A Brief History of Methodism in Sherrill, NY
(Compiled by Maurie Dhondt (updated 2022)
The origin of Christ Church, United Methodist, was an open-air service held at Kenwood Park on July 1, 1911, under the leadership of Rev. Benjamin Rowe who was the pastor of the Methodist Church at Bennett’s Corners. From that meeting Rev. Rowe gained the idea and inspiration to establish a Methodist Society in this area. Permission was received for
the use of the schoolhouse on Hamilton Avenue for services every other Sunday evening. Later that year, after completion of the new Kenwood Park School, the Oneida Community gave the Society free full-time use of the old school until April l, 1912 after which rental of $10.00 per month was paid. A Sunday School was organized and its first session was held December 17, 1911 with an attendance of nine. In l915 the Society was officially incorporated and trustees were elected. In l9l6 the old-school house was purchased at a cost of $1,000 with another $3,500 it was remodeled to accommodate the growing membership. The building was dedicated with appropriate services in March 1917.
In 1917, after six years of service, Mr. Rowe was transferred to Cortland and Rev. Floyd M. Purdy was assigned to Sherrill. During the three years of Mr. Purdy's pastorate the church showed a marked and steady growth, the report at the close of the year 1920 showing 155 members. At this time another transfer of pastors brought Rev. W.S. Lyon to the pulpit in
Sherrill. With a total membership of nearly 250 and a Sunday School enrollment of over 200, the church found itself in need of more adequate facilities to meet this growing demand. A building project was launched and an intensive campaign raised some $l5,000 to start a new church building and Recreation Hall adjoining it on property donated by Oneida
Community on the corner of Park Street and Noyes Blvd. The church cornerstone was laid on Sunday, September 10, 1923, and the buildings were in use in the spring of. 1924. The total cost of the buildings was approximately $50,000.
The church became known as the Park Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Lyon continued to serve here until the winter of 1925 when he was transferred to the Brown Memorial Church in Syracuse. Three weeks later the Rev. A. H. Burnett of Minoa was appointed to the pastorate and served until 1928, Membership at this time had increased from the original 22 to340, Rev. Burnett was followed in the pastorate by Rev. DeWitt S. Hooker (l928-1929), Rev. Walter Tildesley (1929-1933), Rev. Fred Butman (1933-1937), and Rev. Howard Buies (1937-1941). In 1939, because of difficult economic conditions, a group of laymen from Park M.E. Church and Plymouth Congregational Church worked out a plan of cooperation, starting January, 1940, by which each church maintained its own property and denominational affiliations, each had its own financial structure, but services were held jointly and salaries of the pastor, organist, and choir director, as well as administrative expenses where shared equally. Services were conducted in the two churches on an alternating basis. Rev. Buies served the Sherrill Cooperating Churches until 1941.Rev. Arthur H. Burnett returned to Sherrill in 1941 and served the Cooperating Churches until Nov.1948. He was succeeded by Rev. Berl A. Lewis who resigned in 1963 after a l5 year period. Rev. Tildesley returned for one year and was replaced in June 1964 by Rev. Robert J, Thomas.
In June 1966, after 26 years, the cooperating agreement was dissolved and Rev. Thomas continued his ministry at Christ Methodist Church, the name of Park Methodist Church having been changed. In 1968, as a result of the merger of the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren denominations, the name evolved to Christ Church, United Methodist.
In July 1966 the present parsonage on Noyes Blvd. was purchased at a cost of $25,000. To complete the purchase, a 20 year mortgage of $l7,500 was executed. This debt was paid in full and the mortgage discharged in August 1971 after only five years. Rev. Thomas retired in 1980. The following pastors served since 1980: Rev. Harlow T. Doliber (1980-1989); Rev. James M Brand (1989-1994); Rev. M. Russell Lee (1994-2003); Rev. Kathleen M. Turnobole (2003-2005); Rev. James R. Darling (2005-2008); Rev. Vernon L. Lee Jr. (2008-2009); Rev Christopher Kinnell (2009-2014); Rev. Robert Kovik-Campbell (2014-2022) and our current pastor is Rev. Glen T. Hardman (2022).
Fellowship Hall, originally built as a Recreation Hall and gymnasium in 1924, was a victim of the depression of the early 1930's when funds were not available to maintain it as such. The property was rented to the Sherrill Press, a printing company owned and operated by Laverne Cross and after he built his own shop, it was occupied by the Conde Milking Machine
Company for manufacturing purposes. In World War II, it was taken over by
the United States government and made into a five-apartment house. At the conclusion of the war it was returned to the Church and in the 1950's was altered to its present general configuration.
In 1992 a major building program was completed in which Fellowship Hall was completely renovated and a new structure connecting Fellowship Hall and the Church was erected to make the building more capable of serving the needs of the congregation and community.
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