After visiting the Flight 93 National Memorial yesterday, we drove to Mt. Pleasant, PA, to the Laurelville Mennonite Church Center (LMCC), our residence for the next 6 days and nights. We are here to participate in the Road Scholar Bicycling on the Great Allegheny Passage in the Laurel Highlands.
As participants trickled in, registration materials were distributed, dinner was served, and a meeting of introductions and discussion of the week’s activities followed. Meanwhile, bicycles were loaded in a cargo trailer and on top of the shuttle van. We spent the rest of the evening getting acquainted with the other participants.
|LMCC Lodging for the week|
|Bicycle are loaded on top of the shuttle van|
This particular Road Scholar program features a 5-day bicycle ride of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP). The GAP stretches 150 miles across beautiful scenery in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The GAP is a 150 mile Rails-to-Trails rail trail extending from Cumberland, Maryland, to Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. It uses abandoned Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, Union Railroad, and the Western Maryland Railway.
LMCC was founded in 1943 by a small group of Mennonites, wanting to create a wholesome place for Mennonite youth to spend their leisure time—a new phenomenon created as Mennonites began moving off of farms – in a way that would “mean the most to them physically, spiritually, and otherwise.” From its inception, Laurelville hosted non-Mennonite groups on-site as well. In the early years, there were only a few families or non-Mennonite Christian groups using Laurelville facilities, but this ministry boomed in the 80s and 90s and currently makes up approximately 80% of Laurelville’s business. We found that as best as could be determined, modern Mennonites are very much like other protestant churches, as opposed to the Old Order Mennonites.