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Celebrating 150 years

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NARROWSBURG, NY — Karen Brauser opened what looked like a torpedo casing and eased out an assortment of documents, programs and banners. She handed them to emcee Arthur Hawker, who identified them and read aloud portions of each. The cylinder was a time capsule “buried” in the attic of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church hall since 1994, the 125th anniversary year of its founding. The time capsule opening on March 3 is the first of several events planned for this year, the church’s 150th anniversary.

Among the documents was the September 8, 1994 print edition of The River Reporter. The front page headline announced, “Sullivan holds second hearing on proposal for legislature.” But county government isn’t all that has changed since publication of that issue; Hawker quipped, “I see the price of a newspaper back then was 60 cents.”

“Who was here in ’94?” asked Hawker. Hands went up from about half the group. “Whose parents were still alive then?” he asked next. Eyes welled with tears as most of the same people raised their hands.

The documents showed that, in 1994, the congregation marked its 125-year milestone with a river trip/picnic barbecue. “Let’s do that again,” somebody suggested.

“We can’t do a river trip,” said Brauser, anniversary committee chair. “The church’s liability insurance doesn’t cover them anymore.” But an anniversary picnic was not ruled out.

Founded by German immigrants in 1869, St. Paul’s Church celebrated its centennial the same year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and Sullivan County hosted the original Woodstock Festival. It will share its 150th anniversary with Woodstock’s 50th anniversary; quite possibly the two events will be forever intertwined for St. Paul’s members, who may attend together at least one of this summer’s Woodstock commemorative events at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

The main event, however, will be a commemorative worship service to be held on September 15 at 10:30 a.m., followed at 1 p.m. by a formal dinner at Woodloch Pines Resort. All former church members, their families and friends are invited to attend the service.

For more information about the anniversary celebration events, see St. Paul’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/st.pauls.narrowsburg or call the church at 845/252-3919.

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