A church in Mahony City shuts its doors after years of giving hope and services to its attendees. Houses of worship are not immune to closing as there are several reasons why a church could close, including money matters.
The First Presbyterian Church of Mahanoy City has closed after 162 years in the community. The empty pews, once filled with congregation members, now only echo the clock's ticking throughout the hall.
Historic Church in Mahanoy Closes: Decline in Attendance, and Finance is the Cause
Gary Perna revealed that the decision to close the First Presbyterian Church of Mahanoy City was due to a lack of funds and low membership. According to PA Homepage, The church's commission is working to empty the building in the coming weeks, and many are reflecting on its rich history, including its mounts for gas lamps and tin walls. Despite the closure, there is still hope for preserving the church's legacy.
Perna mentioned that a congregation is already interested in purchasing the building and continuing to use it as a place of worship. The hymns from the church's last service remain posted at the altar as a reminder of the memories shared by the congregation during their final goodbye. The hope is that the building will continue to serve future generations looking for a place to worship, just as it has served the community since the 1860s.
Another source is an article shared in Yahoo! News, the final chapter of the First Presbyterian Church in Mahanoy City has come to a close, and the Reverend Ruth Ann Christopher, pastor of Hope of Christ Presbyterian Church in Summit Hill, gave the sermon. She expressed that the decline of the church is not unique to the area and that many towns and congregations across the coal regions have faced similar struggles.
Also Read: Centuries-Old Church To Close As COVID-19 Causes Massive Drop In Membership
Was once A Thriving Town, 10 Members Till the Last Moment
Mahanoy City was once a thriving town with a population of 16,000 in the 1910s, and the First Presbyterian Church had more than 300 regular worshipers. However, the mechanization of the anthracite coal industry in the 1940s caused a decline in the population as fewer workers were needed in the mining industry, leading to many moving elsewhere for work. Despite the decline, the church's early chapters remain an exciting story of growth and community, and there is hope for its preservation and legacy to continue.
According to Fox 56, Gary Perna stated that there were only 10 active members when the decision to close was made. The Mahanoy Area Historical Society cited the town's decreasing population as a contributing factor to the church's closure, along with the closure of many other churches in the area. The Lehigh Presbytery is preparing to sell the building, and the last service was held on Sunday at 3 p.m.
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