November — 100 years ago
According to the denomination’s The Christian Advocate, Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church in Littlestown, Adams County, was rededicated November 24, 1912, “after $1,500 had been expended for repairs and enrichments. The church, built in 1877, seems like a new and modern structure. All of the money was secured by [the pastor] W.E. Watkins before the work was completed. Dr. M.W. Prince was the preacher; goodly gospel was heard. Memorial windows add beauty to the auditorium.” Two weeks of special meeting followed, during which “a distinct quickening of the members was manifest.”
The speaker for the occasion, noted orator Morris Watson Prince (1843-1932) of the New York East Conference, was the father of the equally noted Central Pennsylvania Conference elder Leon Cushing Prince (1875-1937) who served on the faculty of Dickinson College 1900-1937 (and simultaneously as a state senator 1928-1936).
From its founding in 1879 until its discontinuing in 1947, the Union Mills, Md., church was on the Littlestown Charge. This was the only former Methodist church in Maryland that was in the Central Pennsylvania Conference. That property was sold in 1954, with the proceeds returning to the Littlestown Charge. The Littlestown congregation has since united with Barts (formerly United Brethren) to form the present Barts-Centenary UM Church, worshiping in an expanded facility embracing the structure that was rededicated 100 years ago.
December – 50 years ago
The Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Church distributed packets of information to each pastor and local church chairman of the Commission on Christian Social Concerns relating to the annual denomination-wide observance of Commitment Sunday on December 2, 1962. This Commitment Day related not to church finances, but to abstinence. While some were beginning to question the wisdom of continuing Commitment Day annually, the 1960 Book of Discipline, paragraph 1536, was clear on the issue: “To enlist Methodists and to encourage others to commit themselves to personal abstinence from alcoholic beverages and to temperate living … the first Sunday in December shall be observed each year as Commitment Day, to be promoted in every church.” The 1962 theme, “What Does Drinking Mean to You,” was prominently promoted in the conference’s monthly Central Pennsylvania Methodist, predecessor of The Link.