The Milesburg Baptist Church picked a better date for a milestone birthday.
On Aug. 22, the church turned 190, but congregation members decided they wanted more of a party.
There were so many people tied up with vacations and the Grange Fair and all that, we just thought it wasnt a good time to have it, said church member and archivist Darwin Jake Corman, of Milesburg.
A month later, the church on Market Street officially will celebrate.
The festivities start Sept. 22 with an open house. Starting at 6:30 p.m., visitors can sample refreshments and peruse displays recounting the churchs history back to 1822, only nine years after the borough received its charter.
Well have lots of displays, said Corman, 77, a member for 45 years. In fact, we have the minute books back to 1822.
Deacon Joseph Miles, a town founder, and three other original members Susan Miles, Abigail Miles and Hannah Green first met at a house on the present site of the Milesburg Fire Co.
Next they met at Greens tavern, which now houses the Milesburg Museum and Historical Society on Market Street. In 1859, a brick church went up across the street.
The congregation has worshipped there ever since.
Invitations have gone out to past members, but Corman has no idea what the turnout will be.
We sent letters to a lot of people, he said. Whether theyll come back we dont know.
There are some definites. The Rev. Lowell Lee, the pastor for 35 years until 1994, is returning for the occasion. So will Barbara Miller, a Buffalo State professor and descendant of Joseph Miles. She wrote a history of the church from its start to 1836. Copies will be available for sale at the open house.
At 10:45 a.m. the next day, the Sunday service will honor seven church members including Cor-mans wife, Sandra Corman with 60 years in the congregation.
These days the church membership numbers about 150, of which 60 or so regularly attend services. The church itself is in good shape for its advanced age, with the bricks solid and parts of the interior remodeled over the years.
Corman said neither he nor anyone else is making plans for the buildings bicentennial celebration.
Thats a little far down the line, he said.
Chris Rosenblum writes a weekly column about news in the Upper and Lower Bald Eagle valleys. If you have news to share, email him at email@example.com or call 231-4620.