Lanes Mills
United Methodist Church
 

Lanes Mills UMC
362 Rattlesnake Rd
Brockway PA 15824

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Church History

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 mortgage.

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 and tomorrow.

 

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 Reflections.

 

 

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