ROCKWOOD, N Y
The message of holiness was brought to the village of Rockwood in 1934, through the efforts of Charles Meacham. As a Fuller Brush salesman traveling through the village, he caught a vision of its need for revival. The sight of two empty churches stirred this lay preacher from Amsterdam to inquire of Jessie Smith, a member of the Methodist congregation, about holding services in the community. Interest was ignited and the old Town Hall was opened to accommodate the worshipers. Permission was soon granted to move across the street to the Methodist Church. Mr. Meacham continued to hold prayer meetings and Sunday afternoon services for about a year. The Methodist Church had closed its doors several years earlier, having served the community for nearly 100 years.
The work continued under the ministry of Rev. Harry L. Twining from 1935-37. Rev. Twining came Tuesday afternoons to call on the village families, then held cottage prayer meetings in the evening. Sunday afternoon services were conducted by Rev. Twining also. Sunday evening youth services were begun by Gertrude Peebles.
The growing Rockwood congregation’s first resident pastor came in 1938. Rev. George Gilmore, a Pilgrim Holiness pastor, pastored the church until they left for the mission field in Puerto Rico in 1944. Rev. Gilmore negotiated the purchase of the old church. According to court documents, Mrs. Emma Bradt, sole surviving Trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Pleasant Valley (Rockwood), deeded the church to the Pilgrim Holiness Church on June 21, 1943. Adelbert G. Cole, a Johnstown mortician, bought the building and donated it to the Rockwood congregation. The Gilmores presently live in Seaford, Delaware.
Rev. and Mrs. George Lamb accepted the pastorate in 1944. They labored faithfully in Rockwood for 11 years. Sr. Cora Lamb survived her husband by several years and only recently laid down her cross for an eternal crown.
In 1955, Rev. Robert Dettmer and family came to pastor the Rockwood congregation. He remained until 1970, the longest tenure for Rockwood’s pastors to this date. Nearly ten years ago, Rev. Dettmer laid aside his robe of flesh to be forever with the Lord. Sr. Dertmer presently resides in the St. Johnsville Nursing Home.
For the next two years, the pulpit was supplied by neighboring Pilgrim pastors. The late Rev. 0. L. Fay organized the church in April 1971 as the Rockwood Pilgrim Holiness Church.
Rev. Leonard Lum pastored the Rockwood congregation from 1972 to 1981. A Sunday School annex was built soon after Rev. Lum came and was dedicated in October 1974. The present parsonage was purchased during Rev. Lum’s ministry in Rockwood. After a brief ministry to the Middleburg church, Rev. Lum retired from active ministry. Sr. Lum survives her husband and is presently serving as assistant Dean of Women at Hobe Sound Bible College.
The church called Rev. Hugh Litzinger in 1981. Rev. Litzinger pastored the congregation for two years.
In July 1983, the present pastor, Rev. Kenneth Sickler, accepted the call to come to Rockwood. In May 1987, the congregation unanimously voted to build a new sanctuary. A lot next to the parsonage was purchased and construction began in earnest. By early winter, the congregation was able to move into the yet unfinished building. This was necessary due to the removal of the heating system from the old church in order for it to be installed in the new one. The final services in the unheated church were held on December 6, 1987. What a blessing it was to hold the first services in the new church the following Sunday. Some commented that they felt it was like heaven when compared to the inconveniences of no heat nor water in the old church.
A Service of Dedication was held on October 30, 1988. Pews and carpet were installed the following April, just in time for revival services with the Victory Trio. The bell was removed from the old church and stored in the foyer until a belfry could be built. To quote from the Pilgrim News, October 1993: “After six years, the Rockwood Church has finally been ‘topped’! On August 9, the finishing touch was put to our building with the addition of a belfry and steeple. Once again, the 95-year-old bell calls us to worship.”
The Rockwood congregation has nurtured
a number of young people who have gone into full time ministry. The list includes:
1. Rev. Paul Case, Sr. — Conference Vice President;
2. Mrs. Cora (Case) Wells — Missionary to Brazil;
3. Mrs. Paula (Honeywell) Myers — Wife of Conference President Rev. Donald M. Myers;
4. Rev. John Case - Missionary to the Cayman Islands;
5. Mrs. Celia (Case) Furbur — Missionary to the Cayman Islands;
6. Sandy (Mosenthin) Kolva - Missionary to Siberia.
There are five young people of the congregation that are presently in Bible School training. Ministries begun under the present pastor include two monthly nursing home services, a Junior Worship service Sunday morning, and Rockwood Holiness Academy - a Christian Day School. The Lord continues to bless the congregation at Rockwood.
Last modified 12/9/00