On Centre | Around Philipsburg: Grace United Methodist celebrates 130 years of fellowship

Philipsburg has no shortage of churches. If you are looking for a way to save a Christian soul, there aren’t many paths to heaven that don’t wander through the Moshannon Valley at some point.

Roman Catholic? There are two in the school district, and two more close enough to make it a nice option if you want to go to Mass but don’t want to get up to be there at 8 a.m. on a Sunday in Osceola Mills. Russian Orthodox? Got you covered. I personally recommend the pierogies at St. Mary’s, but I’m told that’s not a factor for everyone in picking a church.

We have Lutherans and Baptists on Centre Street, Anglicans on Second, Episcopalians and Presbyterians on Presqueisle, and any number of other groups or nondenominational congregations within easy praying distance in any direction.

And then there are the Methodists.

The big, beautiful stone structure on the corner of Front and Walton streets gets all the attention. Trinity is, no doubt about it, beautiful. It also has an active congregation and a commitment to the local people through its shoe bank, its community suppers and its monthly diaper depot.

Then there is Gearhartville Free Methodist, which has rebranded itself as gFree. It has a small building in Decatur Township but a growing population. How many churches face the quandary of fitting into their space because so many people want to come to services that aren’t on Christmas and Easter? I blame the pastor, Noel Meyers. He’s fun to talk to and committed to being engaged with his congregation and the community.

But tucked over to the side, on Pine Street, just off Ninth, you’ll find Grace.

She doesn’t have the size or the spire of Trinity, or the growth spurts of gFree, but visiting Grace is like going to grandma’s house for dinner on Sunday. It’s about family and togetherness. It’s not just soul, but heart.

When work camps of high school students came to Philipsburg over the summer, they did their Sabbath services with Grace and were made to feel not like visitors, but brand-new old friends.

At 10 a.m. Sunday, the church will celebrate 130 years of welcoming worshippers in Philipsburg.

Like all those of a certain age, no presents are necessary. All it wants is a nice visit. You should really stop by.