Sunday, June 13, 2010
Our "Old West" Legacy
This year marks the 150th anniversary of our congregation here in Monongahela. To help us celebrate our legacy we will be learning more about the exciting history of God’s people at St. Paul’s. It is fitting that we began to mark the occasion as we celebrated the baptism of a new member of Christ’s family in our city. The baptismal font which we still use today has been used for most of the 1,527 baptisms which have been held at St. Paul’s since the first recorded one on July 10, 1867. However, the font itself is much older than our congregation and connects us to the first Anglican Christians to worship in Washington County.
Our baptismal font, once housed in a large wooden case, was painstakingly transported over the wild Allegheny Mountains and was used for many years at Immanuel Church, also called “Old West.” This church was founded in about 1789 at the halfway point between the only two towns in the valley at the time, Parkinson’s Ferry (Monongahela) and Brownsville. By 1860, when the first Episcopal service was held in Monongahela, “Old West” was a dwindling parish. In the 1870’s the congregations of St. Paul’s and Immanuel Church were combined into one parish. We will learn a little more about our mother church,“Old West.” It is a story which involves settlers, circuit riders, angry mobs and tar and feathers, and it is part of our story here at St. Paul’s.