PHILIPSBURG – A grand Philipsburg tradition will be revived at the old Union Church (Mud Church) at 2 p.m. May 28.
It will include military honors and a memorial service for all veterans. It will especially be for veterans of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars who are buried in the Union Churchyard.
Participation of the American Legion Honor Guard and the Civil War Re-enactors from the 148th Regiment will guarantee a colorful ceremony.
Following rifle salutes and laying of wreaths by these groups, the ceremonies will move into the church for an ecumenical memorial service sponsored by the Philipsburg Ministerium and the Philipsburg Historical Foundation.
“We want to make this into something that the town and surrounding areas can be proud of, and something we will be able to repeat year after year,” says Allen Webster, commander of the Philipsburg American Legion, who has spearheaded planning for the event.
“We’re really excited to participate in these events,” says Philipsburg Mayor John Streno, who will be in Civil War uniform as one of the 148th re-enactors.
“It’s been a long time since such ceremonies have been held at the Mud Church, and we hope to make sure that we can resume honoring the veterans at Philipsburg’s most sacred spot for many years to come.”
Philipsburg Historical Foundation President Mark Seinfelt added, “These events give us a great chance to work on sprucing up the Mud Church and the Churchyard.
“We want to emphasize that the Mud Church belongs to Philipsburg, and that any religious group is more than welcome to hold services there.”
“Any religious group” most definitely includes the Gearhartville Free Methodist Church, according to the Rev. Merry Kendall, associate pastor of the church, who will deliver the sermon at the memorial service.
“The Free Methodists were the last group to hold regular services in the Mud Church in the early 1920’s, before building their own church. This is a pattern that has been repeated for most of the congregations in the Philipsburg area, and we need to remember where our roots lie in this beautiful building that is dedicated to the use of all denominations.”
Other congregations participating in the service will include the Church of the Nazarene, First Church of Christ, First Evangelical Lutheran Church, First Presbyterian Church and the Morning Star Fellowship. All are welcome to attend.
Following the services, there will be a reception with homemade desserts at the American Legion Hall at the corner of Presqueisle and North Centre streets.
In case of rain, services will be held in the First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Fifth and Presqueisle streets.