Church recreates “old days” for anniversary

BETHANY – Members of Castleman Run United Methodist Church will celebrate the church’s 200-year-old roots with a weekend of food, entertainment and activities reminiscent of its old days.

Set for Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, the celebration will include live music, pony and wagon rides, skillet-throwing and hog-calling contests and several re-enactment groups pitching camp sites near the church.

The church’s origins can be traced to 1814, when the land was consecrated for worship by the Rev. Joshua Monroe after George Jones, a local farmer, donated it for worship.

Shirley Kemp, a church trustee, said many area residents would camp at the site for a weekend of worship and fellowship.

“People would come in wagons with their families and bring food and stay for the weekend. We’re trying to re-create some of that feeling,” said Kemp.

To do that, Kemp enlisted her brother, Lynn Cowell, to bring his re-enactment group and several others recreating life in that period. She said a limited amount of space also will be available for others to join them in pitching period-inspired camp sites.

The re-enactors will set up Friday evening, and everyone is invited to bring picnic baskets and blankets for a picnic supper on the lawn at 6 p.m. It will be followed by music by Mike and Debbie Hensler and others and an evening prayer service around a bonfire and sing-along led by JoAnn Davis.

There will be strolling bagpiper Nila Boyd on Saturday, as well as period games for children, face painting, pony and wagon rides and period demonstrations.

There also will be gospel music and magic at 11 a.m.; a skillet-throwing contest, with prizes for various age groups, at 1 p.m.; music by Sandy Lusco Huffman and Bob Podish, beginning at 2 p.m.; a hog-calling contest (also for various age groups) at 4 p.m.; music by the Honkytonk Sweethearts; and bonfire evening service, beginning at 7 p.m.

The Bethany Woman’s Club and others will sell homemade bread, pies breakfast items and other food on Saturday.

Sunday’s events will include a breakfast, with a cost of $5.95, at 8 a.m. and a morning worship service with Martha Ognibene, district superintendent for the United Methodist Church.

It will be followed at about 11 a.m. by a re-enactment of the consecration of the land, with Matt Charlton, a former pastor and current member of the church, assuming the role of Monroe, and George Jones III portraying his great-grandfather.

Kemp said Jones, who lives in Washington, Pa., will be presenting the original deed for the land and is among several descendants of Jones invited to attend.

A picnic lunch will follow at 11 a.m. and an afternoon service at 2 p.m. with several past pastors and others slated to share memories of the church.

Shirley Kemp can be contacted at (304) 829-4342 or skemp@bethany.wv.edu.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)