Today’s post is a reprint of a news article featuring the history of one of the first churches I pastored. This is the advance coverage provided by one of the newspapers in the area in anticipation of the Parade Street UMC as they prepared to celebrate their 125th anniversary. I DID NOT write this article.
Union City church celebrates 125th anniversary,
looks toward future
by Tom Chapin (Corry Journal, 9/12/1997)
UNION CITY – The Parade Street United Methodist Church will celebrate its 125th anniversary Sunday with worship services, historical displays and get-togethers with current and former members of the congregation.
For the Rev. Dayton D. Mix, the celebration should be a starting poi nt for the church’s next 125 years and beyond.
He told The Journal that from behind and away from the pulpit, he has challenged the congregation and the church council to look to the new horizon.
“If we come to Sunday, and all we can do is talk about what has happened and past greatness,” he said, “then all we have is a eulogy.”
“For this to be an anniversary celebration,” Rev. Mix continued, “it requires that we also be looking towards the future and what God may be leading us into over the next 125 years.”
Rev. Mix said after prayer and reflection, the congregation and the church council hopes to understand this new direction by January. Of course, he said, even then they might have to keep looking for the broader picture.
“We’re not going to limit God into where He can take us,” he said.
This look into the future continues the church’s overall mission which began in Kimball Hill, two miles northwest of Union City, as the United Brethren in Christ of Union City, Pa., with Rev. W.R. Allen as the pastor.
A short time later, the church moved into Union City and held services in the Presbyterian Church on West High Street.
The church moved to its present site on Parade Street in 1876. Although most of its exterior has been renovated, the building is original, Rev. Mix said.
Indoor renovations have been made throughout the church’s history. A parsonage was built next door between 1877 and 1893, during the pastorate of Rev. Edward Smith. A vestibule, two Sunday school rooms and a balcony and towers were dedicated in August 1919 by Bishop William Bell. Downstairs classrooms were also built in 1952.
In 1946, the United Brethren denomination joined with the Evangelicals, forming the Evangelical United Brethren. Later, that group merged with the Methodists.
Rev. Mix explained that many of the EUB churches chose the name Evangelical United Methodist. As for his parish, it chose to name itself for the street it was on, Parade Street.
The former Union City High School once stood where the church now has its parking lot.
When the church purchased the building from the Union City School District Board of Education in 1965, part of the deal was demolishing the former high school.
Many of the bricks from the former school were used on the outside of Thomas Grocery, which is across the street, Rev. Mix said.
Maintenance and renovation projects have marked most of the church’s last quarter-century, Rev. Mix explained.
The bell towers were renovated, Rev. Mix said, because bricks in the towers would break loose and fall.
The church has also entered the musical MIDI age, with a new organ and electronic baby grand piano, which contains numerous sounds other than those created by the conventional 88-keyed piano.
At times, Rev. Mix’s wife Gay, who teaches in the Corry Area School District, provides music for services.
The last 25 years of the Parade Street United Methodist Church has also embraced numerous outreach programs, such as involvement with area groups such as Horizon House, the Salvation Army, area food banks and WCTL, a Christian radio station which originates in Union City. Programs for youth have included a summer lunch program and after-school activities.
The church also hosts its own missionary conference, a smaller-scale version to one hosted by Corry’s two United Methodist churches.
Another addition in the church’s last 25 years of history has been the arrival of Rev. Mix as the church’s 29th pastor.
Before assuming his duties on July 1, 1996, Rev. Mix came to Corry as the youth director for the Evangelical United Methodist Church of Corry.
In addition to pastoring the Parade Street United Methodist Church, Rev. Mix is also the pastor of the Spartansburg United Methodist Church.
Two separate congregations, Rev. Mix said, who “just happen to have the same guy.”
This Sunday’s celebration will consist of business-as-usual, as well as some special highlights.
At 11 a.m., Rev. Mix will welcome several new members to the congregation, followed by a church family dinner at 12:30 p.m.
Historical displays and photos will be featured at 1:30 p.m., and the Erstwhile Sunday School Class Reunion will be held at 2 p.m.
The main celebration will kick off at 3 p.m., with guest the Rev. Lawrence Lyman, son of former pastor the Rev. Harold Lyman.
Other highlights of the celebration will include special music, communion, a historical review, a time of testimony, a service of rededication and the debut of the Parade Street United Methodist Church Choir.
The day will conclude with a reception.