BERLIN – The 100th anniversary of Stevenson United Methodist Church on North Main Street will be celebrated with a free day of worship, dinner and music and more this Sunday.
"Three of our previous pastors will join us in a service in honor of this special event," the Rev. Ron Schatz said.
Beginning at 2 p.m., the service will feature ministers Alex Slonin, Henry Zolinhoffer and Tom Gross, who will act as the event’s guest speaker.
A dinner will be held afterwards, along with the southern bluegrass gospel music of Sacred Sounds. During the celebration, guests are invited to take a tour throughout the building until the event’s end at 7 p.m.
While the building itself has existed since 1912, Stevenson United Methodist Church was first built in 1835 under the name Cedar Chapel on a lot of what is now Buckingham Cemetery off South Main Street.
Rev. Schatz said there is no record, but it’s likely the congregation began with no more than 20 members. That number has since grown to more than 300 worshipers from the area who are regularly involved with the church.
As the congregation grew in the mid-1800s, a larger church was built in 1847 on the property where the current church stands.
In honor of Edward Stevenson, who donated the land, the church was renamed to Stevenson United Methodist Church.
Recognizing a need for a local public cemetery, a lot was purchased by the church in 1883 and many residents have found Evergreen Cemetery on Route 376 to be a final resting place for those who have passed.
The church community grew even more until the need for a bigger building in the early 1900s.
With a brick exterior and new stained glass windows, the new building of Stevenson United Methodist Church was dedicated on Nov. 7, 1937 and it still stands today.
"All of our stained glass windows are original, and I have never seen such vivid designs at other churches," Schatz said.
Church members have volunteered their services to the community throughout the church’s history, and still do so to this day.
Such community services include a "Spirit Kitchen" and pantry that feeds about 250 people every week.
There is also a dinner and a movie event held each month that gives members an opportunity to socialize.
"With our seats and sound system, our setup is just about as good as any theater," Schatz said.
A thrift store called Therz-a-Need also provides the community with a shop to purchase used and discounted items.
Stevenson United Methodist Church is located at 123 N. Main St and open for visitors Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.