UMT to celebrate 40 years on hill with free car show, festival

By Audrey Stanton-Smith
Beckley, WV – Though many might refer to a 40th birthday as an “over the hill” celebration, one local church is using it as an “On the Hill” celebration, and the public is invited.
United Methodist Temple, 201 Templeview Drive in Beckley, is planning a “40 Years on the Hill”
event May 6 and 7, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 132-year-old church’s move to its
current hilltop location. A full day of free events is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, including a
(rain or shine) car show, family games, music and dance performances, food, pickleball games,
and more.
The day begins with a 10 a.m. prayer walk, followed by a car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and
live music from New River Jazz beginning at 11:30. Pickleball, under the direction of longtime
Beckley basketball coach Dave Barksdale, kicks off at 11 a.m., at The Place, and Mayor Robert
Rappold is expected to read a proclamation to commemorate the event at noon.
A bounce house, cornhole, and other games and kids’ crafts will take place throughout the day,
and hot dog lunches will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Additional performers include the Karen Fama dancers at 1:05 p.m., and David Shrewsbury, a
professional musician and former United Methodist Temple member now living in Boston,
Mass., at 12:05 p.m.
Church member and car show organizer Sam Longanacre said car owners are welcome to
participate in the show without being members of AACC or other car show clubs. They should
simply show up for registration beginning at 9 a.m., and pay the $10 entry fee. Drivers will
receive coffee and donuts, lunch, access to all activities, and be eligible for trophies and door
Activities continue until 2:30 p.m., when the children’s choir will perform a special spring musical
followed by an ice cream social and cake walk.
Organizers are hopeful the event will draw not only church friends and the public but former
church members and clergy who have moved away.
Choir Director Daniel Spurgeon said he’s hopeful former choir members and musicians will
attend and participate in a special reunion choir. They’ll be rehearsing on May 6 at 7 p.m., and

again Sunday morning, May 7, at 9:30 to prepare for a performance during 10:30 a.m. worship
in the sanctuary. (Attendance at both rehearsals is not mandatory. For more reunion choir
information, call Daniel Spurgeon at 304-252-6213.)
Sunday activities include Sunday School at 9 a.m., worship at 10:30 a.m., coffee, photo and
memorabilia displays, a group photo, celebration luncheon at The Place, and a pipe organ
recital following the luncheon.
For more event information, call 304-252-6213, or visit for additional
information about United Methodist Temple.