Freehold  Congregational
Christian Church

100th Sanctuary Anniversary
1854 – 1954
August 20 – 21 – 22, 1954
Freehold, New York


Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin from the church booklet found in the files of the Durham Center Museum


Ladies’ Aid Society
Of the
Freehold Congregational Christian Church

"There is nothing so kingly as kindness and nothing so royal as truth."

As far as can be ascertained from the records still extant, it appears that the Ladies’ Aid Society of the Freehold Christian Church was organized in either 1881 or 1882 during the pastorate of the Reverend A. J. Abbott. The first meeting of which there is any record met at the home of Mrs. Leonard Vincent, evidently still and organizational meeting in as much as a constitutional committee reported, with its recommendations being accepted and recorded as the first constitution.

History

The Christian Church of Freehold, New York was organized when, on the twenty-second of August, 1812, the seven charter members met to form a Christian Society under the guidance of Elder Jasper Hazen, who served the congregation as its first pastor until 1816. To accommodate the scattered congregation, services were held in Freehold, Medusa, South Westerlo, and in several other villages until, in 1832, when the congregation numbered over one thousand, separate churches were organized in South Westerlo, Medusa, Medway and Stephensville, with the church in Freehold being recognized as the mother church.

On September the twelfth, 1822, "Perkins King and his wife, Polly, and De Alanson King and his wife, Sarah," deeded to "Deacons Matthew Williams and Walter Secor and their successors in the Society called Christian all that parcel of land in the town of Greenville butted and bounded in on the South by the Athens Turnpike, thence running North-west seven rods, thence East six rods, thence South seven rods, thence West six rods to the place of beginning, consisting of a rood and two rods be the same more or less’ on the condition that "the deacons and their successors build and maintain on said described piece of land a meeting-house for the worship of God."

It was on this lot that the present Sanctuary was raised during the month of September, 1854, under the general supervision of James H. Hood who was assisted by Edgar Jennings and Hiland Lusk, the black walnut work on the interior of the edifice can be attributed to the influence of the master builder as the other churches and public buildings constructed under his direction show a striking similarity in this respect. The dedication of the Sanctuary, which took place on first of November, 1854, with Elder Fay of New York preaching the sermon, is to be considered the consummate physical achievement of the forty year pastorate, extending from 1816 to 1856, of Elder John Spoor. In December of the following year, 1855, Mrs. Clough of New York presented the church its first communion service, the sterling silver service presently being displayed in the Sanctuary.

In 1890, during the pastorate of the Reverend R. O. Allen, in response to the demands of a vigorous and growing congregation, the vestry was constructed and furnished, largely by the Ladies’ Aid Society, in order to accommodate the manifold social activities the Society was at this time sponsoring.

The Sanctuary underwent its first major renovation in the spring of 1902, during the ministry of the Reverend A. C. Hacke, with the installation of the memorial stained glass windows, one being given by Mr. and Mrs. C. R. Lacy, the others in memory of Yeomans Haight, Calvin and Alice Mygatt, Jotham Place, Mrs. John Jones, and Hannah and Leonard Vincent, being the outstanding feature of the undertaking. The windows behind the pulpit were given at this time by Mr. and Mrs. John A. Spoor in memory of Elder John Spoor and his wife, Amanda Alden, while, in 1904, also during the pastorate of Mr. Hacke, the spire previously surmounting the belfry was replaced by the metallic cross, also a gift from Mr. Spoor, presently occupying that position. It was also during this pastorate that Mrs. John A. Spoor presented to the church the Bible now in the pulpit and the Ladies’ Aid Society supplied copies of the "Christian Hymnary" for the pews. In 1905, during the ministry of I. L. Peck the first hot air furnace was installed in the cellar.

Early in the second pastorate of the Reverend A. C. Youmans, the church acquired the individual communion service presently in use, retiring Mrs. Clough’s gift. In 1915, also during this pastorate, a gas lighting system, to replace the kerosene lamps then in use, was installed in the Sanctuary. Less than ten years later, in 1923, during the ministry of the Reverend E. F. Mellott, this system was replaced by electricity. It was at this time that the then sixty-nine year-old chandelier, now one hundred, was removed in order to avoid the expense wiring it. In 1926, also during Mr. Mellott’s pastorate, the intent features this time being the installation of the new oak pews and the laying of a new floor. A year later, in 1927, the church kitchen, now being enlarged, was erected and furnished by the Ladies’ Aid Society.

One of the first events contingent to the physical property of the church during the twenty-one year pastorate of the Reverend Sion M. Lynam, which is second only to that of Elder Spoor in terms of length, was the acquisition, in 1930, of copies of the "Hymnal for Young People" for the Sunday School. Later, during this pastorate, the glass covered bulletin board in the rear of the Sanctuary was given in memory of Lawrence Phinney while other gifts included the presentation of the American and the Christian Flags presently flanking the pulpit, the former having been given by Mrs. Anna Marrow in 1942, the latter by Mr. Deremus in 1943. It was also during this period that a new furnace, the second to be installed in this edifice, was acquired and that "The Pilgrim Hymnal" was placed in the pews through individual subscription, while the convenience and utility of the church kitchen were augmented through the acquisition, by the Ladies’ Aid Society, of new stoves and a drilled well on the premises. The years 1947 and 1948, which saw the consummation of these latter events, were also marked by the redecoration of the interior of the Sanctuary and of the Vestry, the presentation, by Deacon and Mrs. A. D. Welling of Bibles to be placed in the pews, and by the acquisition of the new Hammond organ. The intentions and the monetary contributions of the children of the Lynam pastorate culminated, in 1949, in the purchase of the silver baptismal font and the oak pedestal upon which it stands while it was also in 1949 that the Sunday School was supplied with the hymnal, "Exalt His Name," and the Ladies’ Aid Society made its first acquisition of dishes of the new pattern.

In 1951, during the ministry of the Reverends Roland M. and Lois H. Wendell, gowns were purchased for the senior choir, while, largely through the efforts of Mr. Wendell, a junior choir was organized and the services of Mr. Leigh Falkey, as choir director, were secured. Mr. and Mrs. Wendell, in 1952, in memory of the former’s mother, presented the Memorial Altar located under the Oak Tree in the church yard which has contributed so greatly to the popularity of the Oak Tree Vesper Services commenced in 1951. It was also in 1952 that Mr. and Mrs. Clifton Schofield gave, in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Schofield, the two brass vases presently used in the pulpit, while, in 1953, still during this all too brief ministry, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Simpkins presented, as a testimony to the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Simpkins, the altar cross now upon the Communion table immediately below the pulpit. During this pastorate, even as during the present ministry of the Reverend G. Stanley Keast, the Ladies’ Aid Society has continued to acquire dishes of the new pattern. In 1954, the first full year of Mr. Keast’s pastorate, the kitchen has been enlarged and extensively renovated while other facilities greatly increasing the efficiency and the operational convenience of the edifice have been installed.

Throughout the history of the church, there have been twenty-seven pastorates, shared by an equal number of ministers, Dr. Youmans having ministered to the congregation twice, with the Reverends Mr. and Mrs. Wendell serving as co-pastors, all but one of whom preached in this Sanctuary.

Ministers Of This Church

Jasper Hazen

A. J. Abbott

John Spoor

J. F. Morgan

J. R. Hoag

R. O. Allen

J. G. Allen

Frazer Metzger

Henry Brown

A. C. Youmans

Philip Couchman

A. C. Hacke

J. G. Noble

Ira L. Peck

Chester Covill

Benjamin Smith

J. D. Lawyer

F. J. Zink

Mr. Southwick

A. C. Youmans

Elias Jones

Edwin F. Mellott

O. F. Ingoldsbie

Sion M. Lynam

Menzo Borthwick

Roland M. and Lois H. Wendell

G. Stanley Keast

 

 


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