A Johnstown church is now celebrating 60 years of ministry and community work.

St. James Missionary Baptist Church, located in the Hornerstown section of the city, is honoring its milestone with several special events open to the entire public.

“I think it’s phenomenal that they have survived and stayed together and have been a vital part of the community for 60 years,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Ralph Johnson. “The main goal is trying to encourage folks to live better and to move forward.

“This 60th celebration is giving us an opportunity to look back and see how we originally came together and the things that have happened down through the years.”

An anniversary celebration committee was formed a few years ago to prepare for the celebration. The committee has already held a brunch, pie sale and cake social this year to kick-off the anniversary.

Upcoming events include a Gospel Fall Festival from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday. The free event will feature live entertainment, food and craft vendors, a farmers market, and activities for people of all ages.

“For me, it’s enlightening to see that the church is still out and doing things in the community,” said anniversary celebration committee member Carmella J. Walker. “We’re looking at doing more activities for children and bringing community members together as a whole.

“And we do this all in the name of God, so it’s something very positive and fulfilling.”

Events scheduled for October include a “Heaven and Hell” dinner, which will consist of both cold and hot dishes, and a calendar party to be held at FWA Gym in downtown Johnstown.

Anniversary events will culminate on Nov. 3 as the church holds a celebration of love, grace and mercy to honor its 60th anniversary. The theme for the event is “60 years of Still Standing on the Rock.”

“We’d like for the community to celebrate with us, because had it not been for you, we would not be having a celebration of 60 years,” said Johnson, who has served as the church’s pastor for nearly 30 years. 

“Thank you for supporting us through 60 years.” 

Ronald Fisher is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @FisherSince_82.

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