They came from as close as next door to as far away as Washington D.C. to the church in the wilderness where they have been worshipping for the last 100 years. However, from June 2 to 3, the parishioners of St. Jacobs United Church of Christ, came not only to worship but also to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the current church building.
On June 2 at 7 P.M., approximately 130 members and friends gathered in the little country church on the bank of the creek for an old-time service. After Clarence Altman rang the bell, Don Altman, the President of St. Jacobs Consistory, said a few words of welcome.
The order of worship was taken from the Hymnal of the Reformed Church and was probably used by the congregation during some of the first services performed in the building. Pastor Fred Drayer read the scriptures from the Bible used by Rev. Christian Gumbert during the first service in 1890.
However, the service was not the only thing which transported the attendees back 100 years in South Bend history. Pastor Ken Tack delivered the sermon attired in a frock coat remeniscent of the fashions of the 1890's. Betty Boyer, Mary Davis, Marguerite Tosi, Helen Schrecongost, Norma Shaffer, Doris Rearick, and Joyce Shellhammer wore bonnets and long skirts.
Rev. Paul Westcoat, President of Penn West Conference and Rev. Raymond Faulds, Vice-President of the Clarion Association, wished us a few words of congratulations.
Betty Dunmire sang a special number. Harry Davis, played the guitar and sang with the specially formed choir. It consisted of Betty Boyer, Joyce Shellhammer, Vida Yount, Kathlene Townsend, Doris Rearick, Norma Shaffer, Ken Boyer, Oakley Tyger and Ken Tack.
During Ken Tack's sermon, he stressed how "Faith" was the foundation of our church. He said "old men did dream dreams and young men did see visions." St. Jacobs stands as a monument to people's dreams.
A social hour followed the old-time service. As everyone munched cookies and sipped coffee and punch, they strolled around the church perusing the many displays of pictures which recounted the history of the church.
Those displays included photographs of the past and present pastors of St. Jacobs, confirmations, weddings, and other social events such as a flood which carried water to the altar, and the deed for the land on which the church was built, dated April 5, 1890, which was purchased from Henry and Rebecca Townsend.
Sunday's service was a home-coming liturgy with communion. At the beginning of the service, Doris Reartck, on behalf of the Women's Fellowship, honored our high school graduates, Melissa Love and Tabitha Shaffer.
Harry Davis and the choir sang In The Garden. Victory In Jesus was sung by the congregation in memory of Rev. Harrison Davidson who was our pastor from Nov. 1975 until his death March 4, 1989.
During the service, Rev. Dan Davis provided some special music for the congregation. With his daughter, Karolyn, accompanying him on the piano, he played a hymn on the saw.
After the home-coming service a covered-dish lunch was held in the church social rooms. Following the old fashioned theme, Rich George provided a hay- ride for the younger generation.
Organ music was provided by Marlene Long on Saturday evening and Michael Borowitz on Sunday morning. The celebration featured a replica of the church made by member Donna Weaver and commemorative travel cups engraved with a picture of the church.
Special guests were Mrs. Ethel Kautz and family, Mrs. Arlene Davidson, Vernon and Gwen Rupert and Jim Kelly.
(From July 1990 Newsletter) By Scarlett and Kathlene Townsend