New Castle News

September 10, 2013

Church, congregant both 100

Dan Irwin
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — First Church of God turns 100 this month. Not suprisingly, no congregation member can lay claim to remembering its  entire history.

Dorothy Bromley, though, comes as close as anyone.

Mrs. Bromley will mark her 101st birthday in December, making her the matriarch of four generations of her family who attend the 12 W. Euclid Ave. church.

“I was saved when I was 21, and I’ve gone ever since,” she said. “Well, I was out of town for four years and I went to another church then. I was glad to come back. It wasn’t the same.”

Mrs. Bromley taught Sunday school for 50 years at First Church of God – mostly the primary group, she said – and recalls when the congregation built the original section of its present facility, from 1952 to ’53.

“I saw that church getting built and all,” she said. “I don’t know if I helped, but my husband did. I always did try to help where I could, though. More people should. If it’s going to be your church, then you need to help.”

Today, though, Mrs. Bromley’s visits to First Church of God are limited mostly to Sunday morning services: “I’m an old lady now,” she laughed.

Others don’t seem to be so sure.

“She has such a sharp memory, and she’s always on top of things,” said the Rev. Bill Hunley, pastor. “We raised some money to do some repairs outside the church, and when I went to visit her once, she said ‘By the way, I want to ask you something. We’re raising money for repairs to the church, and I haven’t seen a thing done yet. Why?’ ”

In the presence of such determination, Hunley did what any God-fearing gentleman and minister would do – he threw someone else under the bus. In this case, it was Mrs. Bromley’s nephew.

“I said, ‘You’ll have to talk to the chairman of the trustees, Jim Bromley,” Hunley smiled. “And she said, ‘Well, I certainly will!’ ”

“Oh, she gets after Jim,” added Mary Lou Garver, Mrs. Bromley’s daughter. “She has a mind of her own.”

For his part, Jim Bromley does his best to toe the line.

“My Aunt Dorothy’s sister died a few months ago, and she (Mrs. Bromley) wanted to make a donation to the church in her memory,” he said. “She did that two weeks ago. Last Sunday, she asked me what I’m doing with the money.

“Believe me, that will be at the top of the agenda.”

If Mrs. Bromley still keeps a close eye on the welfare of the church, it’s only because it has become her family, just as much as her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“She’s an amazing person,” Hunley said. “She loves this church, loves God and it’s amazing how she’s involved and in tune with what’s going on.”

Indeed, Mrs. Bromley says “the people” are what has kept her coming back to First Church of God decade after decade, as well as the fact that “I feel they have the truth.”

Still, over the course of 100 years, there are bound to be some changes that are less popular with congregation members than others, and Mrs. Bromley admits that she is no exception.

“The singing for one thing; the music,” she said, referring to the church’s Sunday service that blends contemporary and traditional worship music. “It’s not the same. I miss the old-time hymns. But I still go every Sunday – pretty near.

“And I’ve loved most of the pastors. I’ve gotten along with all of them and cooperated, but some pastors you just love more than others. But I never have wanted to leave. I think I’m good for the rest of my time.”