History of Liverpool First United Methodist Church
WE ARE CELEBRATING 200 YEARS in 2020!
In 1820, eleven persons formed a "Methodist Society" in Liverpool. This small group, with those who joined them, met in homes until about 1836, when they began to worship in the Union building which stood in Johnson Park surrounded by a cemetery. The lower story was used for the public school and the upper story for a meeting room, which was open to people of all denominations.
The religious needs of the Society were supplied by circuit riders, the courageous and dedicated preachers who traveled by horseback to spread the Word of God to the Methodist societies located in the towns and wilderness areas of early America. They met with each society as often as possible.
In 1841, the Methodists purchased the Union building after the other denominations built churches of their own, and moved it to a site on Second Street where it stood until 1994. The male members of the society resolved to be called the First Methodist Episcopal Society of Liverpool. Rev. Joseph H. Lamb became the first resident minister of the society.
The society built a new church in 1856 on Oswego Street, which is the front brick portion of the present sanctuary. During 1872-1873, the edifice was completely renovated when meeting rooms, a library, and a kitchen/dining room were added to the rear of the church. In the sanctuary and narthex, eight beautiful stained glass windows were installed, each with a religious symbol at the top: Burning Bush, Descending Dove, Chalice, Ark of the Covenant, Lamb of God, Crown, Open Bible, and The Cross.
In 1877, our pastors assumed the responsibility of ministering to the members of the Church at Cold Spring (also known as White's Chapel) at the intersection of Route 370 and Doyle Road. This association between the two churches continued for more than forty years.
Needs of our local church and concerns for women and children in this country and abroad were the forces behind the formation of our early women's organizations. The Ladies' Aid Society was organized in 1853, the Woman's Home Missionary Society in 1892, and the Woman's Foreign Missionary in the early 1930s.
The church celebrated its centennial in 1920. An expanding membership and Church School enrollment created the need to build an Educational Wing in 1952. Ten years later it was enlarged and renamed the Fellowship Hall. The sanctuary was also enlarged and two more stained glass windows were installed, with symbols representing the Hand of God and Sheaves of Wheat. The Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ was a gift from a member in 1958. When the parsonage was demolished in 1979, a park area was created on the site for the Bell Memorial.
In 1995, the church celebrated its 175th anniversary of service to the Liverpool community. Building renovations completed in 2003 allow for more gatherings for worship and fellowship than ever before, and the kitchen renovation completed in 2008 provides even greater opportunities for fellowship and fundraising.