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Mt. Nebo Presbyterian Church celebrates 175-year milestone

| Friday, June 21, 2013, 10:27 p.m.

A wooden cabin built in Ohio Township in 1838 became the local religious hub. Founders named it Mt. Nebo Presbyterian Church.

The 125-member congregation is celebrating the church's 175th anniversary with events through Sunday. The log building was replaced with a larger one between 1878 and 1884, and plenty of other changes have occurred at the church in its nearly two-century history.

“The key thing about this church is that we've been resilient over the years,” said the Rev. Douglas Dorsey, the pastor.

“We have survived by the grace of God,” he said. “When this church was planted, it was a need for the community.”

The William Duff and Hugh Thompson families donated land, and most church members early on were farmers and blue-collar workers. The church was named for the mountain where Moses went to view the promised land.

The church membership of 350 people has dwindled, despite residential growth in Pittsburgh's northern suburbs.

Mt. Nebo isn't the oldest Presbyterian church in the area, but its place in the community is unquestionable, said the Rev. Doug Portz, senior assistant minister at the Pittsburgh Presbytery, which oversees Presbyterian churches in the region.

“It's undergone a lot of transitions but has continued to serve the community and people of all ages,” he said.

Dorothy Frazier said Mt. Nebo is the core of her family.

“I was born and raised in the church, and I have been going there ever since,” she said. Frazier was married there in 1948, and her children and grandchildren were baptized there.

Another member, Sylvia Windisch, said it's “hard for a little church like us to exist with the big churches in the area.”

The church becomes a comfort zone during hard times. Members sent Christmas cards to troops during World War II, and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, people poured in to seek solace.

David Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5804.

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