St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Morgantown, celebrated its 275th Anniversary with a special service.

On Sunday, Dec. 6 the faithful gathered as they have for centuries to the call of God in the village of Morgantown at 6251 Morgantown Road. It was a reverent and joyous day as congregation and friends gathered to celebrate the 275th Anniversary of St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

The Church was aglow with candles on this the 2nd Sunday of the Advent Season, their light reflecting in the stained glass windows that line the church. An Advent wreath of greens with three purple and the one lone pink candle was suspended from the ceiling in the front of the church. The greens cast a shadow amidst the purple and gold of the Advent Vestments.

Caernarvon Township Secretary Randall Miller delivered the reading of the Resolution from the Township Supervisors. That in part said, “The church was founded in 1740 by Thomas Morgan who migrated from Wales and bequeathed the land to his son Jacob Morgan to establish a place of worship and burial. It is the oldest Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Bethlehem, Pa and is recognized by the Township for its service to the community.”

James Morgan, the crucifer carrying the cross of Christ; Rev. Donald Howells, Permanent deacon (retired); Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem; and Rev. Megan Dembi, Priest-in-charge, processed in and took their places.

The highlight of the service came when Bishop Rowe performed the Rite of Confirmation for Josiah Kurtz giving him the church blessing as he kneeled before him and was received into the Episcopal Church.

James Hathaway was received into the church by the Bishop in the ceremony and his wife Arlene Hathaway reaffirmed her confirmation.

The antiquity of the church added to the Priest’s homily as she said, “We add to the unbroken chain of followers since John the Baptist had a special knowledge of what God was doing in the world. He was preparing the way of the Lord.”

“We are called to the same, turn from evil and live for Christ. Go into the community, repent and transform your own lives. Help those less fortunate and spread the Gospel. For 275 years this parish in Morgantown has joined with the unbroken chain of the salvation of the world that will continue until Christ comes again in Gory,” she said.

It is noteworthy to recall their history. Col. Jacob Morgan fought in the French and Indian War 1754-1763 while there was great unrest in the land. The church was built and maintained by his direction according to his father’s will.

After the Revolutionary War in 1778 the priest of St. Thomas, having received his ordination vows in England which included the prayers for the King and Queen of England, resigned since in his faith he was unable to delete that part of the prayer.

It was requested that all patriots, cleric and people alike, would cross out that part of the prayer. The Anglican Church still maintains the original prayer.

And so the congregation at Morgantown persevered in their faith until Dec. 6, 2015 which marks 275 years of allegiance to their God and country. The future is yet to be written.

Josiah Kurtz, when asked how he came to be confirmed on this special day, said, “I was raised in a Christian home, I am 19 and came to this church and liked the traditional services and felt called to join the parish and the Bishop was coming today.”

The services were followed by a dinner in their community room. Evans Goodling, church historiographer, wrote an illustrated memorial booklet which each person received. He also has written several books about the history of the church and secured artifacts and art work in his research.

Close to 100 people attended including Beverly Perella, organist for the anniversary celebration and former music director and organist for St. Thomas Church; member Dr. Leonard Fina, local Morgantown family physician for 45 years; and Herbert Dunmore, 93, with his daughter Gwen Bolton. Dunmore is a World War II veteran, an Army Quarter Master who followed Gen. Patton across Germany in the Red Bull Express.

For more information about the church, contact the parish at 610-286-9547.

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