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Downsville church plans 150th anniversary

October 19, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

DOWNSVILLE - The year was 1985, and Glenna Moncrief and her husband, Robert, were looking for another church - specifically a small country church with friendly people.

"We found the Downsville Church of the Brethren and felt like we'd known these people for years," Moncrief said.

For 22 years, she has been involved in many church activities. She currently leads the nurture committee, which oversees Christian education and special events.

One of those events is planned this weekend as the church at 8228 Dam No. 4 Road celebrates its 150th anniversary.

To begin celebrating the church's heritage, plans are to have the fall love feast and communion on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Moncrief said.

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"This is the way it would have been done by the first members at Downsville. They came by horse and buggy on Saturday and stayed overnight for Sunday morning service," she said.

The Sunday morning worship service will begin at 10 a.m. with former Pastor Jimmy Ross of Waynesboro, Va., as guest speaker.

Special music will be provided by the men's chorus.

Back in the 1960s, the men's group called The Singing Brethren recorded two records with Ross directing them and former Pastor Burton Lange accompanying them on piano, Moncrief said.

"The group of seven is still intact except for one member who is deceased," Moncrief said.

Other former pastors of the Downsville Church of the Brethren have been invited - Stanley Barkdoll of Kearneysville, W.Va., Janice Dorsey of Hagerstown, Tom Hurst of McPherson, Kansas, and Bill Van Buskirk of Frederick, Md.

Moncrief said she and her committee have been working with Pastor Wilkie Nunn during the past year planning for the celebration.

Other nurture committee members include Bettie Wampler, Amanda Gaylor and Lynn Bibbee.

Wampler has been with the church for 60 years; Gaylor married into the church. Bibbee began attending when she was 9 or 10 years old when her father, the late Jerry Carpenter, was pastor.

"It's a good committee with good ideas," Moncrief said.

Following the morning worship service Sunday, there will be a carry-in dinner. While dinner is being set up, a video of taped interviews between children of the church and the older members will be shown. It will include history of the church and the question, "What has it meant to be a member of the Downsville Church of the Brethren?"

At 1:30 p.m., 4Tifide, a gospel men's group, will present a program.

The committee has been preparing for the event for the past year. In commemoration of the celebration, a cookbook was published.

The 117-page volume includes four pages of history of the church compiled by Gwen and Homer Long.

Throughout the past year, other activities have been planned by the committee including fun nights, sweetheart Sundays, parent-child dinners, teas and an ice cream social.

"We do a lot of outreach," Moncrief said.

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