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Local church brings back popular chicken pies to help repair organShare |by Amanda Brubaker Staff WriterFebruary 2, 2012Mars United Presbyterian Church has reinstated one tradition to save another. After a decade-long absence, the Mars U.P. Church resumed selling chicken pies in order to raise money to refurbish a half-century old pipe organ, fundraiser chairperson Dale Roos said.Roos said the Mars U.P. chicken pies were famous throughout the area, and reviving them might just be the push the church needs to revive the organ.Starting in 1970-71, the church began the annual sale of chicken pies under the supervision of the Reverend R.B. McCrumb.This tradition lasted for more than 30 years, until the early 90s, when the sale was temporarily halted. The pies consisted of light and dark meat chicken, homemade gravy and a crust made from scratch.These are different from traditional chicken pot pies, which usually contain vegetables.Historically, the chicken pie sale made more than $10,000 annually, selling about 1,000 pies a year, requiring the help of more than 70 volunteers. Orders for the pies are not simply local but would come from as far as New Castle and downtown Pittsburgh."We've updated the sale and adjusted it for what we need it to be," Roos said."The pipe organ committee has been creative with new events, but with the chicken pie sale, it has such a long history and so many people know about it, it could make a bigger splash in our fundraising efforts."The pipe organ committee at the church has already made a dent in getting funds for the organ, raising about one-third of the estimated $160,000 needed to refurbish the instrument. The pipe organ was originally given to the church by the Trees family, of Treesdale Orchards, sometime during the 1950s, the Rev. Nathan Esser said.While the pipe organ is still functional, the problem is rapidly decaying movable pieces of the organ that were not properly maintained decades ago – now wreaking havoc on the over-all quality of the instrument."It is a loved instrument in the church," Esser said."It is important to the people, especially here where we have a strong sense of tradition. At the heart of the project to restore the organ is worship, which is central to any church. If it were lost, it would take away from that sense of tradition and worship."For Esser, fundraisers like this are vital to supporting the needs of local churches and helps to keep the doors open. He says these types of events also help the community by creating opportunities for fellowship and fun.Orders for chicken pies will be taken until Sunday. They cost $12 and are frozen when picked up.To order a chicken pie, call 724-625-3005.Customers will be contacted during the month of February with instructions on when to pick up their pies.