Breakneck Church of God to celebrate 125 years on Sunday

| Thursday, June 20, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Sunday is a very special day at Breakneck Church of God as members and guests celebrate the 125th anniversary of the church.

It was June 25, 1888, that the church became a reality. People had thought about a community church for a while, but thoughts were finally coming to life. They had the land and a name — Breakneck Union Church. How many people helped build the church is unknown. The building served three Protestant denominations: Baptist, The United Brethren in Christ and The Church Of God.

At the cornerstone laying, the Rev. R.C. Morgan represented the Baptists, and the Rev. W.R. Covert represented The United Brethren and The Church Of God. Because early church and Sunday school records no longer exist, little is known about the services in early years. It is known that The United Brethren held services on Sunday morning, and The Church Of God services were held in the afternoon.

A belfry was added to the church in 1922. The parking lot was added in 1942. The first addition was added in 1958, and in the mid-1960s, new restrooms were installed. In 1975, the church began expanding once more.

The sanctuary was renovated in 1980, and in the mid-1990s, new ceiling tiles were donated and installed. Around that time, there was another renovation to the front of the sanctuary and the restrooms. The pews were padded and upholstered in 2000. A large stained-glass window was installed in front of the sanctuary in 2003. It was donated in memory of Earnest Cumberland. In 2009, a new piano was anonymously donated.

The Breakneck congregation has a second building. A Fellowship Hall was purchased in December 1957 from the Bullskin Township School District.

A pavilion was recently built. It is named for the Nicholson-Richter families, who donated the property for it to the church. It will be dedicated on Sunday.

Volunteers erected it. Joe Argiro and Reid Richter worked from start to finish. Others who helped when they could include Al Morris, Jim Fisch, Sammy Martin, Jesse Connors, Keith Cooper, Jim Kimmel, Bob Connors, Adam Schroyer, Bobby Connors, Eric Schroyer and Randy Keffer. Most of the materials were donated.

“We want to invite past members and anyone in the community to attend our celebration of 125 years,” said Doris Sparks. “Sunday will be a day of renewing old friendships and fellowship for all. We will serve a luncheon at noon for everyone to enjoy. The food will be provided. Our church family is looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.”

Activities will continue until dusk with games, prizes and looking at old photos. A Christian band, Stars Burning Down from Shippensburg, will perform from 3 to 5 p.m.

Attendees will share remembrances with former pastors.

The Rev. Joseph Wingrove has been Breakneck Church of God's pastor since 1996, along with his wife, Amy, son Ben and daughter Christine and her husband, Bobby Cramer.

At 5 p.m., hot dogs, cookies and dessert will be served. Everyone is welcome. Just bring a lawn chair, added Sparks.

Breakneck Church is in the Church of God Allegheny Region, which belongs to the Churches of God General Conference of Findlay, Ohio. On Sunday, the director of the Allegheny Region, Phil Scott, will be in attendance to meet everyone.

The church is at 798 Breakneck Road. The oldest members are Goldie Barclay, a lifetime deaconess, and Louise Switzer.

“Everyone is welcome to come join us for this special celebration or at any time,” said Sparks. “There are not too many original churches that mark 125 years. We are very proud that we have reached this milestone.”

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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