Tri-Counties Genealogy &
History by Joyce M. Tice
Churches and Church Records
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Standing Stone Methodist
Church 150th Anniversary 2006
Birthday in Standing Stone: United Methodist Church marking 150th anniversary
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NANCY COLEMAN 03/05/2006 Daily Review
windows glow like rainbows.
red cushions invite the weary to sit a moment in old wooden pews. In the
front hangs a painting of Jesus. And a large wooden cross. Downstairs,
happy voices echo through the dining room.
to the Standing Stone United Methodist Church. Come see the history, and
come meet the people.
come wish it happy birthday.
year, members are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the congregation
and church itself. They're planning for the future, remembering the past
... and thoroughly intending to have some fun.
anniversary committee -- Faith Jaynes, Kathy Camp, Erma Bishop and Ellen
Franklin -- sits in the dining room this afternoon. "Happy 150th Anniversary,"
reads a sign with red hearts by the kitchen windows.
we doing things all year? Erma asks.
yeah, woman!" Kathy declares. "We're excited!"
tall, dignified church stands along the east section of River Road, Standing
Stone Township. Its steeple gazes into the heavens, while a big pine stands
guard at a rear corner. Behind lies the Standing Stone Cemetery.
afternoon the sanctuary's warm and bright, like a day in May come early.
Seven rows of chocolate-colored pews line up front to back, and a rail
stretches around the altar. Small antique minister's chairs hide behind
the pulpit. The walls hold paintings of the Good Shepherd, and of Jesus
teaching from a boat. A small light glows on The Last Supper.
Building," reads a plaque.
between 20 and 40 people attend Sunday services. Some are young, some older.
The Rev. Helen Learn leads worship here and in Herrickville United Methodist
Church every week, and in the Camptown Community Church every other Sunday.
Franklin began attending here in fifth grade and remembers the days of
wood stoves in the sanctuary. She likes "mingling with the people ... fellowship,"
she says. "The worship."
can count on her to sit in a back pew every Sunday. "Good morning! Good
morning!" she greets everyone.
nice to walk in and have somebody right there!" Faith declares.
on the other hand, sits right smack up front, at the organ. A few years
ago, the church asked her to play. Instead, she found a high school girl
to do it.
then the girl left for college. "I'll come until I find you someone," Faith
was about six years ago. She never left. "'Cause I just love them so much!"
sits flipping through a thick red hymnal as she talks. She finally stops
on "Up From the Grave He Arose."
parents and grandparents have attended here. Her grandmother, in fact,
was Jenny VanNess Sherman, whose husband, Oscar, served as village blacksmith.
Jenny also was related to George VanNess, who donated the church land.
guess what. It turns out Faith's related to the VanNess family, too.
all weaves together into a warm, bright quilt of history, tradition and
enjoy the feeling of ... continuity," Kathy explains. It reminds her of
God -- unchanging. And steadfast.
like the food, too!" she adds.
Erma -- she enjoys "just simply coming. ... I like the music!" she declares.
"The music is my thing!"
a "swayer." Sunday morning, you can see her rocking back and forth to the
happy church tunes. ("You can always hear Erma reading!" Faith adds.)
of music, who can forget Ada McNeal, their organist from a few years back?
Ada's almost a legend in Standing Stone, a well-known musician and one
of the community's senior residents.
gave a lot of years," Faith says. She still uses some of Ada's music.
remember: When you're singing ... Get the first word! Nail that first word!
Ada always taught that when she led the choir.
praises Rev. Helen, too. You see, she's heard many pastors. "What we have
right here in this little church, she's a great deliverer!" Faith states.
and teaching are "down to earth," she says, and "applicable."
hits you so you don't forget it."
for Fourth of July, Pastor Helen even had people set off little popper
fireworks as part of the message. "And the kids loved it!" Faith says.
Helen's an "extremely joyful woman," Kathy adds. "Serves God with joy."
Pastor Helen's son, Gareth Henderson, built the church sign out front as
a Scout project.
worship begins at 8:45 a.m. and includes a children's message. The church
offers vacation Bible school each summer and has a women's group, the United
Methodist Women, and a men's club, known for its picnics and pancake suppers.
third Sunday, members donate to Towanda Area Christian Outreach food pantry.
For Valentine's Day, they give baskets to shut-ins; at Christmas, boxes
for Third World kids.
Fun Frolics is new. Kids are invited in for a lesson, craft and game, then
parents may stop in for supper. And if you live along River Road -- check
by your mailbox for a surprise this Easter week.
picnic probably will be in July. "We've gotta have our ice cream socials!"
about an old-fashioned box lunch? "Let's do that!" she cries, excited.
before Easter, they'll slide the tables into the shape of a cross for the
Holy Thursday meal and program. "It calls us to service," Kathy explains.
worship and meals and projects have lasted a long time. For 150 years.
church has kept going thanks to "a few good people," Faith says -- almost
like the Marines. "We keep trying. ...
a need. Each person has a need," she says. "You need to be with other people
that have the same beliefs and needs" -- to talk with those people, and
to feel close to God.
in church, "I think you feel a lot closer to Him."
feel uplifted" after church, Ellen says.
Kathy's learned something: "When you praise, God is there."
year, Standing Stone United Methodist Church will ring with praise. After
150 years, it's time to celebrate.
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Published On Tri-Counties Site On 17 AUG 2006
By Joyce M. Tice
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