High Hill United
Methodist Church

150th Anniversary Brochure


Contributed and transcribed by Sharon Palmateer



The High Hill United Methodist Church
Hudson District North
Connecticut-New York Conference
 
Bishop....................................Rev. Ernest S. Lyght
District Superintendent.......Rev. Mark H. Chatterton
Minister..................................Rev. Paul Mengle
Organist.................................Mr. John Hallenbeck
Assistant Organist................Mr. Emil Maurer, Jr.
 
Board of Trustees
Donald Patterson
Emil Maurer, Jr.
Helen Ihde
John Wohlmaker
Margaret Mengle
Betty Xedis
 
Pastor/Parish Relations Committee
Virginia Deamer
Arlene Wohlmaker
Terrell White
Priscilla Finch
Norman Fuller
 
Committee on Nominations
Margaret Mengle
Priscilla Finch
Emil Maurer, Jr.
 
Administrative Council
Chairperson.............................................Norman Fuller
Treasurer..................................................Doris Patterson
Secretary...................................................Charlotte Fuller
Lay Leader...............................................Margaret Mengle
Membership Secretary............................Sandra Tefft
Communion Steward..............................Jeanne Kusisto
Conference Lay Delegate.......................Terrell White
Alternate Conference Lay Delegate......Helen Ihde
Sunday School Superintendent..............Helen Ihde
Treasurer of Sunday School....................Norman Fuller
Chairperson of Trustees..........................Donald Patterson
Auditor.......................................................Doris Patterson
Finance Committee...................................Treasurer, Chairman of Trustees, Chairman of Administrative Council
Lay Speaker................................................Margaret Mengle
Honorary Members at Large...................Edgar White, Hilda White
 
Members of the High Hill Church
Frances (Tiffany) Levett
Florence Ross
Virginia Deamer
Jeanne Kusisto
Jane Jung
Mary Hillenbrand
Emil Maurer, Jr.
Bonnie Poland
Kathy (Tourjee) Russell
Marilyn (Tourjee) Rositzke
Norman Fuller
Charlotte Fuller
Ruth Maurer
Donald Patterson
Doris Patterson
Karl Roeben
Florence Roeben
Michael Maurer
Cynthia Weaver
Walter Roeben
Edgar White
Linda Wilkinson
Cheryl (Loveland) Piscopo
Melissa Honey
Barbara Brown
Debra Van Gorder
Donald Fuller
Richard Eng
Kathleen Bluschke
Doris Carroll
Frank Tefft
Sandra Tefft
William Rositzke
Clinton Tefft
Jacqueline Tefft
Corrina Stegner
Laural Laganiere
Joenda Monroe
Lisa (Loveland) Farrugia
Carol (Fuller) Crosier
Christina Regula
Simone (Wood) Rivenburg
Michael Rositzke
Donald Maurer
Emil Maurer, Sr.
William Tourjee
Richard Kusisto
Nelson Hutchings
Alfreda Hutchings
Christopher Maurer
Jene'e Saul
Laurie Fuller
Lois Kanthak
Helen Ihde
Margaret Mengle
Arlene Wohlmaker
Juanita Loveland
Margaret Tourjee
Priscilla Finch
Betty Xedis
Terell White
Alma Wilkinson
 
Patrons of This Historical Brochure
 
The following individuals have contributed cheerfully to underwrite the cost of this publication.  Their encouragement is greatly appreciated and they merit your goodwill and friendship.
 
Emil Maurer, Sr.
Al & Ann Grooming and Boarding
Al and Ann Cripps
George Maurer and family
Mr. and Mrs. John Loveland
Dr. and Mrs. R. B. Wenger
Rev. Duncan and Margaret MacKenzie
David Jenkis, Catskill Animal Hospital
Earlton Hill Campground
Rev. Paul and Margaret Mengle
The Maurer Family
Carol and Jeff Crosier and Family
Catskill Enterprise Printing
Hillcrest Press
Richard and Frances McCusker
Earle and Pat Finch
Doris Caroll
Priscilla and Beth Finch
John and Arlene Wohlmaker
Laurie Fulleer
Jennie Waldron
Vosburgh's Nurseries, Inc.
Florence Roeben
John Hallenbeck and John Morgan
Norman and Charlotte Fuller
Donald Fuller
Kenneth Fuller
The Chast Family
West Athens-Limestreet Fire Co.
Ralph H. Simmons, Jr.   
Rev. and Mrs. Richard Myers
Susan and Tom Hackett
Nancy and Michael Hopper & Family
Virginia Deamer
Emil Maurer, Jr.
Terell White and Family
Donald and Doris Patterson
Francis and Lyman Levett
Alma Wilkinson
Ray's Applicance, Inc.
Sopris Funeral Home, Inc.
Hess Service Station, Catskill
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Ragaini & Family
 
Memorial Gifts
In Memory Of                                                Given By
Mr. & Mrs. Earl Teetsel                            Florence Ross
Bessie Van Valkenburgh
Helen Day Wilmer                                    Lorraine & Bob Cheeseman and family
Mary and Osmer Day                                 
Edward Sr. and Jennie Swartz                 The Swartz Family
Bertha K. Moore                                        The Dallas Family
Maureen Hutchings                                  The Hutchings Fmaily
Dean Kusisto                                              His Family
Everet Tourjee                                            Margaret Tourjee
Mabel and William R. Tourjee
Rose A. and William H. Rositzke           Marilyn and William J. Rositzke
Lea Rapp                                                     Ruth Rapp Riozzi

 

       High Hill United Methodist Church
Schoharie Turnpike, Athens, NY
Sunday, August 11, 2002 - 11:00 a.m.
Celetebrating 150 Years of Ministry!

 

  Organ Prelude.............................................Emil Maurer, Jr.
Organist....................................................John Hallenbeck
Introit........................................................................Choir
Welcome and Announcements..................Rev. Paul Mengle
Call to Worship.........................The Church in the Wildwood
Invocation.....................................Rev. Duncan Mac Kenzie
Hymn #546:  For All the Saints 

               Remembering Our Deceased Members...........Norman Fuller
Edward Sr. and Jennie Swartz        Maureen Hutchings
Bertha K. Moore                            Lea Rapp 

          Old Testament Lesson:  Psalm 100..............William Snyder
Let Us Recognize Our Visitors.......................Norman Fuller
Dedication of New Church Sign.................Rev. Paul Mengle
Anthem......................Combined Choir of Federated Church
and High Hill United Methodist Church
Joys and Concerns:  The Church Prayer....Rev. Paul Mengle
Tithes and Offerings.................................Rev. Paul Mengle
Doxology and Presentation of Gifts...........Rev. Paul Mengle
Hymn #277:  The Church's One Foundation

New Testament Lesson:  Matthew 7:21-29.....Peggy Mengle
A Good Foundation Makes for a Good Structure..........Rev. Richard Myers
Hymn #295:  Revive Us Again

         Benediction.........................................Rev. Robert Kanthak
Response:  God Be With You.....................Back of Hymnal
Organ Postlude..........................................Emil Maurer, Jr.

                    Greeters:  Pricilla Finch, Beth Finch, William Snyder

 

 150th Anniversary Committee
John and Arlene Wohlmaker
Norman and Charlotte Fuller
John Loveland
Priscilla Finch
Doris Patterson
Betty Xedis
Alma Wilkinson
Rev. Paul Mengle

Tribute to the High Hill Methodist Church - Its Hundredth Anniversary by Henry Van Valkenburgh

Born in Limestreet, in the Township of Athens, New York, November 20, 1876, my introduction to the High Hill Methodist Church was very early.

As early as age 4 I have some recognition of "old heads" of the Church.  The first pastor that stands clear in memory was Rev. Shaw, a tall, auburn haired, dignified man.  I think he served at two different periods.  He was a very effective preacher, a revivalist, and I assume the largest revivals were under him and his leadership.

As I recall, Rev. Deming succeeded Rev. Shaw, and the next pastor I recall very distinctly but not his name.

Then came Rev. G. W. Ferris, who remained five years.  I heard his first sermon which was on the text, "The path of the just is a shining light that shineth more and more until the perfect day."  He was a large man with mutton chops beard.  He had an expressive face and often became illuminated as by a heavenly light while preaching.  Rev. Price succeeded Rev. Ferris.  It was in the first revival held by Rev. Ferris that I gave my heart to Christ.  There was a large number of young people and a good number of adults won in that meeting.  Many of those have passed on but some remain.  Among those won, as I now recall, were Frank Van Valkenburgh, Elmer Van Valkenburgh, Robert Wilkinson, Will Carman and sisters, Herbert Crippin, Jake June, who lost a foot in the Battle of the Wilderness in the Civil War, and his son.

In those early days, I had the impulse to preach and while at College, the High Hill Church granted me an Exhorter's License, and when I asked for retirement three years ago, I had been in the active ministry 48 years.  The fields of this ministry was over a territory of five States, and included fields of pioneer mining camps to Country, Town and City churches.  My educations had been, though with many breaks, from the one room school at Limestreet to the Ph.D. degree of a University.

It was under Rev. Ferris that the steeple was erected on the church and the entire interior refurnished.

I can recall a large number of the "pillars" - The Underdunks (Onderdonks), Hollisters, Jumps, Perrys and on, and Thomas Gay the Class Leader.  The last night before I left the old home ties for the Southland, Thomas Gay and Brunk Day met with me in prayers, the blessing of which lingered through the years.

The High Hill church was a sacred spot in my memory and I am glad it is still active in the Master's work. It is a good example of what a small rural church can do for the country families and their boys and girls, and may the Methodist Denomination keep faith with the Country Church.

The High Hill United Methodist Church - 1852-2002

Across from the Athens Reservoir on the Schoharie Turnpike, just inside the Coxsackie line stands a small white church.  It is the High Hill United Methodist Church that has been a spiritual beacon for 150 years.  The High Hill Methodist Episcopal Church was founded on May 17, 1852, at a meeting in a one-room school in Coxsackie.  Within a month, the money was raised to build the church - $697.75 and it was completed by the members in December of 1857.  The lot upon which the High Hill United Methodist Church stands was purchased from Moses and Jane Weeks for $12.50.  The church was built in the shape of a rectangle.  In May of 1998, the High Hill United Methodist Church was placed on the Greene County Historical Registry and a plaque was placed on the front of the building.

 
Over the years, many faithful Christians have worshiped and served the church.  During the service of Pastor Ferris (1891-95) people attended the church from Catskill, Athens and Leeds.  It was during Reverend Ferris' term that the vestibule, steeple, and an extension to the pulpit were added.  New pews were put in and they are in use today.
 
The High Hill Methodist Church has been yoked with many Methodist Churches during its 150-year history.  First with Catskill; then, on a three-point charge with Leeds and South Cairo.  We have also been associated with St. Paul's Methodist Church and the Federated Church of Athens.  In 1993, the High Hill United Methodist Church became an independent church.
The church did not become the High Hill United Methodist Church until 1968 when the Methodist Church and the United Brethren Church combined, thus the name that is on the front of the Chapel.
 
Until 1954, the church was lighted with gaslights and heated with wood stoves and a wood furnace.  That year the church was wired and an oil furnace was installed.  The light fixture in the center of the church is the old gas lights wired for electricity.
 
                                                                    The Church Hall
 
The Church Hall stands still in the center of Limestreet.  The building was originally a creamery that was donated between 1915 and 1920.
 
The women of the church - The Ladies Aid, Women's Society of Christian Service, and later the United Methodist Women used it for their meetings.  Among the many activities held in the Church Hall were: elections for this area, election day dinners, fund raising dinners, rummage sales, strawberry festivals, plays and bake sales.
 
These were done by the women of the church under the leadership of presidents:  Mrs. Lamont (Millie) Van Wort and Mrs. Fred (Effie) Colwell.
 
With the building of the Memorial Chapel, the Church Hall was not needed and was sold to the highest bidders in January 1986.  At the present time, the old Church Hall is being used as a private residence.
 
                                                                    Collecting Funds
 
Due to the fact that the High Hill Methodist Church was hard-pressed for funds, in the late 1930's and early 1940's the Ladies Aid Society went from door to door on all the roads in the area on a monthly basis.  These women kept the church going in the period.
 
                                                                    Memorial Chapel
 
In the early 1960's, Mrs. Warren Travis was appointed chairman of the Commission on Christian Education (Sunday School Superintendent).  Under her leadership the Church School grew to nearly 40 pupils.  It soon became apparent that the two rooms (one in the entrance and the other in the main church) were not adequate to do a good job of teaching the children.
 
Mrs. Travis began talking about an addition to the church but nothing came of this until the matter was brought up before the Official Board in April 1964.  The Board appointed Warren Travis, a member of the Board of Trustees, to see what could be done.  Among suggestions at the time were building a room over the church, remodeling the Church Hall, and building a new building.
 
The problem was answered at an Official Board meeting in September 1964.  At this meeting Mr. Travis announced that he and Mrs. Travis would donate $10,000 towards the building and the church would raise the rest of the cost.  This offer provided the inspiration needed and immediately the wheels started turning.  Plans were presented to the District Board of Location and Buildings of the Methodist Church, which met in Kingston, October 7th.  The plans were approved and on the same day, Reverend George P. Werner sent a communication to our pastor giving the church permission to build their building.  Mr. and Mrs. William H. Rositzke donated a parcel of land.  The building was built in 1964 and 1965.
 
The Memorial Chapel of the High Hill Methodist Church was dedicated on Sunday, May 24, 1965.  The District Superintendent of the Hudson North District, the Reverend George Werner, conducted the Service of Dedication.  The Chapel is used for Sunday School, dinners meetings and other church functions.
 
                                                                Major Improvements
 
In the last fifty years, many major improvements have been done to the facilities of the High Hill United Methodist Church and Chapel.  Among these are: paneled church walls, Spancrete (concrete) sidewalks, insulated church, four ceiling fans, siding on both buildings, new deck in front of chapel, kitchen improvements, repaired stained glass windows in church, handicapped entrance, three new doors in chapel and a new Methodist sign.
 
These are the major improvements.  As all members realize, the list of improvements and repairs could be much longer.
 
                                                                Leaving Their Mark
 
Over the years, many of the church members have left their mark on the church...some marks may never be found.  In 1998, when the stained glass windows were repaired, we found the following names inside a window casing:  T. G. Goulds,  Capt. H. T. Mill, Lieut. A. J. Goulds and P. Craft put on in 1893 along with Coxsackie.  Alfred Finch and Earl Teetsel put their names on the casing in 1967.
 
On a wooden door in the basement is Isador Collier - November 9, 1907.
 
                                                                Serving The Church
 
The records of the High Hill United Methodist Church were lost when the buildings of Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Duncan were destroyed by fire.  This is an attempt to give credit to a group of people that present church members owe a lot to.  Among the families that served from 1920-1960 were the Duncans, Van Valkenburghs (especially Bessie), Steeles, Wilkinsons, Sagers, Perrys, Lampmans, Days, Youmans, Van Worts, Borgardus, Hotchkisses, Kniffins, Meads, Tiffanys, Teetsels, Warrens, Hollisters, Carrolls, Couses, Colwells, Finches, Swartzs, Staceys, Tourjees, Rositzkes and Jeunes.  We may have left families out due to a lack of knowledge of people of this area but will add names upon request.
 
                                                            Ministers of the Past 50 Years
 
After the Athens Church became federated, the two churches shared several ministers, both Methodist and Baptist.  Ernest Habel followed George Skaggs.  Mr. Habel, who served for 15 years, was highly respected in the community.  It was while he was here that the chapel was built.
 
For a year after Mr. Habel left, the church struggled having to supply speakers who were only here for an hour on Sunday.
 
In 1969, Richard Myers came fresh from the seminary.  During his four years, the church was very active.  The recreation program, a joint youth fellowship, the Easter Sunday sunrise service and the carrying of the cross from Athens to High Hill were among the activities.  A number of pancake suppers were chaired by Warren Travis.
 
Thomas Hackett was also just out of the seminary in 1973.  Tom was the first to serve as Chaplain for the West-Athens Limestreet Fire Company.  Since he was interested in world hunger, he prepared and served a series of delicious vegetarian meals to the congregation.  A number of family potluck suppers with programs were held.
 
In 1977, David Mutt became pastor.  Auctions were held during this time.  He started the 11 o'clock Christmas Eve Service.  Unfortunately, he left in 1979.
 
Dr. Paul Allen ably served as a supply minister until 1980 when Robert Bishop came.
 
Bob Bishop, with his wife Gracia who was also an ordained minister, touched many people.  He was especially adaptive at working with children.  He spent Friday nights playing games at the recreation program.  A favorite game was "Fruit Basket Turnovers".  He went with the Sunday School Christmas caroling.
 
Russell Sargent followed.  Although he was retired, he had boundless energy.  Since he and his wife had been missionaries, the service included a mission minute.  A member of the Sunday School read the scriptures each Sunday and often gave a short speech about what was learned in Sunday School.
 
Although Duncan Mac Kenzie was only with us for a short time, he became loved by the congregation.
 
Frank Hoffman graciously donated his services.  The new hymnals were purchased during this time.
 
In 1993, High Hill decided to become an independent church.  Pastor Bob Kanthak helped us to adjust to our new status.  During his time at High Hill, the Thanksgiving Eve service and the SHARE program were started.  The first homecoming was held in 1993.
 
Pastor Paul Mengle has served in the remaining years before our 150th anniversary.  He has impressed us with his Christian spirit.  Pew Bibles were purchased in memory of his first wife, Betty.  The annual Church Picnic was started.  Several religious weekends were held.
 
                                                                Summary
 
The church has had its ups and downs spiritually during the past 150 years of its existence, doing God's work in the community.
 
At the present time, we have over 60 members on the roll of the High Hill United Methodist Church.  We have an adult Sunday School and a regular Sunday School class.  Plans are being made to organize a youth group.  The Pastor of the church since August 1994 is the Reverend Paul Mengle.
 
 
List of Itinierant Preachers and Pastors
N. O. Lent.................................1857-1859
C. M. Eggleston.......................1859-1860
G. Woodstock..........................1860
William F. Gould....................1867
Ezra B. Pierce...........................1876-1877
William H. Peters....................1877-1879
John McConnell.......................1879-1881
A. Gaylord................................1881-1882
J. L. Ketcham............................1882 (finished out year)
W. W. Shaw..............................1883-1885
C. G. Deming...........................1886-1888
C. A. Howells...........................1889-1890
G. W. Ferris..............................1891-1895
L. G. Price.................................1896-1899
E. S. Potter................................1899-1901
T. R. Wallace............................1902-1903
H. I. Hoag.................................Dec. 1903-1906
P. St. John Coleman.................1907-1912
G. C. Morse...............................1912-1914
Joseph Spencer.........................1914-1917
E. Thompson............................1918 (six months)
Paul Carley...............................Feb 1919
William Willcocks...................1919-1922
G. O. Wilsey.............................1922-1933
G. C. Hawley............................1933-1936
C. W. Smith...............................1936-1941
Charles G. Gorse......................1939-1941
George H. Cooley....................1941-1946
Fred H. Deming........................Supplied until Sept. 1947
George R. Skaggs.....................,Sept 1947-1953
Ernest Habel..............................1953-1968
Supply Preachers......................1968-1969
Richard Myers...........................1969-1973
Thomas Hackett........................1973-1977
David Mutt...............................,.1977-1979
Paul Allen (Supply).................,.1979-1980
Robert Bishop.............................1980-1986
Russell Sargent...........................1986-1988
Duncan MacKenzie....................1987 (Jan., Feb., Mar.)
Frank Hoffman............................1988-1993
Robert Kanthak...........................1993-Aug 1994
Paul Mengle.................................Aug 1994-present

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