A Bible given to a member of Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church more than 130 years ago has returned to the congregation.
According to an inscription in the book, the Bible was given to John Sterrett on October 17, 1886, by the Pleasant Grove Sunday School.
In the century that followed, the Bible made its way to the John C. Grey family. From there, it went to his son, and lastly, to his granddaughter, Phyllis Hardy.
She and her late husband had owned the former general store in Wakefield and knew the church well.
Hardy found the Bible when going through her late parents' belongings and knew where it should go when she began downsizing to move into a retirement community.
Last week, she speculated on how her grandparents had come to own the Bible.
"I think my grandfather was married the first time to Lydia Sterrett and he had her name put on her burial stone in the Little Britain Presbyterian Cemetery," she said.
But she doesn't know how the Bible's original owner, John Sterrett, was related to her grandfather's first wife. Nor does she know if Sterrett was a member of the Sunday School class or its teacher.
Now the Bible, a complete King James translation of the old and new testaments, is in a display box at the frame church on Fulton Township's Pilottown Rd.
"The church got a case but it was not thick enough," member Bertie Weaver said. "So we got a second one."
The Bible will join a larger one that has been at the church since it was built in 1887, a year after Skerrett received his copy.
The congregation, chartered in 1874, was founded by an itinerant minister. After meeting in members' homes, it built a chapel in nearby Happy Hollow. That chapel had no foundation and was made of rough-sawn lumber. The congregation joined Bethel and Mt. Zion in 1884 to become the Fulton Circuit.
After the current church was built, those responsible signed a large Bible that became the one to grace the church's pulpit.
Now the congregation is working on a plan to dedicate the older Bible.
"We may ask our pastor [the Rev. Dr. Garfield Greene] to dedicate it at our next homecoming service," Weaver said.
That service will be held on Sunday, October 13. A meal will follow the 11 a.m. service.