Three years after its 168-year-old church was hit by a tractor-trailer and condemned, the congregation of Mt. Harmony United Methodist Church in Wellersburg, dedicated a new building on June 14, 2020.
They had been worshipping at nearby churches since April, 2017 when a tractor-trailer coming down steep, winding PA Route 160 from the Pennsylvania summit of Big Savage Mountain missed the curve at the bottom and hit the church, which sat about 10 yards off the road. While the congregation was awaiting a demolition permit, another tractor-trailer smashed into the structure for the fifth time in six years that it was hit by trucks. The congregation relocated the new building farther back from the road.
Senior Pastor Kenneth Haines, lead pastor for Mt. Harmony and the sister congregations of the Four-Point Harmony Charge, preached and celebrated communion during at the dedication service, held just weeks before he moves to a new appointment in the Connellsville District on July 1. Haines shepherded the construction effort with building committee chair Michael Norris.
Associate pastor Ethel Stevanus, who was raised in the Mount Harmony UMC, told the congregation that after the backhoe had cleared the debris from the ruined church building, she found a candle that was not broken. She then lit that candle to represent the light of Christ being brought forward into the new church building. “The light of Christ still shines in Wellersburg through the Mount Harmony United Methodist Church,” she said.
During the service, the original pulpit recovered from the old church was presented by Homer Dom and the baptismal font and Lord’s Table were presented by Beverly Twigg.
Rev. Jim Jefferies from the “Red Church” in Wellersburg, which shared their worship space with the Mount Harmony congregation while the new church was being built, gave a special blessing. A joint choir representing all the churches of the charge--Palo Alto, Hyndman First Ave., Cooks Mill and Mt. Harmony--provided special music.
Following the service, tours of the new church were given and Rev. Derek Platt, senior pastor for the charge as of July 1, was introduced at the reception.