Central United Methodist Church
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Endicott, New York
History of Central United Methodist Church

 

The earliest foundations of the Methodist Church in America were not magnificent buildings, but pioneer circuit-riding preachers who carried faith, hope, and prayer to the isolated settlements of this fledgling nation’s interior. They brought books, culture, and the message of the Wesleyan Movement. Services were held wherever people would gather; in rough board schoolhouses, private homes, taverns, and even barns.  

In 1838 Union Corners consisted of wooded wilderness and a few, scattered houses. Like today, people needed fellowship with each other and a life-transforming relationship with God. From its earliest days, central United Methodist Church has striven to provide a place for people to gather, and to challenge people’s faith to grow. It has been a place for people to support one another, and to mourn and rejoice with each other.  

On November 6, 1838, “The First Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Union Corners” was incorporated. It was a society without a building, and was part of the Union Circuit; which comprised the societies of Union Corners, Campville, Whittemore Hill, Boswell Hill, Centerville, Hooper, Oak Hill, Maine, Nanticoke Springs, and the settlements known as Dutch, Stone, and Mcintyre.  

On March 21, 1842, a meeting of the Union Corners Society, as presided over by the Reverend Levi Pitts, was held at the District #3 schoolhouse. By now there was need for a building. It cost $1,100, and stood on the northwest corner of what is now the intersection of Union and Liberty. A plaque in the base of the present signboard marks the site. The building was eventually sold to Mr. George LeBaron and used as a mercantile establishment for many years.  

Between 1871 and 1872 a second building was erected under contract with I. V. Whittemore. It cost $12,090 and was distinguished by its tall, slender spire. This, however, proved to be quite costly, as the needle-like spire attracted several direct lightning strikes. This edifice stood on the corner of Union and Nanticoke. The mortgage on this building was paid in 1879.  

On September 28, 1885, a service of dedication was held for the installation of a big, beautiful-toned, 1350 pound bell in the reduced height spire. The bell was a gift of Dr. W. W. Whitney, a former trustee. It was manufactured by the Clinton H. Menceley Company, and is still in use today.  

The first parsonage was built in 1858 at a cost of $1,090. In 1899 the present parsonage was built by A. E. Pierson at a cost of $2,000. Iin 1927 the brick veneer was added.  

By 1926 the congregation had outgrown its second building. The next year the church structure was moved eastward along Union Street – toward Liberty – and then rotated 90 degrees. A new brick, gothic sanctuary (the one we presently worship in) designed by Lester A. Kaley of Binghamton and costing $95,000, was added – facing west – the two buildings becoming one. The Gethsemane memorial window was installed.  

One more major building project was to be completed on March 21, 1961, when the new Education Building was added to the north of the sanctuary building. In 1992, during the renovation of the back of the sanctuary, it was discovered an “addition” had been added to the second edifice, and that in 1927, at least one stained glass window had been bricked up in the wall. This window, moved to a prominent spot, is now on display in the Heritage Room.

Over the years other building and remodeling projects have been completed; i.e., the installation of the Moeller pipe organ and Schulmerich Carillonic Bells, the establishment of the Memorial Chapel, the Friendship Lounge, and the Memorial Library.  

In 1923 “The First Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Union Corners” officially became known as Central Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1939, due to the unification of three major branches of Methodism, the word “Episcopal” was dropped from our name. Then on April 23, 1968, again due to unification of two branches of the Wesleyan Movement, our name was changed to Central United Methodist Church.  

Throughout its history, Central Church has provided the community with more than just a meeting place. We have developed the Lukens-Jackson Camps at Sky Lake, the Clothing Center, and the Shepherd’s Supper. Formerly a Jail Ministry, an Appalachian Service Project, and a Pantry Shelf were carried out by this congregation.  

 

Written by:
The Reverend John S. Dawson

From information provided by:
Mrs. Shirley Mahood
Mrs. Margaret Hevenor
Mrs. Reva Stratton
Mrs. Miriam Wood
The Heritage Committee