COATESVILLE (October 6, 2017) – State Senator Andy Dinniman joined local officials and parishioners in marking the bicentennial of Olivet United Methodist Church in Coatesville at a celebratory event and luncheon today.

“Olivet United Methodist Church has and continues to be a beacon of hope and service in Coatesville and throughout the region,” Dinniman said. “I want to thank all of the staff and parishioners, past and present, for sowing a rich and lasting legacy here that has meant so much to so many. From providing a hot lunch to those in need every week to inspiring various ministries and missions around the world, Olivet parishioners continue to put their faith into their deeds through hard work and dutiful service.”

Pictured (from left to right): The Rev. Johnson Dondla, Pastor of Oliver United Methodist Church; Michael Givler, co-chair of Olivet’s Bicentennial Committee and chairman of its Staff Parish Relations Committee; and Senator Dinniman.

In presenting a special Senate citation commemorating the milestone event, Dinniman also reminisced about the influential activities of the church and its many parishioners of the years. He also presented and read a letter from the governor in honor of the occasion.

Friday’s event kicked off a full weekend of activities commemorating the church’s 200th anniversary, including a public open house and concert on Saturday, and a special luncheon at the Coatesville Country Club following Sunday’s services.

Patty Biffen, co-chair of Olivet’s Bicentennial Committee and Olivet Layleader, gave a thorough and detailed presentation on the church’s rich history in the Coatesville.

The Rev. Johnson Dodla, Pastor of Olivet United Methodist Church, gave a special prayer and invited the greater community to continue to be a part of Olivet’s faith and service-based efforts.

Michael Givler, co-chair of Olivet’s Bicentennial Committee and chairman of its Staff Parish Relations Committee, spoke of the parish’s legacy of commitment and involvement in the Coatesville community.

He said that although the church grew considerably over the years, the parish made a conscious decision early on not to follow others who left Coatesville.

“We could have moved, but we stayed. And we did that because we have a mission here in the city,” Givler said. “When the city prospers, we prosper. And now it’s beginning to look like we’re prospering.”

Givler was referring to work on the Third Avenue Streetscape Project, currently underway right outside the church’s doors.

This streetscape project, the first phase of revitalization work related to the new Coatesville Train Station, aims to transform Third Avenue as a gateway into the city from the new station. It includes repaving of Third Avenue and the installation of sidewalk amenities, including ADA accessibility improvements from Lincoln Highway to Fleetwood Street.

The entire project is expected to be completed in about a year.

In addition, the design work on the realignment of the station’s location on Fleetwood Street is ongoing, but the preliminary design work is complete. These designs include plans for commuter and bus access and a review of conceptual designs offering transit-oriented development projects related to the new train station.

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