In 1948, Rev. 0. L. Fay, Superintendent of the New York District of the Pilgrim Holiness Church, asked Rev. Donald Babcock of the North Troy church to begin an outreach in Pittsfield, Ma. The work here began in August with cottage prayer meetings in the home of Miss Howe, a blind lady. Rev. Babcock commuted weekly for these meetings. With prospects for advancement looking promising, a broadcast called “The Pilgrim Voice” was aired on local radio station WBEC. In September 1949, the erection of a Quonset building was started on a full basement at the corner of Elm and Marcella Streets. The building was ready for use by January 1,1950.
During Rev. Babcock’s pastorate (which began in October 1949) the church was organized with seven members, and a permanent church structure and parsonage were built. The church is a full frame structure with a seating capacity of 75. The basement is divided into four Sunday School rooms. The next-door pastor’s home is a simple, box style frame dwelling with four rooms and a bathroom downstairs, and three bedrooms upstairs. Many donations of labor, building materials, and furnishings were given during the early years of the Pittsfield work, During Rev. Babcock’s pastorate, the Sunday School reached a peak enrollment of 60, a number not realized since. In June 1955, Rev. Babcock held his last service in Pittsfield before moving to Staunton, Va.
Rev. Wilbur Bubb succeeded Rev. Babcock as pastor, and stayed one year.
Rev. Joseph Hunting came next and ministered in Pittsfield for three years, from August 1956 to July 1959, During his time here, a front entrance enclosure was added to the house.
Following Rev. Hunting was Rev. William Clive, whose stay lasted from July 1959 to October 1960.
For the following three months, the church was without a pastor. Mr. Delbert Hallenbeck and Rev. Gary Boel helped to fill the pulpit until Rev. Dorothy Straight came in December 1960.
Rev. Straight pastored the Pittsfield congregation for nearly ten years, during which time new furnaces were installed, a fence was erected, and other improvements were made. In July 1970 Rev. Straight moved to Penn View Bible Institute in Penns Creek, Pa.
That same month, Rev. Norman Blowers assumed the Pittsfield pastorate. In the five years that he was here, new padded pews were purchased, as were a new rug for the church and flags for the front of the sanctuary. In November 1973 a special service was held commemorating the church’s 25th anniversary.
Rev. Blowers was succeeded by Rev. William Brown in July 1975. During Rev. Brown’s eight-year pastorate, new front doors, storm windows, a new roof, and vinyl siding were all added to the church. Also, the front of the church lawn was enclosed by fencing, and shrubbery was planted around the front and side of the parsonage. Rev. Brown’s time in Pittsfield ended in July 1983.
Shortly thereafter, Rev. Paul Duvall took up residence at the parsonage. While he was here, improvements were made to — the restrooms in the basement of the church, and the church’s front steps were carpeted. Rev. Duvall left in March 1986 after a two and one-half year stay. After a few months without a resident minister, the church called Rev. Paul Case, Jr. as pastor. He arrived in July 1986 and stayed three years. Ceiling fans were installed in the church, both the church and the parsonage were insulated, and a wood-burning stove was installed in the fireplace at the house.
From July 1989 until the spring of 1991, retired minister Rev. Leonard Lum shepherded the Pittsfield flock. He made the trip to Pittsfield each weekend from his home in East Worcester, NY.
In the spring of 1991, Rev. Wilford Alexander assumed pastoral responsibilities, staying one year. He moved to Indiana in May 1992.
In July 1992, Rev. Asa Sherman became the Pittsfield church’s pastor. During his time here, two Sunday School rooms have been remodeled, as have the church and parsonage restrooms. A new furnace has been installed at the church, the parsonage’s wood stove chimney flue has been upgraded, and both buildings have been reroofed. After a lapse of a few years, Sunday School recommenced in 1996. A weekly children’s program is in its second year.
Although the Pittsfield Pilgrim Holiness Church has never achieved outstanding growth in numbers, its positive influence for God has been felt in various ways in countless lives. Many people are in heaven, thanks in part to the faithfulness of God’s people here, while others who at one time worshipped with us are laboring for the Lord in other parts of His harvest field.
The Port Jervis church started with a group holding cottage prayer meetings for several years prior to 1928. In the spring of that year Rev. Melvin R. Blann was called.
In the summer of 1928 a tent meeting was conducted by Rev. Blann, Rev. Alvin Young, and Rev. A. H. Wilson and wife. In August 1928 a tabernacle was erected at 20 Franklin St. when the young church purchased this land, it agreed with the owners, Stephen Zeh, Abram Quick, and Mary Chant, that the land would never be used for “...a slaughter house, rendering plant, tannery or a place for depositing junk or for any noxious or offensive trade or business.”)
On October 27, 1928, with Rev. A. H. Wilson, District Superintendent, presiding, a church was organized with 12 charter members: Abram J. Quick; Harry Paashaus, Sr. and wife (Johanna); Harry Paashaus, Jr.; Rev. Melvin Blann, Sr. and wife (Anna); Melvin Blann, Jr.; Troy Blann; Maybelle Nyce; Maude Van Aken; Helen Paashaus; and Paul Paashaus.
On December 5, 1928, with Rev. Melvin Blann as pastor, the church was incorporated as the Pilgrim Holiness Church of Port Jervis. Three trustees were elected.
On February 28, 1929 a committee was appointed to see about obtaining a parsonage. The first choice considered was on Prospect St., but the house eventually chosen was at 17 Franklin St., purchased from Patrick Rooney and wife (Mary) and Lawrence M. Powers.
On April 3, 1929 is the first record of a delegate, Ralph Manwaring, for the Conference at Gloversville.
In June 1931 the tabernacle was torn down, and work on a church building was begun. The building was completed and dedicated in November 1931.
The following pastors have served the Port Jervis church: Rev. M. R. Blann, Rev. Lee W. Lawrence, Rev. George Culver, Rev. G. Linley Adams, Rev. Woodrow Harmon, Rev. Elvin D. West, Rev. J. Franklin Lint, Rev. Beatrice Dodge, Rev. Lawrence Rowe, Rev. Maurice Hobart, Rev. Michael Hendricks, Rev. Winston Hallett, and Rev. Wesley Sanford.
Last modified 12/9/00