Contact: Don Rittle Sr., 717-866-7320
Subject: “Little White Church” September 18, 2016 Service
MOUNT AETNA, Berks County --- The Little White Church will be holding its semi-annual service on Sunday, September 18th at 2:30 p.m., announces Barbara Rinehart, president. Built prior to the Civil War, this historic structure has been preserved by a group of dedicated volunteers who maintain it and conduct two special services every year. The service held on May 15th this year had a large turnout of supporters that filled most of the straight-backed pews. For some, it was their first time back to the church in many decades. These semi-annual services help to raise funds for the building’s upkeep. The September message will be delivered by Keith Shearer, senior pastor at New Beginnings Grace Brethren Church, Myerstown. Playing the church organ will be Rita Geesaman, who is the organist at New Beginnings and whose family roots are tied to the village of Mount Aetna. Refreshments will be served following the service.
Since the May 2016 service, the Mount Aetna U.B. Church Preservation Association has been hard at work maintaining the building and applying to have their non-profit organization recognized as a 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service in order for donations to be tax deductible. The May event helped to raise more than $1,000 in contributions.
Built in 1848, the church was the site for religious services for many generations after its founding as Trinity United Brethren Church. The building stopped being used for regular services in 1969. It was saved from demolition in 1976 by a small group of friends. The Mount Aetna U. B. Church Preservation Association was organized in 1978.
Don Rittle, who currently serves on the Board of the non-profit organization that has preserved the Little White Church, said they are still looking for volunteers who are interested in helping to sustain efforts to preserve this part of Berks County’s history. Help is needed to clean, paint, research, and promote the role the Little White Church played in the community. It will celebrate 170 years in 2018.
Available for purchase after the September 18th service will be a document compiled by the Tulpehocken Settlement Historical Society which is an extensive record of those buried in the church cemetery. In addition, a commemorative ornament featuring photographs of the church will be a fund-raising item for anyone interested in donating.
For anyone interested in making a donation but unable to attend the service on September 18th, contributions can be to Mrs. Barbara Rinehart, 19 Glenwood Drive, Myerstown, PA. Checks should be made payable to Mount Aetna U. B. Church Preservation Association. The church is located in the village of Mt. Aetna along Route 501. For more information about the September event or to volunteer, contact Don Rittle Sr. at 717-866-7320.