OGDENSBURG, NY

On March 2, 1934 a service was held at William Bellís house by District Superintendent, A. H. Wilson, for the purpose of organizing a Pilgrim Holiness Church. After a message and the reading of the rules 11 people came forward to receive the right hand of fellowship. Alter service a business meeting was called and an advisory board was elected from these 11 members.

Rooms in an old store at 365 Crescent St. were then rented for services and King David Livingston was elected from the former White Mission, which had been directed by Dr. Stephenson; several advisory members were authorized to look into purchasing the White Mission Church at 202 Washington Sr. as well as a parsonage. At the urging of Rev. Wilson and Rev. Lawrence the congregation and board became officially incorporated as the Ogdensburg Pilgrim Holiness Church on May 10, 1935. In this special church meeting there were 49 members who made up the church roll to start out the new church.

In the fall of 1935 the White Mission building was purchased for $1,500. Money was given to the church by a loyal member as a loan only to be paid back if the church closed in a fifteen year time period. Under the leadership of Rev. Gary Boel the church purchased a parsonage across town on the corner of Ogden St. and St. Lawrence. This was used for several years. The church purchased several houses on Isabella St. beside the church with the intention of making a parsonage of them. Alter much discussion the corner house, which was in poor repair, was torn down to provide space for future building of a new church. In the beginning of 1946 half of the double building which housed the two-story parsonage, was sold to pay for the purchase of these parcels and the house across town was sold as well. The parsonage was worked on to make way for the Barton family to move in.

In the summer of 1951 the old White Mission building was torn down to build a new church. Rev. Barton, with the assistance of his father-in-law, Harry Moore as contractor, erected a block building, which later received brick and a steeple. A garage/car-port was added between the parsonage and church as well as an underground tunnel between the basements. Many church members and friends of the church worked hard and contributed money to see this go forward. A special part of the church was a large chalk portrait of Christ seated by the sea of Galilee in an arch which was behind the pulpit. Rev. Joseph Huntingís wife completed this portrait for the dedication service of the church.

On December 1, 1952 in a special 3:00 p.m. service the church was dedicated by District Superintendent 0. L. Fay. Recognition was given in regard to the sacrifices of Dr. and Mrs. Stephenson, a local veterinarian, who in the early 1900ís founded the White Mission on the same site as the new church. Dr. Stephenson labored to bring about a congregation to form a holiness church here in Ogdensburg. The church was dedicated as a missionary memorial to the New York state missionaries serving on a foreign field.

Bro. Barton reached out to the community with a youth crusade in town. He had the help of many local churches in this project. This was held in the park in the summer and in the city hall in the winter for several years. Many in the area will also remember the program over the local radio station of Bible quizzes called Twenty Questions. This was broadcast weekly for many years.

In the spring of 1966 the city planned a mall in town which would take the property of the church. Urban Renewal gave proposals and discussed the project over a number of years with the church people sending letters to have the church saved from destruction. In August 1971 after some negotiation between the town and the church they accepted the offer and plans were made to search for a new location. A house with several vacant lots bordering it was found and inspected on Spruce St. and was purchased. Several years later an additional two lots were purchased to make up the present property totaling almost a half of a city block.

On July 20, 1972 a ground breaking service was held with Rev. Whitney, Conference Superintendent and Rev. D. McKendree, pastor. This was to begin the new building project on Spruce St. The McKendrees had moved to the newly purchased house on Albany Ave. due to the condition and sale of the property on Isabella St.

In August 1972 the cellar was dug and blocks laid by contractors. On September 14, 1972 Delbert Hallenbeck and his men along with local pastors and laymen, began the frame work for the church, They worked long hours to get the walls up and the roof on in a few days. By December of that year the services were held in the basement with the old church being demolished by the town. Bro. McKendree, with the help of several local men, did the wiring and added sheet rock and paneling to the walls. Mr. Ferns Gilson did much of the grading around the church with others puffing in side walks. Brick was also put on the front stairway.

A dedication service was held for the new church on November 11, 1977 with Bro. Whitney, Rev. D. McKendree, and Robert Welch, pastor. Work continued on the church, while a new sign was erected as well as a lighted steeple made and installed by Bro. Bubb. Aluminum siding was put on the parsonage to enhance the appearance of the home. Both the church and parsonage received wood heat as a supplement to the oil and gas systems.

With the church growth over the next several years of Bro. Bubbís ministry, several buses were purchased and building expansion projects were discussed. Young couples and many children continued to add life and expansion to the church and the church reached out in a greater measure to the community.

In spite of the threatening problems of finances the church has faced from its beginning days, Godís people have always sacrificed to keep the doors open. Many have donated time, materials, and money to continue to build, improve, and supply the needs to provide a church for their families.

From nails and boards to firewood and paint, sacrifices have been made. Many have prayed and come to the worship services faithfully. Many families have had a part in this area of Godís kingdom and in spite of the multitudes that have come and gone from this community, a few have been with the church from the beginning.

Rev. Barton and his family spent the most years as pastor. They were also leaders and church officers to help promote the church. The Finley family attended from the beginning with Mr. and Mrs. Earl Finley being some of the first members. Mr. Finley served as secretary for many years as well as a board member. Ella Finley and Viola (Finley) Gilson are at present the longest recorded members with 52 years. Many positions in the church as well as delegates to Conference were faithfully filled by members of their family.

The Gilson family with the marriage of Ferns to Viola Finley have attended and supported for many years and several generations. They provide wood and behind the scenes work to keep the wheels of progress turning.

Former pastorís son, Terry McKendree and family have remained a part of our church and faithfully add to the support of our church.

Clayton Willard and Mrs. Louise (Durgan) Willard have given time and money with so many of the rest. Bro. Willard attended the White Mission and later the Pilgrim Holiness Church since 1927. Bro. Willard filled many offices in the church as well as panel member on the Radio quiz program. Bro. Willard was a lay minister for many years and both are our senior saints in the church now.

Many have come, and gone, but God is still the same. We strive to have a place of worship to God for our families. A lot has happened in the building of physical buildings, but more importantly the building of souls in eternity will be realized.

Pastors of the church are as follows with approximate dates: 1934 to 1936 ó Rev. King David Livingston; 1936 to 1937 óRev. Dillenbeck; 1937 to 1943 - Rev. Gary Boel; 1943 - Rev. C. R. Grassie; 1944 to 1945 - Rev. C. F. Berg; 1945 to 1947 -C. J. Knupp; 1947 to 1969 - Rev. Bernard Barton; 1969 to 1975 - Rev. D. McKendree; 1975 to 1977 - Rev. Robert Welch; 1977 to 1983 - Rev. David Bubb; 1983 to 1985 - Rev. Dale Shillington; 1985 to 1987 - Leonard Roop; 1987 to 1988 - Rev. James Rossman; 1988 to 1990 ó Rev. Billie Bidwell; 1990 to 1992 ó Terry Griggs; 1992 to 1994 ó fill-ins; 1994 to present -Rev. James Hallenbeck.


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Last modified 12/9/00