Monongahela church has Lincoln tie
By Chris Buckley
Published: Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, 7:45 p.m.
During early morning services in the First United Methodist Church of Monongahela, as the Rev. Ronald Fleming looks into the chapel, he sees not only the congregation, but a congregation of photos of the dozens of pastors who served the church during two centuries.
“Those portraits are a constant reminder of the heritage of the church,” Fleming said. “They're a constant reminder that Methodism is in our DNA. We have this heritage.”
The church, nestled in the 400 block of West Main Street in the city, was formed in 1813, just three decades after the formation of the Methodist Episcopal Church of America in 1784.
One of those portraits is of Matthew Simpson. In 1919, during reconstruction at the church, the former lecture room was remodeled and named the Simpson Chapel in honor of the former pastor.
In 1836, three years after Simpson was licensed to preach in the United Methodist Church, he was appointed pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Monongahela. He remained at the Monongahela Church through 1837, having been ordained an elder during that time.
Simpson served as professor of natural science and vice-president of Allegheny College in Meadville.
He would serve as president of Indiana Asbury University in Greencastle, Ind., from 1839 to 1848.
But Simpson was best known for his close association with Abraham Lincoln during his term as president.
He first got to know President-elect Lincoln in the winter of 1860-61 when he visited with him in Springfield in search of support for Northwestern University.
Lincoln worshiped at various Methodist churches in the nation's capital during his presidency, including the Foundry Church, where Simpson preached in January 1863, according to the website “Mr. Lincoln and Friends.”
After President Lincoln's assassination, Simpson delivered a prayer at funeral ceremonies in the White House, and gave the sermon in Springfield, Ill.
“His connection to Monongahela after he left this church, and the connection he had with Lincoln, makes him a very interesting person,” Fleming said.
“I think they're very honored to have served by a number of pastors over year, including Pastor Simpson.”
This year, the church is planning a 200th anniversary celebration.
There will be events throughout the year, culminating with a week-long celebration Sept. 22-29. The main service will be held Sept. 22 involving the history of the church. An organ recital will be held Sept. 25. On Sept. 29, the Rev. Dr. Eric S. Park, superintendent of the Washington District of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference, will be the keynote speaker at a service. “The congregation wants that Methodist heritage to be visible and to be a reminder of where we came from,” Fleming said. “But in our 200th year, we're also looking to where we're going. We're looking to a bright future for the church.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Monessen cops charge city man in chase case
- Event to help struggling Monongahela museum
- N. Belle Vernon eyes cop pension change
- Pit bull runs wild in Monessen
- Chamber event targets small business, health care
- River Towns program taking hold in Valley
- Delaying Social Security benefits can be best strategy
- Pa. health secretary to tour SPHS facility
- Union Township traffic stop leads to crash, jail
- Donora’s Priscilla Wilson was ‘born to help others’
- Pa. health secretary sees benefits of SPHS Primary Care