The Pilgrim Holiness Church of Tonawanda New York had its beginnings in 1953 as an independent work in an old Standard Church building at 514 79th Street in Niagara Falls. It was founded by two devoted women that had a vision for the work of God — Sister Margaret Noyes and her daughter Marie. Sr. Noyes and her daughter labored faithfully at the church and a radio program with the help of several pastors until Bro. David Smith was to become the pastor of the growing congregation in 1966. He served faithfully with his family, living in the basement of the church building for a time and at times having only potatoes to survive on. In 1972 after the ministry of the Smiths, Bro. Walter ‘Don” Bradshaw took up the burden and during his pastorate the congregation was incorporated on August 29, 1973 as The Pilgrim Holiness Church of Niagara Falls, New York. It was also in 1973 that one of our members moved to Pennsylvania thus affording us the opportunity to purchase their house at 395 Falconer St. in North Tonawanda for a parsonage.

A few years later, the people of the congregation decided to take advantage of an opportunity to move from the building it currently occupied on 79th St., not having been able to obtain a clear title deed for purchase of the property, to a then vacant Free Methodist building in Tonawanda, which is our present location. This was purchased in April 1976. We then reincorporated as The Pilgrim Holiness Church of Tonawanda. God worked many miracles to accomplish this move and we rejoice still because of His grace.

Shortly after this Bro. Ralph Burch came to us and in March 1978 the large two-story house beside the church that we had rented for a parsonage before buying the property at Falconer Sr. was purchased and demolished by Bro. Burch and the men of the church to facilitate off-street parking. Bro. Burch’s ministry was shortened by his desire to move back to Virginia and the congregation spent a six month term without a pastor until the coming of Bro. Lloyd Wolkenfeld.

Bro. Wolkenfeld and his wife Dawn labored tirelessly to build up the work. By using five day clubs, city mission volunteer work, calling, Bible studies, VBS and motivating the local congregation to help, we were able to break our attendance record. The coming of Bro. Larry Major and his family in 1982 marked the beginning of a long and happy time for our church. About four years after coming, Bro. Major became acquainted with a group in Welland that was interested in starting a holiness work for Canada. From this small beginning and under the guidance of Bro. Major, Welland was to develop into a church which was added to our Conference and the addition of another pastor as well. It was during his term here that his family outgrew the current parsonage and the Lord worked it out so we could buy the large two story house next to our parking lot. Bro. and Sr. Whitney financed the project and the deed for this fine house was dated to us on November 20, 1987. Bro. Major, having served for 11 years, decided that God wanted him to move on and the following year brought us Bro. Ronald Robison and family. Alter a two year term, the Robisons moved and the congregation was without a pastor until January 1997 when Bro. Dan Collins and family moved in to take up the charge.

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Last modified 12/9/00