Dickerson fsu

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Dickerson fsu - •jr L. EUGENE GOODKICR fttVday flaw jJUff...
•jr L. EUGENE GOODKICR fttVday flaw jJUff Writer FROSTBURG — No one' . aliv« ROW knows where the free blacks of Frostburg first worshipped. Even the history books appear mistaken on that point. Whenever or wherever -it was, it certainly preceded President Lincoln's Emancipation Emancipation Proclamation. Today, more than a 130 years after the establishment establishment of the first black congregation of free Negros, the black church is still serving Frostburg through, tha Dickerson African Met ho dist Episcopal Church. But for how much longer no one really knows. "It keeps every penny we've got to keep the church going," says Mrs. Dorothy Davis, who remembers being a little girl when the cornerstone of the present church was laid back in 1927. According to Mrs. Davis, the congregation has become so small in recent years that "I can tell who's in church by hearing the sound of their footsteps ~, V J»CHURCH MEMBERS Mr*. 'W* MM«Dorothy Davis, left, «ad II liJGwrgU Wsitei lUed before t*« i I I a«ri«*n»l P^Pit of the Dicker** I J|AME church. coming through the door /or Sunday service," she states. The Dickerson AME Church has seen its congregation dwindle from about 50 active members two decades ago to 11 today. Despite the decline, the church still carries 51 members on its discipline for AME general conference purposes. Although the black population of Alliegany County's Mountain City-is just under 100, the congregation on Sunday rarely tops the 20 mark. "I guess the most we've ever had in the church at one time in recent years was the day Curt Harper got married," said Mrs. Georgia Waites, one the church's two oldest members. members. Mr. Harper, a fourth grada Maacher ** CUB| - berland's P«nn Avenue School, ?i«;«(th^ church's youngest misMber. "' The one-room church, which touches the property line on three sides of its 26 by 40-foot lot at the corner Of, Pine and Mechanic Streets, has not had a resident pastor for over 20 years, but is served today by Rev. Leroy'' -Jackson, recently o r d a i nedi?'*-' co m mu t er " pastor from Seabrook, Md., for both Dickerson and r Metropolitan AME church. "Most of the black people who ' would come to our church attend services at any of the older churches in the 'city," declared Mrs ; Davis. "And most of the black students at Frostburg State College don't even know we exist. All we want is a few more active members to keep the church going." "We're keeping it alive now only by the sweat of our brow," chimes Mrs. Waites, who shares the title of eldest member at age 71 with Mrs. Garnell Stamper. "And the cost of keeping up the church is going up every ' Fights For Survival . . The 'Dickerson church, until about 10 years ago, wai twie:cf the two black con;• con;• gregatiopt in Frostb'urg -- -However, under "the Methodist Methodist Church unification a decade ago, the John Wesiley Methodist Episcopal Church }. joined, the congregation of ; the First United Methodist Ch'urch. According to the church's cornerstone, the con- Xgregation had its beginning beginning in : the year 1845.. It is believed that the church was located on Ormand Street then, known as Hall's, fehapel after its pastor, Rev. R. A. Hall. But then, it might not have been because no one remembers. The first preacher was also believed to be Jeffrey, Golden, a freed slave, while another freed slave. Pastor.. Rev. Thomas W. Henry was forced to flee Frostburg Jbecause of his connection "with the famous Harpers Ferry abolitionist John Brown. The present wooden, frame church had Withstood . 95 Frostburg winters;' ^although Mrs. Davis admits that the winds in the winter "shake the lights and .rattle the windows a bit." The light fixtures them. them. selves attest to another era, LATICIA (t*> aad Tim*hy Sh«ltoa an U* churc^'t (uturt being etched glass ..chandeliers.' ..chandeliers.' 1 But the stained glass window^ , is another story, albeit a sad one. "We.;had beau-tiful stained glass windows in here at one time," Mrs. .Waites declared," but it seems that we'can't keep, up with the beer' cans that keep flying through them."_ ;Y . . : Pine Street .^ a harrovir alley next to the cSurch, and-' •the five parking spaces on Vchurch property across the ..alley is a hay.en for young "beer drinkers. • ." ' : .And the financial upkeep moiints elsewhere, too. Twice in' ithe past couple years' the church's gas meter has been knocked off its pipes in front bydrivers, while just ., last weeK a : concrete block was jarred loose on the foundation from y«t another ptrker acrost the street "We "We have been able fa ke«p the church servant to date," said Mn Waites, "but the way things keep, getting broken around here, we won't be able to keep our Mads above w|ter.V ", ,-; -;,, It was an ancestor to one of- the neighbors who donated the ground onjvhich the church stands today. It was the grandfather (Thomas Mitchell SrV) of Mervin Ed^af'dsv ~,\n ho donated the'grodhd back i» 1^81. In fact, .the repairs of ,the'past year, might even, equal the total cost, of the ' Church as it was built 95 year&ago. ". Except for the piano (which- has been -in th,e church as long as ; Mrs. Davis can remember), a new gas heating system and the pews (which came, from the Eckhart'^Mfthodist Church), the church' interior is the.sarne-as it was built for $800 back in 1881. ,; . Bother active members of the ^church are Othellus Waites, Delores Waites, Darlene Shelton, Lois Harper, Josephine Harper, David A. Davis, Susan Randolph and Mary Jane Coleman. ;, :

Clipped from Cumberland Sunday Times20 Jun 1976, SunPage 34

Cumberland Sunday Times (Cumberland, Maryland)20 Jun 1976, SunPage 34
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  • Dickerson fsu

    lbowman – 02 Feb 2016

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