100 years ago -
March On March 13, 1912, George M. Richter departed for missionary service in Africa. He was born in Halifax, Dauphin County, in 1884, and raised in the United Brethren [now UM] congregation of that community. In the fall of 1899 he attended a missionary meeting in his church led by Ira E. Albert, superintendent of the United Brethren mission in Sierra Leona, and heard a powerful sermon that encouraged him to consider missionary work as his life’s vocation. After graduating from the denomination’s Lebanon Valley College in 1909 and Bonebrake [now United] Theological Seminary in 1912, he followed through on his teenage commitment.
Rev. Albert, a native of Lebanon County and 1897 graduate of Lebanon Valley College, drowned in a boating accident in Sierra Leone in 1902. Rev. Richter and his wife, also a graduate of Bonebrake, would go on to serve as United Brethren missionaries in West Africa for more than 20 years. He later served as a congregational pastor in Iowa, where he died in 1974 at the age of 90, thus closing the earthly commitment to Christian service made 75 years earlier as a teenage member of our congregation in Halifax, Pennsylvania.
50 years ago -
April On April 1, 1962, the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church organized a new congregation in Church Hill Manor, between Milroy and Reedsville, in Mifflin County, with 55 members. The work began when several families of this growing residential community recognized their need for a congregation of their own. After a January 1960 survey indicated the willingness of the community to support such an endeavor, a committee was formed and several denominations were invited to consider the project. It was the EUBs, who had members in the immediate area and a willing pastor ten miles away in Burnham, who responded to the challenge. The congregation worshiped in a variety of rented facilities until their church building was dedicated September 22, 1963. Growth was slow while the congregation had no permanent home, but within 18 months of completion of the sanctuary the membership had more than doubled to 118. Today, with over 200 members, Church Hill UMC is the largest congregation on a three point charge with the former Methodist churches at Milroy and Reedsville.
One week later, on April 8, 1962, the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Church consecrated the church building of that body’s new Mount Olivet congregation on land acquired from the adjacent Methodist Home for Children in Cumberland County. This project was completed with help from the Bishop’s Booster Club, forerunner of the now-inactive Church Builder’s Club.