{mosimage}For more than 200 years, MacPherson Presbyterian Church has been a part of the bedrock that supports the faithful in Cumberland County.
    And now, the church is looking to dig deep down into that holy shale and mine a tradition that dates back to the 1940s and 1950s — the ingathering.
    According to the written history of MacPherson Presbyterian Church, “An ingathering was a major undertaking used by many churches, particularly in the 1940s and ‘50s as a means of raising money. A combination of a latter day bazaar in which handmade crafts were sold at community feasts.”
    On Saturday, Oct. 18, the church will bring back those festive days of fellowship and good, honest commerce. On that day, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., bazaar items will be sold, including cakes, candy, pies, frozen soups, “MacPherson’s Own” homemade spaghetti sauce and vegetable soup, pick-up or take-out dinners will be available from 4-6 p.m., while sit-down dinners will be at the church from 6-7 p.m. Tickets are being sold in advance at the church office.
    Also on that day, there will be live music — with contemporary Christian and bluegrass from 1-5 p.m. — and an auction at 7 p.m.; auction items will include a beach house weekend, a china place setting, quilts and other items.
    All funds raised will go toward missions and the building program.
    More than the tangible results, the church also hopes to get back to the old ways of the ingathering which bound the community together in the past — a past that MacPherson Presbyterian Church member Ann Welch remembers well.
    “When I was a child, the farmers brought in cotton, hay and their wives made canned goods and crocheted and knitted ... All types of crafts,” said Welch. “My father donated a decrepit mule, for which Joe McGrath paid a handsome $16. And he fed it so much that it floundered and died in a couple of weeks. We’re trying to get it back to what it was.”
    Not only will the ingathering feed the church’s coffers, it will offer the community a bit of history about the church — a church founded in 1800 and full of religious artifacts,  from a crystal and tin communion set to an old sound board used to amplify the preacher’s words in the days before microphones and sound systems.
    The church’s rich history extends to the graveyard, where church member Bill Kern said contains the resting places for many war veterans, including a number of Civil War vets. Among the markers is a huge, ornate marker for Confederate army hero Lt. Gen. Theophilis Hunter Holmes. resting side-by-side with Holmes is his wife, whom Kern said Holmes had exhumed and transferred at great expense from her original grave site in Governor’s Island, N.Y..
    “It’s a large stone,” said Kern. “After the war people didn’t have a lot of money, so he must’ve thought a lot of her.”
    Kern said Holmes paid his wife the ultimate compliment with the tombstone’s epitaph, which reads: “She Made Her Husband a Christian.”
    Just the kind of sentiment MacPherson Presbyterian Church hopes to renew with its Old Fashioned Ingathering.

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