
Dill, Naomi Dill, Robert Dill, Thora
Dixon, Joshua Dixon, Steven Dixon, Tina
Dolnick, Kay Donovan, Mary Johnson Donovan, Neil
Dorman, Kathryn Doud, Patricia Doud, Philip
Drum, Ada Duby, Sue Dunkelberger, Sue
Dynda, Joan Dzemyan, Holly Earle, Angela
Eckert, Paul Emery, Bonnie Emery, Melissa
English, Fran English, Richard Farmer, Betty
Focht, Christopher Focht, Patricia Ford, John
Ford, Sandy Fryxell, Andrew Fryxell, Lowell
Fryxell, Rebecca Fulton, Evelyn Gannon, Sara
2007 First United Methodist Church Membership List
Griffith, Elizabeth Grimm, Cheryl Grimm, Twila
Gross, Oliver Harris, Amanda Harris, Rachel
Harris, Valerie Hart, Edna Hartman, Pamela
Heckman, Gary Hefright, Don Hefright, Helen
Heidrich, Linda Heist, Orie Hepfner, Beth
Hepfner, Charles Hepfner, Christie Hepfner, Michael
Heverly, Carol Holly, Donna Holly, Georgiann
Holly, Walter Holt, Benjamin Holt, Edmund
Holt, Gladys Horning, Grace Horning, Jane
Horning, Rhodi Housler, Joan Housler, John
Housler, Kari Housler, Raymond Housler, Terri
Hughes, Mary Jack, Kevin Jack, Robert
Johnson, Ruth Johnson, William Jones, Darlene
Jordan, Wanda Kahnell, Mary Jo Keller, Carol
Keller, David Keller, Donald Kelly, Janet
Kempher, James Kerr, Donald Kerr, Eleanor
Knapp, Judy Knarr, Judith Kriner, Beverly
Krysik, Martha LaBrozzi, Vicki Leathers, Tori
Lewis, Patrick Jr. Lingenfelter, Ashley Lingenfelter, Edward
Lingenfelter, Amie Lingenfelter, Mark Little, Rebecca
Lundberg, Albert Lundberg, Edward Lundberg, Joyce
Lupro, Eileen Lupro, Francis Lyon, Alvin
Lyon, Birdie Uber Lyon, Catherine Lyon, David
Lyon, Ellen Lyon, Heather Lyon, Holly
Lyon, Joan Lyon, Lyle Lyon, Paul
Lyon, Scott Lyon, Susan Lyon, Susan M.
Lyon, William Macro, Kasey Macro, Leann
Main, Kristen Main Nancy Manginell, Linda
Manginell, Shelly Mansfield, Brett Mansfield, Dirk
Mansfield, Gayle Mansfield, Harry Mansfield, Kyle
Marshall, Annabelle Marshall Bryon Marshall, Cheryl
Marshall, Elaine Marshall, Phyllis Mason, Becky
McAulay, Mary McCulla, Amanda McCulla, Brandon
McCulla, Kathy McFall, Christina McGraw, Barbara
2007 First United Methodist Church Membership List
McGraw, Nanette McKimm, Renee McManigle, Sarah
McWilliams, Jean Metcalf, Randall Metcalf, Ruth
Metz, Helen Micklich, Marian Milcheck, Cathy
Miller, Donald Miller, Eileen Miller, Sandy
Morse, Karen Morse, Kevin Mullens, Jane
Mullens, Scott Nellis, Kathy Olay, Carol
Olay, Gary Olay, Mary Grace Ostrum, Abigale
Ostrum, Kenneth Ostrum, Valarie Park, Bibiana
Pearson, Donald Pearson, Donna Pellam, Barbara
Pellam, Marie Pifer, Maurice Poklar, Brucetta
Reber, John Reed, Myrl Reed, Rhonda
Reed, Verna Regelman, Jeanne Reid, Brian
Reid, Grant Reid, Jesse Reid, Jody
Reid, John Reid, Katrina Reid, Kitty
Reid, Linda Reid, Richard Rhinebolt, Karen
Rhodes, Deborah Rinehuls, Peggy Ringer, Sara
Roberto, Sara Rockey, Danielle Rodich, Mary Louise
Rodich, Michelle Rosette, Beatrice Rosette, Jill
Ross, Harriet Saline, Carrie Sanderson, Lorraine
Sanderson, Richard Sarick, June Schuckers, Earl
Schwab, Amy Schwab, Terry Shaffer, Donna
Shaffer, Kenneth Jr. Shoup, June Simpson, Brian
Singer, Bobbie Singer, James Singer, Jeffery
Singer, Steven Sizer, Joyce Slyder, Linda
Smith, Bonita Smith, Cassandra Smith, David
Smith, Scott Snyder, Jason Starr, Charles
Stebick, Norma Stewart, Glenis Stolz, Harriet
Summerson, Judith Sutherland, Jason Swartwood, Monica Logan
Swatsler, Hazel Swenson, Lara Thomas, Carol
Tompkins, Ronald Towner, Diana Tozier, Frances
Uber, Robert Uber, Ronald Vought, Pearl
Weekley, Betty Weekley, Clinton Weekley, Jessica
Weir, Clara Welch, Edwin Wennin, Jessie
2007 First United Methodist Church Membership List
Werts, Dale Wheaton, June Wheeler, Lowell
Wheeler, Rita Whitcomb, Melissa Whiting, James
Whiting, Marian Whiting, Ted Williams, Mary
Woods, Linda Yarnell, Donna Yazach, Dorothy
Yosten, Kelly Young, Grace Young, Lowell
Yount, Sarah Zidar, Arlene Zimmer, Henry Jr.
The following are the children and youth involved with the church that were not in the Circuit Rider
program. They are our future and will hopefully will be at the 200th Anniversary:
Lora Singer, Ian Bolin, Madison Eckert, Trinity Catalone, and Gary J. Heckman
The First United Methodist Church
The Church with a Vision
March 18, 2007
―This is the day that the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it.‖
God Builds No Churches—Edgar Guest
God builds no churches. By his plan
that labor has been left to man.
No spires miraculously arise;
No little mission from the skies
Falls on the bleak and barren place
To be a source of strength and grace.
The humblest Church demands its price
In human toil and sacrifice.
Men call the Church the House of God,
Toward which the toil-stained pilgrims trod
In search of strength and rest and hope,
As blindly through life’s mists they grope.
And there God dwells, but it is man
Who builds that house and draws its plan;
Pays for mortar and the stone
That none need seek for God alone.
The humblest spire in mortal ken
Where God abides was built by men.
And if the church is still to grow,
Is still the light of hope to throw
Across the valley of despair,
Men still must build God’s house of prayer.
God sends no churches from the skies
Out of our hearts they must arise.