Old Rehoboth Represents at 2017 History Day
Old Rehoboth, the oldest protestant church building west of the Alleghenies, represented The United Methodist Church at History Day at the Capitol, Thursday, March 9.
Anita Tracy speaks to two state legislators about Rehoboth
The History Day event was held at the West Virginia State Capitol Complex during the first session of the 83rd West Virginia Legislature. West Virginia History Day is officially designated by the West Virginia Archives and History Commission as a special day to recognize the state’s rich and varied history.
Rehoboth Church is the only West Virginia site among the 41 heritage landmarks of The United Methodist Church. Edward Keenan, a Roman Catholic from Ireland, gave the land for the Rehoboth Church building that was completed in June of 1786. It was in 1960 that Rehoboth was designated a historic shrine of The Methodist Church, with the museum starting construction just a few years later. To this day, Rehoboth stands as a piece of our past that invites old friends and newcomers alike to bask in its peaceful setting.
*To read a detailed history of Rehoboth, click here.
Anita Tracy, who has served as curator and caretaker for Rehoboth for three years this July, is truly passionate about the ministry of the church and museum.
"The church isn't always represented at these types of events, and we're proud to be here for the first time. We're here to let people know what Christianity is and what the Methodist churches are doing in our communities."
"We love to have people come visit, it's such a peaceful, lovely place. I'd hate for anyone to miss out on this! In West Virginia, we don't always know what's in the next county and this is a great opportunity for folks to come see what Monroe County has to offer. "
Old Rehoboth property, photo courtesy of Visit Monroe County Pinterest Page
"There's such rich history at Rehoboth. Actually, Francis Asbury was there preaching five times," Tracy said.
When you come to Rehoboth for a guided tour, or simply to walk around and enjoy the scenery, Anita will be there to greet you and offer an exciting narrative to bring the history of the church to life.
Quite often, you will find her leading a tour in a 1790's costume that she sewed herself!
Beth Belcher (left), distant relative of Edward Keenan, visited the Rehoboth booth at History Day to reminisce on her family's gift to the church.
"What's so special about our ministry is that it's truly ecumenical. We have people from Catholic churches, Baptist churches, all kinds, coming for retreats and to enjoy our facility - including Friday Family Fun Night!"
The Methodist church has such a huge presence in our beautiful state,
and Old Rehoboth allows visitors to tap into that heritage.
So what's in the future for Old Rehoboth? Anita says she hopes to raise enough funds to re-open the Amphitheater on site and use that to further their ministry.
"When I first started here at Rehoboth, we had 700 people come through and visit. We're now up to 1,400 in a year. It's growing leaps and bounds!"
The Rehoboth Church and Museum is open April through October, Thursday through Sunday.
Rehoboth offers a place of peace and prayer as folks come and fellowship from all over.
For more information, questions, history, or to plan a visit: contact Anita Tracy at 304-772-3518