May 15, 2022
Back in the day, there was a radio personality named Paul Harvey who was famous for telling “the rest of the story,” and today we are thrilled to tell the rest of Mizpah’s story and honor the lady known as Aunt Charity Shore.
In 1895, Bethania’s pastor, Br. Edward Crosland, reported in the Wachovia Moravian that “a new line is about to be thrown out in the direction of home mission effort…and will be under the enthusiastic leadership of Br. Flavius Lash.” And so that spring, only a year after starting Alpha Chapel on the Rural Hall Rd., Flavius Lash started a Sunday School in the Wolff School House on the Tobaccoville Rd. about 2 1/2 miles north of Bethania. As I understand from family members, this location was in an area across from Bowens Rd.
Now, here’s the rest of the story. The impetus behind “throwing out the new line” came from Aunt Charity Shore who wanted a Sunday School for her grandchildren. Can’t you for a moment imagine her with her skirts swishing around her ankles, beseeching the “powers that be” for a place where her grandchildren might learn more about Jesus? But the best image is one where you imagine she is on her knees in prayer. We can’t know exactly how this came about, but we do know that without her heart for Jesus and her grandchildren, the Mizpah congregation likely would not be here today.
And so, 125 years later, many many children have learned about Jesus in this place, including many of Aunt Charity’s grandchildren, great grandchildren and even great great grandchildren that are current active members.
Today we accept this beautiful portrait contributed by Aunt Charity’s great great grandson and his family which was copied from the original.
Excerpts taken from article written by Judy Albert for this occasion.
MIZPAH TIME LINE 1895 -1993
March, 1895 – Sunday School established in Old Wolff School House
September, 1895 – One acre tract acquired
December, 1895 – 25′ x 40′ Building completed
(Building improved in 1912 & 1927)
September 13,1896 – Mizpah Moravian Church consecrated and formally organized
1897 – Organ purchased
1932 – Alpha Chapel moved from Highway 65 and placed beside the church
1933 – Additional 1/2 acre on the north and east acquired
1948 – Electric organ, additional class rooms, oak floors, etc. installed in existing structures
1951 – 1.25 acres acquired on the north side
1955 – A brick Christian Education Building completed
1962 – A parsonage constructed and soon after Mizpah became a “one-pastorate charge”
1966 – Estey pipe organ purchased from Park Road Moravian Church
1969 – 0.27 acres donated
1972 – Zimmer Pipe Organ installed
1975 – Beautiful new 350 seat brick Sanctuary completed and dedicated on January 18, 1976
Parking lot paved and grounds landscaped
1989 – A Picnic Pavilion with Playground area added
1991 – A covered handicapped entrance added
1993 – 1.25 acres donated to the east Property now totals 8.25 acres
“A new line is about to be thrown out in the direction of home mission
effort by this wide-awake congregation,” Bethania’s pastor, Br. EdwardS. Crosland, reported in the April 1895 Wachovia Moravian . “The inauguration of the new movement will be under the enthusiastic leadership of Bro. Flavius Lash.”
And so that spring, only a year after starting Alpha Chapel on the Rural Hall road, Flavius Lash commenced a Sunday school in the Wolff School House on the Tobaccoville road about 2 1/2 miles north of Bethania.
“MIZPAH,” headlined the January 1896 Wachovia Moravian , and Br.
Crosland explained, “This is the name of Bethania’s newest chapel.” By then it also had a new place of worship on land given by Thomas and Frances Stauber Moser on the aptly named Mizpah Church Road. The 25 by 40 foot building, “well finished” and “very neat,” was completed Christmas Eve 1895, a week before Mizpah’s first Christmas program on December 30.
Revival services the following summer brought a large increase of membership so that on Sunday, September 13, 1896, Bishop Edward Rondthaler consecrated the new church and formally organized the congregation as a branch of Bethania.
Very early on, Mizpah adopted a practice that its mother congregation, Bethania, used to raise funds: a lawn party or supper. At Mizpah they became “famous” events, and the practice stretched at least into the 1950’s.
Where Mizpah thrived, Alpha Chapel slowly withered. Finally in 1932 the chapel building was moved to Mizpah, where it was attached to the church to serve as Mizpah’s Sunday school and fellowship hall. That arrangement served until the 1950’s when Mizpah built a brick Sunday school building. Still growing, Mizpah got its first full-time pastor when Charles W. Fishel was called in 1963. By the 1970’s the original 1895 sanctuary had served its purpose. It was demolished to make way for a new 350-seat sanctuary with classrooms and office space, which was dedicated on
January 18, 1976.
Mizpah’s “100-year love affair” of serving the Lord continues today, following its centennial celebrations culminating on anniversary Sunday, September 10, 1996.