One hundred and nineteen years ago in 1898, there were many things happening in our country. Some were tragic, some were catastrophic and some were joyful and full of celebration.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
One hundred and nineteen years ago in 1898, there were many things happening in our country. Some were tragic, some were catastrophic and some were joyful and full of celebration. For example:
    ▪    Oct. 6 – The Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity (then the Sinfonia Club) is founded at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts.
    ▪    Nov. 26 – A two-day blizzard known as the Portland Gale piles snow in Boston, Massachusetts, and severely impacts the Massachusetts fishing industry and several coastal New England towns.
    ▪    Dec. 10 – The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Spanish-American War
And right here, in a small little corner of Ridgeville, West Virginia, the community was busy building the main structure of the United Brethren Church, where it served as a community anchor for town services and community events until it was relocated to Antioch.
In 1946, United Brethren and Evangelical churches merged, and the church at Antioch became a church in the Evangelical United Brethren denomination. In 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren merged with the Methodist Church, which then became the United Methodist Church.
The existing church in Antioch has actually been built in pieces, as a picture you see with this column being an example of how the community works together to build a beautiful country church.
And today, I share a little bit about a proactive, joyful church in Mineral County called the United Methodist Church, Antioch - pastored by Rev. Gwen Wolford, now in her 16th year.
I grew up in the Methodist Church, attending Trinity United Methodist in Piedmont - where I served as an MYF president, youth choir director, Sunday School and Bible School teacher, choir member, Youth Sunday speaker, conference missions representative, Easter and Christmas cantatas and programs, church camp and many other activities there, as I'm familiar with the many works of the church.
In fact, though, it's not just the United Methodist Church that has these programs. Most of our community churches reach out and do their missions and church work where people live and work. Perhaps if I wrote a DAILY column, I would be able to cover all of the churches in our tri-state area. But, that would be an impossible task. And, good luck trying to get me to meet THOSE deadlines, right Liz????
Antioch United Methodist Church is connected to Burlington United Methodist Family Services, and so many of the church's programs include those folks with family services. In speaking with Pastor Wolford, she gave me an example of one young person who attended Antioch's programs, and now that he is an adult, he volunteers for the church.
I believe that the cornerstones to a community are the churches we attend. These are the places where we can fellowship with others who experience the joys and sorrows of life, and they are places where we feel safe and comfortable with our friends and family. And, I still believe this even though the most recent tragedy in Texas can strike the darkest fear into our very souls.
Yet, we must keep the faith that God's house is where we can go to pray when these tragedies happen. There is sickness throughout the world, and we all cry and pray for healing.
And, I most certainly believe that we must reach out to our neighbors in our own communities. In Antioch, it is evident that this pastor and her congregation are doing just that, as are so many other churches in our area.
In talking with Pastor Wolford, I was excited to hear that her church had a bell choir, which happens to be under the direction of a fellow thespian - Kevin Shreve, who has terrific theatrical and musical talents that he shares with the congregation. He is also very involved with the youth of the church and their mission work.
You think you know someone because you appear on the stage with them, and you watch them act and hear them sing. But, you don't always know everything about a person, and although I know Kevin has a terrific music background, how nice it is to hear that he is so involved in this active, joyful church!
Some of the other activities that this church does include: beef stew dinners, "We Care" programs about the subject of addiction, movie nights, free Wednesday After School program from 2:50-6 pm, Bible School, Fresh Expressions, the Music Jam and Dinner at Burlington Fire Department, Lenten programs and lunch, and of course - weddings, funerals, baptisms and nursing home visits.
Pastor Wolford invites anyone who would like to come to their regular worship service on Sundays at 10 a.m. - where worship includes children preschool through fourth grade in Junior Church. Sunday School starts at 8:45 a.m. Soon, the congregation will start an Advent Study on Sundays at 6:30 p.m.
Tonight at the church - Free Movie Night, one of the church's acts of hospitality, featuring "Sully - Miracle on the Hudson"...doors open at 6:30 p.m., with pre-feature cartoons and snacks and popcorn available at no charge...feature movie begins at 7 p.m…church is located at 20121 Knobley Road, New Creek, WV...everyone is welcome.
DEC. 9 - Music Jam and Dinner at Burlington Fire Department, Route 50, Burlington..doors open at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. with free-will offering, and area musicians' jam of bluegrass and old fashioned music begins at 6:30 p.m. Come and eat, fellowship and listen, or bring your own instrument and join the jam!
DEC. 17 - Christmas Program, featuring the Bell Choir, under the direction of Kevin Shreve, and recitations by church children. Program begins at 6:30 p.m. There will be a visit from Santa Claus, who shares the Christmas Story. Light refreshments follow the program. All are welcome.
For more information about the church, its services, activities or programs, feel free to contact Pastor Wolford by calling 304-813-0176.
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GPS address: 20121 Knobley Road, New Creek, WV 26743
Where there is a gathering of God's people, there is joy. How wonderful that is.