WYOMING — The Wyoming United Methodist Church celebrated Pentecost Sunday in a big way May 15 by welcoming new congregation members and dedicating a cross installed in front of the church.
During the service, Pastor Harriet Santos gathered the children at the front of the church to speak to them about the importance of Pentecost.
“This is the birth of the church so why don’t we sing Happy Birthday to the church?” Santos requested. The children turned to face the congregation and broke out into song.
Wyoming Methodist Church has been growing over the last four years and on Sunday, Santos inducted and welcomed seven new members: Willard, Beverly and Susan Cottrell; Emil and Janet Augustine; Melanie Piccarreta; and Pearl Johson-Stanbrook.
Santos said membership had declined prior to her arrival. Since 2013, the church has welcomed 30 new members.
“Four years ago, I came here as an interim pastor and I’m still here,” Santos said.
A major addition was the installation of a 10-foot cross, donated by church secretary Audrey Harris and her husband, Wayne. The cross was fashioned from a 50-foot Hemlock tree cut down from their property in Cascade Township, Lycoming County.
“The tree was huge and looked like it was made up of three trees that joined together,” Audrey said. “The cross was milled from the center of the tree.”
The Harris’ sons Jeff and Matthew helped with the project. Jeff cut down the tree and trimmed it down to 6-by-6-inch timbers using Matthew’s portable sawmill.
The cross was delivered to the site March 13 where it was assembled, chiseled, drilled and stained by Wayne Harris and Wayne Heck.
Nine days later, it was erected by Wayne Harris, Wayne Heck, Al Harris, Fred Bohn III and Fred Bohn IV in its permanent place in front of the church.
The dedication was to take place outside, but due to chilly, damp weather conditions, the ceremony was held inside.
Despite this, Santos believes the cross is a fitting symbol of Christianity and hopes it inspires reflection in all who pass it.
“As we look upon the cross, let us call to mind that on it Christ brought to completion his life-giving love for us, the church and for all people,” Santos said.