With on average 100 members in attendance every week, Mount Olive might look small
on the outside but it packs a warm and welcoming church family on the inside.
Thomas W. Moore
You would never know this man works a full time job, separate from his Pastoral duties, but it's true. Our part-time Pastor is no such thing. Pastor Tom works full time for the church and full time for Galliker's and we couldn't be more proud and honored to have him at Mount Olive United Methodist.
Little is known of the early history of the Mt. Olive church, as there are very few records and they are sketch. Records show that a deed was filed in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds, at Ebensburg on September 18, 1873, by Austin Crum, Peter Burnett, and Christ Allenbaugh, trustees of the Mt. Olive Brethren Church.
In early years, Mr. Olive was a member of the Cambria Circuit, with the pastor traveling between churches. When the parsonage was built at Sidman, Mt. Olive contributed to the cost. From records, we have established our youth groups have been active and supported many charitable causes.
In 1903, the original building was torn down. A new building was erected between 1903 and 1904. A cornerstone, inscribed "Mt. Olive United Brethren in Christ" was laid on May 29, 1904. The board of trustees at the time consisted of Mrs. Jennie Strayer, Stephen Haddon, Henry Coleman, and Sherman Crum.
On February 2, 1905, Stephen and Clara Haddon gave the church some additional land for the sum of $1.00.
There was a time from about 1924-1934, when the church was closed. During this time, the members went to Sidman E.U.B. church and their names were placed on the records there. In 1934, because of a revival of interest, because few members were attending the services at the Sidman church, and also because a good frame building was available, services were again held at Mt. Olive. The church has been growing as the years go by.
In 1946, The United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical church met in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to merge and form the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
The church was kept in fairly good condition over the years and in 1953 a remodeling program was started. The roof was raised, a cinder retaining wall was removed and replaced with a concrete block foundation. A basement addition was put on the eastern side of the building and it was planned that at a later date, Sunday school rooms could be built on top of the addition. A new door and flue were also added. All of this construction totaled approximately $2,094.00. All of the labor was voluntary except the actual raising of the building. A new cornerstone was laid on June 7, 1953 with W.G. Hawk D.D., Conference Superintendent, presiding. The cornerstone was inscribed "Mt. Olive Church U.B. 1904 rebuilt E.U.B. 1953".
In 1954, the Pringle Hill Cemetary Association put their abandoned church building up for bid. The Mt. Olive church bid $100 and all other interested parties withdrew their bids adn let us have it. Volunteer labor was used to dismantle the church and, under the supervision of Stanley Adams, a retired building contractor, the lumber was used to construct Sunday School rooms over the basement addition.
Before this work was begun, the church had three windows on each side and two each on the front and back. A door was cut into the Sunday School rooms and another door at the back of the sanctuary to the basement without going outside. All labor was voluntary except for the plastering of the addition and openings where windows were removed in the sanctuary. Rev. M. R. Tyson was named pastor.
In October, 1962, the trustees began a redecorating program. The wallpaper in the sanctuary was removed, the walls and ceilings were painted. The wainscoting was covered with an oak patterned plywood, the window frames were painted and grained an oak color. An altar, a new pulpit, and lectern were built. The church now has a divided chancel, with the choir loft enclosed. The altar platform was widened by two feet on each side. A dossal cloth was made and donated, and new lectern and pulpit scarves were made. The chairs on the platform were reupholstered. All the work was done by members of the congregation, except for the painting of the ceiling and walls. Trustees were Clair Wilson, Thomas Adams, Glenn Miller, Merle Wilson, Lawrence Crum, Jason Hess, and Ivan Ross. Rev. William G. Griffith was the pastor.
A re-dedication service for the Mt. Olive church sanctuary was held January 20, 1963 at the 11 a.m. service. The Rev. Clyde Dietrich, D.D., Conference Superintendent presided and delivered the morning message. In 1965, Jack Day was hired to tear off the wooden basement entrance and build a new one of concrete blocks. The sidewalk was repaired and doors hung. Trustees were: Thomas Adams, Glenn Miller, Ivan Ross, Waide Ross, Clair Wilson, and Merle Wilson.
When the church building was raised and the new foundation laid in 1953, it was so constructed as to allow for brick casing of the church at a later time. In August of 1966, after much prayerful planning by the Local Conference and board of Trustees, congregational picnic was held at the Mt. Olive Church Grove and it was voted to allow the trustees to borrow up to $10,000 and brick case the church. The bricks were purchased from Adams Supply Co., in the fall of 1966. Actual work was not begun until May of 1967. The contractor was Leroy Shrift of New Germany. The building was completely brick encased, including the inside walls of the basement entrance. A new flue, bulletin board, and also an outside furnace room entrance were constructed.
The basement restrooms were completed and the carpentry, painting, landscaping, and plumbing were done by members of the congregation. The trustees were: Thomas Adams, Lawrence Crum, Glenn Miller, Ivan Ross, Waide Ross, and Merle Wilson.
In October, 1978, the church parking lot was paved, and in December of that year, a drop-ceiling and new sanctuary lights were installed in the church. Between February and March of 1980, wall to wall carpeting was installed throughout the sanctuary and Sunday School rooms. Rev. Norman J. Nightingale was pastor.
In July, 1981, new shingles were put on the church roof. In 1982, a remodeling was done on the basement kitchen, along with purchasing a new refrigerator and two stoves. Rev. Jack Reaugh, Sr. was the pastor.
In 1984, three sets of steel doors were purchased, painted and installed on teh three outside front entrances of the church. A new front porch and steps were constructed, along with a porch roof over the front entrance. The sidewalks were also repaired. A re-dedication services was held on September 16, 1984 at the morning worship service. Rev. Olivia E. Graham was the pastor.
It was decided by the Administrative Board to have the Mt. Olive church incorporated. Therefore, on September 12, 1984, we became "The Mt. Olive United Methodist Church, Inc." The trustees at the time were: Donald Eppley, Gerald Ross, Patsy Senft, Richard Eppley, Arlene Adams, Merle Wilson, Gerry Wilson, and Brian Wilson.
In 1988, a handicap ramp and roof were constructed, leading into the Sunday School rooms. A re-dedication services for this addition was held on September 25, 1988. The pastor at the time was Rev. Olivia Graham.
In November 1990, ceiling fans were installed in the sanctuary. In 1995, an organ was donated to the church, and was dedicated on September 10, 1995. Rev. Jeffrey Popson was the pastor.
In 2001 and 2002, renovations to the communion table, lectern, altar, and cabinet for the sound system, also wall to wall carpeting was installed in the Sanctuary and Sunday School rooms. The dossal cloth was removed and a beautiful window was revealed. Walls and ceiling were painted in the chancel area, along with new flooring also in the choir area. This work was all done with volunteer labor. The cost was $25,510.00. The Trustees at the time were Merle Wilson, Waide Ross, Clair Wilson, Ken Turgeon, Meade Bailey, and David Lehman Sr.
Dedication Service was held on March 4, 2001 by District Superintendent Jaime Potter-Miller. The Social Room in the basement was renovated with new windows, a new kitchen was installed, with new appliances, and wall to wall carpeting. The cost of the project was $13,924.00 with all volunteer labor except for the carpeting.
Over the years of the church's history, Mt. Olive was more often than not part of a "Change" - with the pastor being responsible for several churches at the same time. In February, 1995, it was determined that the charge of Beaverdale, Mt. Oliev was no longer in the best interest of either church. Under the direction of the District Superintendent, Rev. Roger Rulong, the charge of Beaverdale/Mt. Olive was dissolved. At this time of reconfiguration, an interim pastor, Rev. Paul H. Scruton, was appointed to serve the Mt. Olive church on a part-time basis.
After determining that Mt. Olive would remain separate and support a part-time pastor, Rev. Norman Nightingale, retired pastor, agreed to serve the people of Mt. Olive for a year, beginning July 1995. This was a year of growth and revitalization for Mt. Olive.
Under the direction of District Superintendent, Rev. Jaime Potter-Miller, Thomas W. Moore was asked to serve the Mt. Olive Church as a part-time pastor beginning July 1996. This was Pastor Moore's first assignment. He completed necessary requirements to receive his license during the first year at Mt. Olive, and completed his schooling leading towards full-time ministry. Pastor Moore has accepted and faced his new challenges wholeheartedly and with great enthusiasm. Mt. Olive is thriving under his prayerful leadership.
In early 2004, a chairlift was purchased and presented to the church in memory of Gertrude (Haddon) Coleman Wirfel, by her family. This chairlift enables anyone with a handicap or disability to be able to go downstairs to the church social rooms and restrooms. In another effort to be in compliance with State codes, when the two basement restrooms were remodeled in 2004, one was made wheelchair accessible.
Additional improvements were made at the church in 2005. The entire parking lot was paved, a storage shed was purchased and placed in back of the church for storage of lawn equipment, ladders, and other equipment. The stationary room dividers in the Sunday School wing of the church were removed, the carpeting was replaced and portable partitions were purchased to make the large room more versatile. With this change, upholstered folding chairs were also purchased and serve as additional seating when the main sanctuary is full. Portable partitions were also purchased to divide Sunday school classes. in the church social rooms.
In 2006, purchases were made to improve the sound system in the sanctuary. This system enables the pastor's message to be taped and delivered to shut-ins in the community. On recommendations that the present furnace was no longer operating efficiently, a new oil furnace was installed during the summer of 2006. While the opportunity presented itself, a central air conditioning unit was purchased at teh same time. This added greatly to the comfort in the church during teh hot summer months. A projection and DVD system were also purchased for teh Sunday School and church. A family movie night was held to kick-off the use of this equipment, and plans were underway to have speical event once a month. In the fall of 2006 new proch posts and white vinyl railing were installed on the front porch.
Than annual Vacation bible School was conducted by Child Evangelism Fellowship under the direction of Beth Bowersox in 2005 and 2006. Mt. Olive also participates (in conjunction with the Dunlo UMC) in God Squad. Children of all ages travel to the Dunlo UMC and join with their children for bible lessons, crafts, and refreshments. Mount Olive also contributes each month to this joint venture.
The Women's Fellowship Group conducted fundraisers with the goal of sending children to church camp. In 2006, enough money was raised to send fourteen children to Camp Allegheny at no cost to their families. This has carried on over the years and each year fundraisers are held for the "Camping Fund" and Mt. Olive is able to send our young members to Camp Allegheny at no cost to their familes.
We realize that the time, talents, money and prayers of all of our members over the years were necessary for these projects to be completed. We are thankful for each one.