The Amsterdam Pilgrim Holiness Church is rich in history, comes from a goodly heritage, and has cast a tremendous influence for holiness over the years. Not only has the local church maintained its witness in the city and area, but from Amsterdam both the Fultonville and Rockwood churches were begun.
The records begin in 1913, but before this time W. 0. Kingsley, who operated a restaurant business in Amsterdam and who was a member of the Methodist Church, along with others, began to hold prayer meetings in the home of the Hewitt family. Later, while still belonging to the Methodist Church, this group extended these prayer meetings into weekly preaching services because they had a testimony for holiness but could not exercise their liberty and freedom in the said church. Later, the meetings were held in, as quoted by Miss Effie Hewitt, those horrid, old rooms on Railroad Street in Amsterdam. Sister Effie Hewitt is the only living member of the original group. She now resides in Gloversville, New York. Sister Hewitt says that before her conversion, I became so sick that I didn't know what the matter was but after I was saved, I became all right again. Later the group moved to Pearl Street and became known as the League of Prayer, moving on to 15 Wall Street, then to 12 Guy Park Avenue.
Finally, the break came from the Methodist Church, and on April 18, 1913 the first recorded board meeting was held, with Preston Kennedy presiding. The Church became known as the Pentecostal Rescue Mission Association, and was
organized with the following members: W. 0. Kingsley, pastor; Mrs. W. 0. Kingsley, F. W. Clarke, Mrs. E. R. Peattie, Mrs. A. Hewitt, Mr. A. Teeling, Mrs. Carrie Backer, and Miss Effie Hewitt. Soon after organizing, the church called Sr. Vines as a
laborer to help establish the work.
In October 1916, property was purchased at 45 Wall Street, and the church took on its first indebtedness of $5,000. Quarterly business meetings were held.
The first recorded financial record
is for May 1918, and is reported as thus: Receipts $71.28; Disbursements $69.34;
Balance on hand $1.94. The pastors salary for that month was $38.83,
and apparently a special offering was lifted each week for this purpose. The
total receipts and disbursements for the year of 1918 were $595.42 as compared
with the Conference year of 1966-67: Receipts $10,358.98 and Disbursements
Alvin Young, who was the choir leader in the Lutheran Church, left that church and joined the holiness group. He was also employed by Bro. Kingsley in the restaurant business. After Brother Young was saved, his wife thought that he had
gone crazy, but later she attended a service and heard a sermon by Brother Moore on the text, Ask for the old paths. She saw her need and was saved. Bro. Young held an Exhorters License as well as a local Preachers License, and was very
active in the local church.
The first Sunday School began at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, with the first recorded yearly average attendance of 20. The first recorded yearly average church worship attendance was 11. The order of services later were:
Class meeting at 10 a.m. followed by preaching Sunday School at 11:30 a.m. Preaching services at 3:00 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
The first recorded marriage was held on July 8,1916, uniting Elwin B. Kibler and Florence Fountain, both of Wells, New York. C. R. Wilson was the officiating minister. Mr. and Mrs. Kibler live in Broadalbin, New York.
In 1922 the work became known as The International Holiness Church. A district orphans home was supported by the local church in its early days.
Early in 1925, the present property, located at 120 Division Street, was purchased for $12,500 from F. F. Harrison, who was operating the building as a funeral home. From a place of the dead, to the assembly of the first born.
The building and church were dedicated during a weekend meeting, November 13-15, 1925, with Bro. A. E. Wilson. Also, during this year it was voted to have the pulpit placed in the front of the church. The first missionary society was organized June 23, 1925.
In 1927 the church finally became the Pilgrim Holiness Church.
The first recorded baptisms were held on September 17, 1927, with eight persons being baptized. Rev. Oscar Lawrence was the officiating minister.
In 1931 there were twenty-four members. In 1934, there were recorded to be twenty-eight members, the highest in the history of the church to date.
The Fultonville work was begun from Amsterdam by Brother Floyd Lepper. The Rockwood work was started from Amsterdam by Brother Charles Meachem, a local layman. Both of these works were given guidance in their early days by Rev. Harry Twining who was then the pastor in Amsterdam.
The local church has experienced a number of mighty revival efforts during these years and multitudes have been influenced for holiness.
New Sunday School rooms were built in the rear of the building in 1963. The first major remodeling program to the entire building was undertaken in October 1966. The building was rededicated by Rev. A. J. Whitney on March 19, 1967 during a weekend meeting with Rev. M. E. Pierpoint. The mortgage for the remodeling indebtedness was paid off one year before the due date, and the mortgage burned January 17, 1971 with Rev. A. J. Whitney officiating.
A weekly Sunday morning radio broadcast, The Voice of Holiness, was begun over local radio station WCSS in May 1966 by the pastor, Rev. Warren Babcock, and continued until July 1971.
Earl Miller, age 80, is the oldest living member of our church.
The roster of pastors of the church is as follows: Walton Kingsley October 1913 to April 1916; Cola R. Wilson April 1916 until death in October 1918; Mary Wood pastored one year; William Hawley pastored one year; M. R. Blann - April
1922 to May 1925; 5. W. Simmons - May 1925 to August 1926; Oscar W. Lawrence - August 1926 to April 1929; W. J. Tompkins - May 1929 to May 1930; Harry Felter - June 1930 to November 1932; Harry Twining - 1933 to 1943; Gary Boel -May
1943 to July 1946; F. T. Finch - July 1946 to September 1949; E. L. Zerby - November 1949 to 1954; Frederick McCulley - August 1954 to April 1961; Edward Lecates - May 1961 to July 1965; Warren Babcock - July 1965 to July 1971;
no pastor August 1971 to March 1972; Paul Jukes - April 1972 to May 1974; no pastor May 1974 to June 1974; Howard McKenzie July 1974 to May 1976; no pastor June 1976 to August 1976; Raymond DeWolfe - September 1976 to January
1977; Timothy Rittenhouse - February 1977 to March 1981; no pastor April 1981 to June 1981; Daniel Reed - July 1981 to June 1986; Doug Williams - August 1986 to November 1986; Meredith Foster supply pastor until July 1987; Winston
Hallett - August 1987 to May 1991; James Rossman August 1991 to July 1996; no pastor at present.