Tyrone Presbyterians to honor Civil War Christian and soldier

At 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 6, Tyrone Presbyterians will feature the Logan Guard band, Civil War re-enactors, a Huntingdon historian, a local singer and organist, the Presbyterian pastor and three patriotic hymns as church members travel back more than a century to honor a Civil War Christian, soldier, and one of Tyrone’s founding fathers – Colonel James E. Crowther, Jr.
Fifteen minutes before the 10:30 Presbyterian morning worship service, the Logan Guard Regimental Band will play instruments from the Civil War era as they serenade church-goers with patriotic pieces from the portico steps in front of the red doors that open into the Presbyterian sanctuary.
After a call to worship on the tower bells, church deacons will seat the family descendants of Civil War soldier Colonel James Crowther. Officially, this patriotic Presbyterian service will open when nearly 40 Civil War re-enactors march forward in military regalia to Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus. This rousing hymn was composed in 1859 – one year before Colonel Crowther became Mayor of Tyrone.
Following the procession of Civil War re-enactors, Huntingdon historian and Colonel Crowther biographer Dr. Robert R. Hileman Jr. will deliver a five minute Tribute to Colonel James Crowther. The audience will respond to Hileman’s tribute to Colonel Crowther by singing Fight the Good Fight. This opening hymn contains much military imagery and was composed in 1863. 1863 was the year Colonel Crowther lost his life to a Confederate bullet in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia.
Tyrone singer Eileen Kough Mitchell and organist Richard Merryman will combine their vocal and keyboard talents to lead three congregational hymns and to present Civil War folk songs and ballads including He’s Gone Away, Shenandoah, and The Dying Soldier. In The Dying Soldier, a Civil War soldier confides to his companion that death has lost its sting because of his devotion to Jesus.
Presbyterian Pastor Robert E. Dunkelberger will preach the morning message entitled, Transformed People, Transformed Nation. As his Biblical text for the morning message, Pastor Dunkelberger will use Romans 12, a beloved passage of scripture that Colonel Crowther quoted to his wife in one of the love letters he wrote home to Tyrone from the Civil War battle front. Almost a century and a half later, Huntingdon historian Dr. Robert Hileman has brought Colonel Crowther’s letters back to life.
Following Pastor Dunkelberger’s morning message, Mrs. Eileen Kough Mitchell will lead the audience in singing Jane Marshall’s 1980 hymn entitled What Gift Can We Bring? Tyrone Presbyterians chose to sing this hymn at the Crowther Memorial Church Service and to dedicate it to the memory of Colonel Crowther’s wife Sarah and eldest daughter Emily. Nearly 150 years ago in 1857, while Colonel Crowther served Tyrone on borough council and as Tyrone’s third mayor, Sarah and Emily Crowther exerted their energy with 11 pioneer Presbyterians to establish Tyrone Presbyterian Church. The audience will offer their gratitude for Sarah and Emily Crowther’s efforts to establish Tyrone Presbyterian Church in 1857 with these eloquent hymn lyrics: Give thanks for the past / for those who had vision / who planted and watered / so dreams could come true / now grateful we come / remembering, rejoicing / this song we can offer in honor and praise.
The Crowther memorial church service will conclude with the audience singing Julia Ward Howe’s rousing Civil War hymn – Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory. Following the benediction, the church deacons will usher the family descendants of Colonel James Crowther to the Christian education hallway, where the audience may greet them at a food and fellowship reception, hosted by members of Tyrone Presbyterian Church. Pastor Bob Dunkelberger urges all historically minded citizens to join Tyrone Presbyterians at 10:30 a.m. morning worship this Sunday, August 6. At this service, they can step back in time and give thanks for those devoted souls who have walked before them in the faith.