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Tyrone Presbyterians to celebrate the journey of 150 years

For the 79 members of Tyrone Presbyterian Church, their journey of 150 years began in the summer of 1857, when eleven pioneer Presbyterians gathered at the corner of Logan Avenue and Thirteenth Street to build their First Church Building. Constructed of wood on land donated by the Lyon Shorb Company, this church building contained two floors and cost a total of $3,500. Before erecting their first church building, these hearty Presbyterians had worshipped on 12th Street, near the railroad tracks, in a temple loaned to them by the United Brethren Church (now Christ United Methodist Church). Once they commenced construction of their first house of worship, the Lower Spruce Creek Presbyterian Church gave Tyrone Presbyterians $625 in seed money for their new edifice. Although Huntingdon Presbytery hinted that this Tyrone enterprise ultimately could become “Preacher John Elliot’s Folly,” these 11 faithful Presbyterian Christians established a church whose ministry, mission, music and message would influence Central Pennsylvania and the larger world for the next century and a half.
The Early Ministry Of Tyrone Presbyterian Church
By 1865, The Early Ministry Of Tyrone Presbyterian Church included preaching by Supply Pastors, Missionaries, and Lay Preachers at Sabbath Worship. In 1865, which also marked The Close Of The Civil War and The Death Of Abraham Lincoln, Tyrone Presbyterians separated from The Lutherans nearby, and established their own Sunday School, as well as Separate Mid-Week Prayer Services. Church Diaries lovingly indicate that, in the absence of A Paid Staff, Church Members “cleaned the building, built the fires, and rang the bell.” These Church Members proved so faithful in their Christian Commitment that by 1882, The Membership Roster had grown to 323 people.
The Emerging Mission Of Tyrone Presbyterian Church
In 1882, The Construction of their Second Brick Church on the same Logan Avenue site energized The Emerging Mission Of Tyrone Presbyterian Church. Designed by Philadelphia Architect Isaac Pursell and built by Tyrone Contractor W. F. Henderson for a total cost of $18,000, this Red Brick Church boasted an Akron-Style Sanctuary with Curved Balcony along three walls, Gas Lit Chandeliers, Lecture Room, Parlour, Library, Stained Glass Windows dedicated to Deceased Elders, and A Water-Powered Pipe Organ. On 18 March 1883, Tyrone Presbyterians dedicated this building free of debt by raising $9,333.00 during An Inspiring Sunday Morning Church Dedication Service. In 1891, Mission-Minded Presbyterians enlarged this Brick Building at a cost of $13,000. In 1894, Presbyterians enhanced their Church Campus with a $5,200 Church Manse or Parsonage, built next door to their Brick House Of Worship.
With this Remarkable Building Program completed, Presbyterians poised themselves for A Church Mission that would reach into East Tyrone, to Pemberton, to Wyoming, to The Philippines, to China, to Africa, and to India. From 1897 to 1954, Presbyterians operated A Sunday School Mission, christened “The Chapel,” in what is now Grace Baptist Church, along Columbia Avenue. After World War I, Tyrone Presbyterians pioneered A Sunday School Mission for Slovak, Italian, and Irish Immigrants in A Concrete Company Building at Pemberton, just beyond Birmingham’s Grier School. For fifty years, they supported A Missionary To India named Vitto. In 1920, Tyrone Presbyterians inaugurated Three Week Summer Vacation Bible School and Their Youngsters supported World Mission by saving pennies in blue Reverend John R. Davies Mission Jugs. As Tyrone roared through The 1920’s, The Presbyterian Church had flourished to embrace 1,200 Members. Twenty years later, it would have 1,400 Members. In 1926, these Enthusiastic Members voted to adjourn to Tyrone ‘s Wilson Theatre for Worship, and to The Y.M.C.A. for Sunday School, while Martin Orr Contractors demolished their Second Brick Building and began preparations to build A New Church on The Foundation Of The Old.
The Enhancing Music Of Tyrone Presbyterian Church
By 1927, 1200 Tyrone Presbyterians had expanded Their Presence in The Community by completing the present Greystone Gothic House Of Worship, from which The Enhancing Church Music would echo for the next Eighty Years. Built by Martin Orr Contractors of Columbus, Ohio at A Total Cost Of $200,000, this Early Gothic Building contained Bedford Limestone Walls and Antique European Stained Glass Windows. It also boasted A Cathedral Sanctuary and Balcony, Sunday School Assembly Room with Sky-Lights, A Parlour with A Fireplace, A Fellowship Hall with Cafeteria Style Kitchen, Scout Rooms, A Walk In Office Safe, a $17,000 Moller Pipe Organ of Three Keyboards and 1,500 Pipes, and A 1935 Baldwin Baby Grand Piano, donated by Philanthropist Adda Gray. In 1931, Church Members decided to replace their Professional Quartet with The Westminster Adult Choir to lead The Choral Music at both Morning and Evening Worship. Blest with A Powerful Pipe Organ, Grand Piano, and Marvelous Sanctuary Acoustics, in 1934 Tyrone Presbyterian Church hosted The Performance Of Mendelssohn’s Oratorio Elijah and Handel’s Oratorio Messiah by The Tyrone Choral Society, under The Leadership Of Church Organist Eugene H. Dayton.
During The Era after World War II, Music Minded Presbyterians enhanced their Choir Program to include The Westminster Choristers, The Junior Choir, The Intermediate Choir, and The Westminster Adult Choir. During The 1970’s, each Palm Sunday, Tyrone Presbyterian Church hosted The Tyrone Community Chorus Concerts. In this New Century, First Presbyterian Church serves as home to The Allegheny Chorale. For their Centennial Celebration in 1957, when The Church numbered 1,075 Members, Presbyterians installed $5,000 Sanctuary Chandeliers, remodeled The Church Kitchen for $4,500, and purchased A Bronze Sanctuary Cross, now housed in The Church Chapel. In 1969, they replaced their Fifty Year Old Moller Pipe Organ with an $18,000 Baldwin Electronic Organ of Three Keyboards, Nine Speaker Cabinets, and 45 Stops. In The 1990’s even with A Declining Membership, Tyrone Presbyterians embarked on Seven Costly Enhancement Programs to their Third House Of Worship: Paved Back Parking Lot, A Shingle Roof to replace The Tile Roof, Outside Stone-Work Repair and Repointing, A $55,000 Steam Hot Water Furnace With Seven Miniature Boilers, A Kitchen Stove and Dishwasher, A $13,000 Schulmerich Tower Carillon, and A $65,000 Allen Digital Computer Organ. In this New Century, The Ten Church Elders recently voted to install A $15,000 Chair Lift, in order to make The Restrooms and The Fellowship Hall of their Eighty Year Old Gothic Building Handicap Accessible.
The Eternal Message Of Tyrone Presbyterian Church
On The Eve Of Their 150th Church Anniversary, The 79 Remaining Tyrone Presbyterians continue to carry The Eternal Message Of The Church, beyond The Stone Walls of their building into A Community, crying for The Gospel Of Christ. Across 150 Years Of Tyrone Presbyterian Church History, members have conveyed The Eternal Message Of The Church, via Three Different Church Publications. From 1895 to 1930, a weekly Presbyterian Newspaper entitled The Tyrone Endeavorer provided Church News to a rapidly expanding membership. From 1939 to 1944, a Monthly Magazine entitled First Church Life supplied The Eternal Message, during The Dark Days Of World War II. From 1965 to 2007, A Monthly Newsletter entitled The Window has offered A Mirror into The Mission of this Small Town Mainline Church.
Although The Circling Years have come and gone, Tyrone Presbyterians still proclaim God’s Eternal Message Of Salvation through Diverse Programs such as Weekly Meals On Wheels For Senior Citizens, Mariner’s Monthly Dinners, Sister’s Bible Study Seminars, Sunday Bible Classes For Youngsters and Senior Citizens, Adult and Children’s Choirs, Summer Guest Vocalists, Week Day Pre-School, Camp Krisland and Joshua House Scholarships, A Yearly Bazaar and Quilt Auction, as well as The Haiti Mission Of Rodney and Sharon Babe. Though Tyrone Presbyterians know not what The Future holds, still they gain Strength For Today and Bright Hopes For Tomorrow in these 1990 Lyrics by British Poet Fred Pratt Green — “What Changes, Challenges, and Tests, The Church Of Christ Survives / How rich The Records left to us of Dedicated Lives / Still must The Church proclaim to all, that Now and Evermore / The House Of God is Open House, and Christ The Open Door!”

At 10:30 a.m. worship on Sunday, July 22, the 79 members of Tyrone Presbyterian Church will celebrate their Journey Of 150 Years with A Service Of Music And The Spoken Word, followed by a catered dinner in the church fellowship hall.
Long-time church member and tenor Larrie Derman will sing I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked. Church member and Hollidaysburg Middle School Band Director Kris Laird will sing At The Turning Of The Narrow Road, composed in 1963 by a son of the church named Dr. Samuel T. Lewis III. Laird also will provide trumpet accompaniment for the three congregational hymns.
Long-time church organist Richard Merryman will perform Festival Toccata, a popular Organ Showpiece in Tyrone, often performed by Wilson Theatre Organist and Former Presbyterian Organist Eugene Dayton. General Presbyter Joy Kaufmann will offer Insights From Huntingdon Presbytery. Retired Methodist Minister Norman Huff will serve as Liturgist For The Service.
Dr. Richard K. Giffen, a Retired Executive Presbyter living in South Carolina, will deliver The 150th Anniversary Address entitled Harvesting Righteousness. Before his career as An Executive Presbyter in New Jersey, Dr. Giffen served as Pastor Of The Tyrone Church from 1963 until 1971. Reverend Giffen’s Tyrone Secretary Betty Rodgers will re-introduce the guest speaker to the congregation.
Following the service of music and the spoken word, the audience will adjourn to fellowship hall, where they will enjoy a dinner catered by Scott Collinash. Church members urge anyone with associations to Tyrone Presbyterian Church over the years to Come Celebrate Their Journey Of 150 Years at 10:30 a.m. worship on Sunday, July 22.