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Final Services Held for Scranton Churches

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Dozens sat in silence as hymns echoed inside the First Christian Church in Scranton.

The day's attendance was much larger than usual as folks came to say goodbye to the house of God at its final service.

"Unfortunately, you know, we can't keep it open. It's hard when there's only 10 to 15 people showing up on a weekly basis," said Jim Widenor.

The church was established in 1833. After years of struggling to keep the lights on, the congregation has decided to close.

"It really is a sad thing but in a way, I've outlived it and so I'm hoping that someone will enjoy it," said Jane Widenor.

Jim Widenor tells Newswatch 16 that the First Christian Church on North Main Avenue will now be used by the Lackawanna River Conservancy Association.

"It's going to be used for community service so it's not going to waste," said Widenor.

St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Scranton's south side held it's last service on the same day. It is closing for financial reasons too.

The fate of its building that has held church services since 1885 is still unknown.

Pastor Scott Miller says the closing of smaller churches throughout the area is a sign of the times.

"It used to be that the church was the center of your social life for your community and then you know, church was everything, and now it's not as important to people as it used to be, unfortunately," said Pastor Miller.

Members of St. Paul's say they will miss the connection to the congregation.

"Some of these bigger churches, you go in and out, you know, and here it's nice and friendly and pray for each other when there's a problem," said Art Ferrari of Scranton.

"God will send us somewhere else, I know he will and a lot of prayers have been answered in this church and it's just a sad day for everybody," said Nancy Prall of Scranton.

Members of the First Christian Church have been invited to follow their pastor to the United Methodist Church in Chinchilla for services.

St. Paul's congregation plans to continue worship at Elm Park United Methodist Church.

1 Comment

  • donny hud43987

    … as the city of Scranton continues to crumble.. it’s really sad what it has become after what it used to be years ago until all the wrong hands, dirty hands!! Got involved

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