The Newport community and the Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church is a blend of young and old. Seven generations have knelt at the church altar over a 169 years since its founding in 1850. The church has at times reflected the societal norms and changes and similarly has made the effort to truly be a sanctuary as society has experienced the peaks and valleys of difficult times. The church was in existence at the time of the Civil War and was actually in the line of fire as Federal and Confederate troops exchanged gunfire from the ridge lines over the Village of Newport. The church witnessed a major earthquake in 1897, a fire that destroyed most of the village in 1902, and major wars that tested the citizenry of Newport. The same bell that has tolled for funerals has also called the members to worship or signaled the celebration of holy matrimony. In the annals of the Newport community and the Newport-Mt. Olivet church, the church bell standing as a sentinel has witnessed the sublime, the mundane and the extra-ordinary. It was present when ministers filled their saddle bags to care for their parishioners and others and has recently witnessed filled backpacks being distributed to those in need.
In summary, we celebrate our heritage to help us understand ourselves, to understand our identities and our connections. We celebrate to honor those who went before us. We realize that we stand on broad shoulders of those who paved a way for us and to them we offer our appreciation. We celebrate because our spiritual ancestors had good ideas, brave attempts and, in some cases, failures–and we learned from them. They were real people who ministered to others and relied on God’s grace to help them through. We celebrate because we want to share the good news and preserve the heritage of the people of Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church.