Church honoring 260th anniversary

October 16, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The year was 1737 when settlers came to the Cumberland Valley and built a log church they would call the Moss Spring Congregation, a name that lasted only a few years before it was changed to the East Conococheague Presbyterian Church.

In 1838 the congregation built a new church at 57 W. Baltimore St. In 1897 that building was razed and the current edifice was built. The original graveyard remains at the old location on Grant Street in northeast Greencastle. It's no longer used for burials, but is still cared for by the church.

On Sunday the members will celebrate their congregation's 260th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of the construction of the church they worship in.


The church's history mirrors that of Greencastle - from frontier days when hostile Indians terrified the inhabitants, through the American Revolution, the 19th century's Civil War, two world wars and a Great Depression to the waning years of the 20th century.

The Rev. Rawley D. Boone, pastor of the church, said that during the Civil War the church was used for classrooms by Matthew Anderson, a young free black man who taught freed slaves how to read and write. Anderson went on to college in North Carolina, then to Yale and Princeton. After earning his divinity degree and being ordinained by the Carlisle Presbytery, he went to Philadelphia, where he founded a Presbyterian church, a training school and a loan association, all to help freed slaves. A scholarship fund in Anderson's name was established by Greencastle Presbyterian Church, Boone said.

Now, Boone said, Greencastle Presbyterian is preparing for the new millennium.

A renovation program that began in 1992 with the acquisition of adjoining land to expand parking and a new roof will also include refurbishing the Moller organ still played every Sunday, computers for the church's religious education classes and an elevator to make the church handicapped-accessible, he said.

Boone, 56, has served as pastor since 1989. A native of Hickory, Pa., in the western part of the state, he earned a bachelor's degree in history from Grove City College before moving on to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

He and his wife Dorothy have two grown children.

Sunday's celebration will include a worship service at 10:45 a.m. led by the Rev. Kenneth Hickey and the Rev. Myrtle McCall, former pastors of the church. Dinner will be served afterward. Afternoon events include videotaping longtime church members as they share their memories, the presentation of 50-year membership awards, a group photo and a videotape of Sunday School children.

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