Mt. Olive Church in Sharpsburg to celebrate 121 years
The Rev. Curtis Jones has an understated message for his congregation on the 121st anniversary of Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Sharpsburg.
“We've come this far on faith,” said Jones, pastor of the church that will celebrate the anniversary this weekend.
He and his 50 or so parishioners are inviting the community to worship with them at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at the small brick church at 1020 Main St.
Jones said the doors always are open to newcomers.
“We preach Jesus Christ,” Jones said, “And that's what we'll do that day.”
Founded in 1892, Mt. Olive originally was on High Street. The church remained there for 75 years, but was relocated to make way for the Etna Bypass off routes 8 and 28.
Mt. Olive opened in its current corner location in 1967, and continues to thrive in the town's commercial district.
Jones came on board in 1989. He credits the church's longevity to the tenacity of the parishioners.
“Our congregation has changed. The older members have passed on, children have moved away,” Jones said.
“It is the dedication to Christ that's the reason we keep thriving.”
Bobbie Cubbage, a Blawnox resident, said the congregation's humility drew her and her husband, Sam, there.
The Cubbages decided on a whim to attend services there three years ago.
“It was the Sunday after the February blizzard of 2010,” said Cubbage, a teacher for the afterschool program at Boyd Community Center. “We have been involved in church all of our lives. When we moved here, we needed a church on this side of town.
“We liked it because it is small and humble, and we joined shortly after.”
Cubbage said Mt. Olive members can take pride in their church.
“We are one of the oldest churches this side of the Mississippi,” she said. “We provide a rich and interesting history as part of the religious foundation of the borough.”
Jones said the church has grown to be an integral part of the community through its outreach. Neighborhood groups meet there during the week, and a prayer group on Wednesdays is open to the public. Church school is offered at 8:45 a.m. Sundays, before 10 a.m. services.
Cubbage said the anniversary is inspiring.
“Any anniversary is special, whether it be five years, 10, or 20,” she said. “But 121 years in the same community, that is something to celebrate and be a part of.”
Jones said the church's longevity will be the focus of Sunday's festivities, and he plans to focus on that point. “We're gonna keep on keepin' on in the name of Jesus,” he said.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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