4984 Ridge Road
East Williamson, NY 14449
      Call us today at 315-589-2871
9:30-10:30am: Explore
10:30-10:55am: Fellowship
11:00am-12:15pm: Worship

 

Our Mission  To lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Our History

Our Local Church

The East Williamson Free Methodist Church was established in 1886. By 1887, the sanctuary was built and consisted of what is currently our fellowship hall and kitchen. There was no basement under it until the 1950's. The need for Sunday School classrooms and storage resulted in the space being dug out from under the sanctuary (all hand work) and the basement finished off for use. Over the years the space was equipped with folding walls for multi-use flexibility. During those early years, the church also bought the house directly to the east of the church for additional classroom space. A connecting hall was built between the church and the 'church house'. Millie Roosa and Sue (Roosa) Dennie remember living in the upstairs apartment in the church house, before the church used the entire building. District meetings were held here in the 1960's.

The next major expansion occurred in the late 1970's and into the early 1980's with the removal of the parsonage, located directly south of the sanctuary. A stairway (and the only bathroom) existed at the south end of the building leading from the sanctuary outside to the parsonage next door. That parsonage was sold and actually moved to a new location. The 'church house' was converted back to a parsonage, and remodeled. Milliman Hall, including the new nursery, pastor's study, and bathrooms, was built adjacent to the south end stairway of the 'old' sanctuary, and named after Clara Milliman, grandmother of Steve Dennie and Brenda (Dennie) Dixon. As a second phase in that expansion plan, we built the existing sanctuary. That construction project utilized the knowledge, skill, and labor, all voluntary, of church members. Notably, most church people were involved in the project in some or multiple ways, so it really was built in love, with much vision, prayer, and effort, always with the purpose of sharing Christ with those within reach. It is a tangible evidence of faith that the project was accomplished completely debt free!

That building project has undergone various stages of change. A pipe organ was removed from a church in Newark and reassembled in the sanctuary. With the emergence of a worship team and the use of electric keyboard, the organ was eventually removed by another church for use. A choir loft at the side of the platform was in the original design. Pews have been removed from the back row(s) to accommodate the sound booth addition, at about the same time as the projection/screen were installed.

During the 1980's the church purchased a home on Main Street, Williamson, as a parsonage (P1), and the church house was re-converted to church use. A second parsonage (P2) was purchased, the house directly west of the church across the street, to house the associate pastor(s). This also gave us additional parking. When not used as a parsonage, the house has been used for Sunday School and youth group.

The church has experienced attendance fluctuation over the years, from over 200 to less than 80. The facilities have been adjusted to meet the needs of serving people. The schedule and programs have changed from Sunday School followed by Sunday Worship service, Sunday evening Bible study and hymn sing, and Wednesday evening prayer service. Over the years the opportunities have included children's programs for holidays, CMC (children's missionary club) CYC (for children), FMY (for youth), WMF (women's missionary fellowship), MISPHA (adults fellowship), small groups, adult choir, teen choir, and children's musical productions, Susquehanna Conference CE (Christian Education), Leadership Training and Church Growth seminars, Billy Graham Crusade staffing, Adams Center Camp and Wildwood Camp programs, district hymn sings, district worship celebrations, women's/men's/youth/leadership retreats, Kid's Church, VBS, Houghton College summer teams, Soccer Camp, simulcasts such as 40-Days of Purpose and as many types of decor, programs and administration as there were people involved.

The facility use of space changed often to accommodate needs and ideas. For example, there have been three locations for the pastor study, six relocations of the library, seven re-configurations of the nurseries, adult classes have been held in every corner of the property (even in the basement!). Teen rooms have been upstairs, downstairs, across the street, in the upstairs of a building on Main Street, Williamson, and even in the upstairs rooms at the Mercantile at one point. Some dividing walls have been put in and out of the same location multiple times, though in various designs!

There have been six pastors since the 1960's (Elton Smith Sr., Paul Show, Lloyd Payne, Jon Horton (asst. pastors Dave Banks; Ken Rodgers), Dwayne Brothers, Peter Kadar and Tedd Smith). The denomination has changed positively from the policy of changing pastors often (about every three years) and without notification, to a position of recognizing the validity of longevity for a pastor in a healthy church situation, and the importance of church member input for new appointments.

The Free Methodist denomination depended significantly on the conference system of support until the mid 1990's. The denomination structure had churches geographically grouped as a conference with a superintendent, and several geographically grouped conferences/superintendents coordinated by a bishop. That changed with the WAVE, primarily as less involvement by superintendents (who now have 3-4 conferences to supervise) with the individual churches. Mostly an administrational change, the effects have filtered down to local churches. There is a higher responsibility for the local church to be accountable, to be more independent while still within a denominational structure.

Visioning, evaluating, and changing are part of the positive heritage of the East Williamson Free Methodist Church. Those are only positive because of the steadfastness of purpose in them. The purpose being to share Christ with all the 'world' within reach of this church, and to be supportive in extending beyond our reach however possible.

God has honored the work of this church, at times in miraculous ways. He has also allowed this church family to be humbled, in order to become stronger in purpose. The church has grown on the foundation built by many who came, loved God and believed in His plan for this precise church. It has only happened in accordance with the obedience of the members, pastors, and leaders of the church to God's purpose. There have been times of struggle, when God slowed progress, and the church had to make difficult decisions and changes. Steve Green wrote, "So, may all who come behind us find us faithful..." This church has grasped the concept that it is not enough to be faith-filled and faithful for our own sake. He has made it clear that while the facilities can enhance ministry opportunities, it is people committed to His plan that make this organization His Church.

 

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