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Carroll Co. Church Celebrates 250 Years

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By KELCIE PEGHER
Carroll County Times

HARNEY, Md. (AP) — The Piney Creek Presbyterian Church’s 250th celebration began with an Old Tyme Picnic and a history lesson for a congregation where it’s not unusual to have four generations in the same pew.

On a slightly windy Sunday, the Piney Creek Presbyterian congregation gathered for the first of its events around the 250th year of the formation of the parish.

While members of the congregation may not have been in the church 250 years ago, several have been active since birth or childhood.

“I was baptized here,” Connie Small, a member of the Piney Creek Presbyterian congregation, who brought her two boys with her to the service, said.

It was a sentiment shared by Karen Leppo, from Littlestown, Pa., who was also born and baptized in the church. Four generations of her family have been attending Piney Creek Presbyterian, she said.

“I like the simple worship service. The traditional simplicity of the church,” Leppo said.

Several people dressed up in bonnets and colonial gowns, including Amanda Grant, who gave a historical narrative during the service.

While the parish may have formed in 1763, it wasn’t until 1818 that the church that still stands today was built, Grant said. Prior to the church, the building was believed to be a little log cabin, she said.

The church still has the original deed for the land, which is older than the Declaration of Independence, Leppo said.

“It is hard to know exactly when the log cabin church was built, as founders of the church probably did not realize that 250 years later there would be church members still celebrating and searching for records in the very same spot,” Grant told the congregation.

Grant said she began researching the history of the church along with her committee about a year ago. Most of the history came from old articles and news bulletins, she said. What was difficult was how few records were kept.

When the congregation built what is now the church, they didn’t have detailed records, she said. So what she did find was that two stoves were installed, she said with a laugh.

Her family’s attendance at Piney Creek spans six generations, she said.

“To be here at this time, it just feels meant to be,” Grant said.

For those who helped organize the events, all said it felt important to be involved at such a historical point in time. It’s the service that families share with each other that keeps the Leppos coming back, generation after generation.

“Amanda (Grant); I was her Sunday school teacher. Now she’s my Sunday school teacher,” Leppo said.

Larry Markle, of Harney, said he’s been coming to Piney Creek Church since 1950. While there may have been a 200th celebration, it wasn’t anything like what the church has planned for this year, he said.

There will be additional events in September and November, he said.

“I’m hoping to be here for the 300th,” Markle said.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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