Latrobe Presbyterian, the church of Mr. Rogers, celebrates 150 years
To review the history of Latrobe Presbyterian Church is to review the history of Latrobe itself.
The church formed as a Presbyterian mission two years before Latrobe was incorporated as a borough. As the borough grew, so did the church — from the original 110 members to more than twice that size by the time the current building was completed in 1892.
On Sunday, the congregation will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a traditional Scottish Reformed liturgy. The service will include a procession with bagpipes and Bible, bell ringing and music commissioned in honor of one of the church’s most famous members — children’s broadcaster and Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers.
Congregants are encouraged to dress in plaid and tartans. The Rev. Ronald Durika, interim pastor, will wear clerical garb from the period.
Latrobe Presbyterian Church has been a mainstay of life in Latrobe since its founding in 1869, Durika said.
“The church here in Latrobe grew quickly until they built this church (in 1892),” he said.
Rogers, who went on to fame as host of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” grew up in the church, sang in the children’s choir and was baptized there, said member Mary Lou Townsend, president of the Latrobe Area Historical Society.
Professional golfer Arnold Palmer also was a member, she said.
On Sunday, the children’s choir, under the direction of Michael Long, will sing “God is Here Today,” a piece commissioned in memory of Rogers and underwritten by the Sawyer Music Fund.
The adult choir will perform “God, Creation’s Great Designer” with trumpet and timpani accompaniment.
Terry Greene will play the bagpipes for the procession, and Alex Stewart will carry the Bible.
After the 11 a.m. service, there will be a celebration with refreshments and a display of historical materials.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .