150 years of faith and family

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Take a walk through Mount Tabor United Methodist Church&8217;s cemetery and you will see a record of local history. Headstones date back to 1857 and include the names of family members whose decendants still fill Mount Tabor&8217;s pews today.

Mount Tabor United Methodist Church will mark its 150th year of ministry on June 3. Members believe faith and family is what has given the church its longevity.

&8220;I grew up in that church,&8221; said Linda Hoagland, a life-long member. &8220;We are a close knit church family. Our children have grown up and moved away, making it a smaller group, but we hold it together.&8221;

To commemorate how things once were, members have gotten hundreds of handheld fans made up. Betty Lee remembers a time when that was the only air conditioning available.

&8220;When I first started going they had a potbelly stove in the sanctuary,&8221; Lee said. &8220;Someone would go early in the morning to start a fire before services in the winter. And in the summer we used what we called &8216;funeral fans&8217; placed at every pew and everyone had one to keep themselves cool.&8221;

Some may think a lack of air conditioning would be primitive, but the church had even humbler beginnings. For a short time, the congregation held simple brush arbor meetings.

&8220;The men would go out and cut down what I call saplings and would build an arbor for the pastor to stand under,&8221; Lee said.

This went on for several years in the 1930s until members decided to move services back to the church. In 1937, a group of local residents brought services back to the original building and that is where members have remained ever since.

Worship on Sunday will begin at 10 a.m. with guest speakers David Sherrell, who grew up at Mount Tabor, as well as Brother Joe Gamble, whose first appointment 27 years ago was to Mount Tabor. Members ask that anyone who attends bring a dish to share for the community dinner. For more information contact the Homecoming Committee at 678-6857. Mount Tabor United Methodist Church is located at 4419 Old Hwy 280 in Westover.

Worship schedule:

Sunday 9 a.m.

Sunday school 10 a.m