In the early 1890's a group of about 15 people
began gathering for prayer and worship in the Lanes School House on the
site where the Richard Reddinger home now stands. Various traveling
pastors ministered to this small group and encouraged them in their
desire to construct a church home. On September 16, 1893, Lane and
Humphreys Lumber Company donated a plot of ground next to the school
house for construction of a church building.
Prior to the deed transfer this group had already
raised $900 towards the construction cost of $1500. By October 27, 1893,
the foundation of natural sand stone was laid and the church was under
roof with the hope that it would be ready for occupancy by the middle of
November. Apparently, however, it was not finished until April of 1894
as an April 6, 1894 article in the Brockway Record states, "As soon as
weather is favorable the new church will be painted on the outside,
which will complete the building." Efforts were still being made in
April of that same year to raise funds to complete payment for the
building by holding a social and cake walk. It wasn't until 1899 that
the church bell was installed in the bell tower.
Some of these Methodist forefathers and
foremothers felt it would be sinful to hold social functions in the
church. But they wanted social activities. So about 1918 they purchased
land adjacent to the west of the church and constructed a community
building. This remained an important community asset until the early
1950's when it became dilapidated and was torn down.
Starting in 1945, the church commenced a number of
renovations that greatly modified the original structure. It
started with volunteers raising the church and excavating the basement,
building a furnace room and replacing the two pot bellied stoves (having
a single chimney) with a coal furnace )which was later replaced with a
gas furnace, installing electric lights to replace the carbide lights
(which had replaced the kerosene lights that hung from the ceiling and
were on the side walls), removing the spire from the bell tower,
and numerous other changes.
Another major transformation began on Jun 26,
1960, with the breaking of ground for a new wing with six classrooms,
two restrooms, and a new furnace room. The original furnace room was
converted into a kitchen. Red brick was used to encase both the new
addition and the original building. The new wing was opened on June 25,
1961. In 1976, an aluminum spire with a cross on top was erected on the
bell tower at a cost of $1500 - the cost of the original building. The
new spire replaced the one removed in 1945.
In May of 1973, ground was broken for a new
parsonage on the site of the former community building. A service of
consecration was held on May 26, 1974, and a service of dedication was
conducted on August 16, 1981, together with the burning of the parsonage
Scores of other improvements and changes have
happened over the years and culminate in our present church edifice.
These include such items as a piano and organ, a carillon, stained glass
windows, ramp addition, black topping the parking lot, installing glass
doors on the front and side entrances, purchase of land for more parking space,
construction of a pavilion and children play area, and on and on.
During our beginning years we were part of the
Falls Creek Charge. Over the years our church has been yoked with the
Beechtree Charge (1905-1926), the Brockway Charge (1926-1949), the Falls
Creek Charge (1949-1974) and as a single point charge from 1974-2013. In
July of 2013, Lanes Mills and Moorhead United Methodist Church in
Brockway joined to become a two point charge.
We are a congregation that has changed its
denominational name several times because of mergers. In 1893 we were
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in 1939 we became
Methodist, and in 1968, with the marriage of the Methodist and
Evangelical United Brethren Church, we became United Methodist.
Much of this historical sketch concerns bricks and
mortar, land and lumber, changes and improvements, but the real history
of this church involves laity and clergy, people and God, people and
people. For we have, and do, make up the Body of Christ. Our history has
been, and continues to be, a people to Christ and membership in his
church, growing in Christian maturity, maintaining warm fellowship, and
involvement in ministry with the church and mission to the world. Together we are the United Methodist Church - yesterday, today
References used for this history include:
Brockway and Area by Lew Reddinger, an article by Jim Grant, the
Brockway Record, Histories of the Lanes Mills Church and personal