The Pilgrim Holiness Church of Monticello traces its organizational origin from the year 1921. In that year, a group of men and women began to meet regularly in private homes for prayer. Their concern was to have a place of worship, where Bible holiness was preached and revival efforts put forth. Soon a hail was secured and various holiness preachers were invited to preach at least once a month. A temporary organization was formed and became known as the Interdenominational Holiness Mission.
Among the pioneers of this work were Thomas and Lucy Stirrat, Wesley and Etta Benedict, George and Hattie Calhoun, Henry Baker, Isaac Weber, Clark Duryea, Rev, and Mrs. Leonard C. Richmond and Rev, and Mrs. George L. Payne.
In the fall of 1921, land was secured on Oakley Avenue in Monticello and by the spring of 1922 a church building and parsonage were completed. The land upon which these structures were erected was denoted to the organization by Mr. and Mrs. George H. Calhoun of Bridgeville.
In the new church on April 2, 1922 the loosely constructed framework of the organization was made more permanent by the incorporation of the group according to the Religious Corporation Laws, and the changing of the name from the Interdenominational Holiness Mission, to the Emanuel Independent Holiness Church of Monticello, NY. The following names, in addition to those above, are listed as members of the newly formed church: Lena H. Benton, Mytle Calhoun, Edith Clark, Gladys Coursen, Mary E. Dill, Francis Elson, Mrs. L. A. Finkle, Leo Gorron, Mrs. Hubert Kimball, Mrs. Moore, Mr. and Mrs. Alden McCrabbie, Mrs. Margaret Reed, Mrs. Fred Ringer, Mrs. J. F. Shaw and Mrs. Win. Thorpe.
Having become acquainted with several ministers of the Pilgrim Holiness Church, on November 9, 1923 the local congregation met and after prayer for divine guidance, ballots were cast in a unanimous choice that the Emanuel Independent Holiness Church cease to be independent and join the New York District of the Pilgrim Holiness Church.
Rev. A. H. Wilson, District Superintendent of the Pilgrim Holiness Church was notified of the church’s decision and met with them on January 10, 1924 for a business meeting. At this meeting, Rev. Leonard Richmond, the church’s first pastor was re-elected to that office and Rev. George L. Payne was elected assistant pastor. At this meeting it was also voted upon and carried that the Monticello Church join the New York District of the Pilgrim Holiness Church. There appears to have been some delay in the matter of legally changing the corporation name but on March 1,1929 the committee appointed to attend to this matter reported that the change had been made and the papers recorded. This was the last “name change” for the Monticello Church and today it still bears the name of the Pilgrim Holiness Church of Monticello, New York.
The following ministers have served as pastor of this church: Rev. Leonard C. Richmond - Inception to 1924; Rev. Helena Shafer - 1924 to 1943 (longest tenure); Rev. Donald E. Babcock - 1943 to 1947; Rev. M. R. Blann - 1947 to 1952; Rev. Dorothy Straight - 1952 to 1957; Rev. J. Kingsley Yauger - 1957 to 1959; Rev. Alvin Bartlett - 1959 to 1961; Rev. Edward Palm - 1961 to 1963; Rev. Larry Slavens - 1963 to 1964; Rev. Maurice Hobart - 1964 to 1965; Rev. John F. Sherman - 1965 to 1974; Rev. Kenneth Sickler - 1974 to 1983; Rev. Hugh Litzinger - 1983 to 1994; Rev. Paul Case, Jr. - 1994 to present.
Through the years, the Monticello church has grown and prospered. In the mid 1960’s, there was some discussion about closing the work, but God sent Bro. Hobart here for a year (1964 to 1965). Following the Hobarts was the term of John Sherman. The doors did not close, but the congregation grew and the Sunday School increased. During the ministry of Rev. Sherman, Urban Renewal made it necessary for the congregation to move from its place on Oakley Ave. Land was donated by Ed and Ella Acres on Rose Valley Road, and Rev. Sherman laid the foundation for the new church building. A new parsonage was purchased about two miles from the site of the new church on South Woods Drive. In 1974 Rev. Kenneth Sickler moved to Monticello and completed the church building.
In 1994, the congregation expressed a desire to build a new and larger parsonage on land next to the church. After praying for God’s will, and searching for a home, in August of 1996, a buyer was found for the old parsonage. It was the desire of the congregation to purchase as a suitable building as a parsonage. A modular home was located and purchased and plans were set in place to erect this new adventure next to the church.
On January 21, 1997, the new home was set on the foundation. This was a big step of faith for the congregation to see accomplished. To God be all the Glory for what He has helped us to do.
The Lord is at present blessing our services with His presence and many new people attending Sunday School and each of our regular services. We give God all the praise for His work in our midst, looking for results that shall last through eternity.
Last modified 12/9/00