Christ Reformed Congregation, Bearytown
Town of Fayette, Seneca County, NY
Source: "Manual of the Churches of Seneca County with sketches of their pastors, 1895-96", compiled and published by the Courier Printing Co., Seneca Falls, NY 1896.
Christ Church at Bearytown, in the town of Fayette, is the oldest, existing church organization in that. town. The earliest records of the church, in the German language, mention that prior to 1809, in fact in the early years of the century, German Evangelical Christians (principally from Pennsylvania with a few foreign born Germans) residents of the towns of Fayette and Romulus (now Varick) occasionally enjoyed preaching services in school houses, barns or private houses. The first pastor of whom information exists, serving thus, as early as 1804, was Rev. Anthony Houtz, of Dryden, Tompkins county, a clergyman of tbe German Reformed church of the United States. It appears that he labored in this capacity among these people, for several years. On December 26, 1809, the first attempt at formal church organization was made at a meeting of German Reformed and Lutheran residents held in the Burgh school house in Fayette, at which meeting, John Gamber, Sr., of Romulus, presided, and Jacob Frantz, William Reed, John Pontius and Bartholomew Hittle were chosen trustees. This meeting resolved to erect a house of worship for use of the two denominations, and the present church site, taken from the farm of Henry Singer in Fayette, was chosen - there being then only three houses within the territory of the present village of Bearytown. The first interment in the church cemetery was made in 1810. The building committee chosen, Stephen Frantz and Christian Ernsberger, proceeded to erect a log church 22 by 28 feet at the northwest corner of the church lot. It is not now positively known when this church was dedicated but as the records show that the church constitution was adopted Jan. 7, 1813, it is believed that the church was then also dedicated and opened for worship. A German weed-day school was taught in the church building from time to time until after 1830. In the interval from 1809 to 1821, the church was served for short terms of service by different pastors, among whom the names of Rev. Lot Merkel and Rev. George J. Wichterman are mentioned. In April, 1821, Rev. Diedrich Willers of the German Reformed Synod of the U.S. entered upon his pastorate in this church, which continued without interruption to January 1, 1882, a period of sixty years and eight months, terminated by his resignation. The present substantial stone structure of Christ Church wa erected in 1823 and dedicated June 6, 1824. Its dimensions are 45 feet by 35 feet and its cost about three thousand dollars. The church building committee was John Gambee, Sr., Stephen Frantz, John Kuney and Jacob Fatzinger. This committee was composed of members of both the Lutheran and the Reformed churches, and the church edifice was erected by the two congregations, and occupied by them alternately, or by other mutually agreed upon arrangement, until 1855. Since that date it has been used and maintained by the Reformed congregation alone. Since 1855, there has been no Lutheran pastor employed in Christ Church. In 1882, the church was extensively repaired and remodeled and a stone tower and belfry added. It was reopened for divine worship June 1, 1883, the improvements costing about $6,000. It has a seating capacity of 250 persons. Upon he resignation of Rev. Diedrich Willers, D.D., the congregation chose Rev. J.H. Hunsberger, of Findlay, Ohio, a member of the Ohio Synod of the Reformed church as successor,who served as pastor for six years to January 1, 1888, when his resignation took effect. The present pastor of Christ Church, Rev. Geo. W. Kershner, of Stroudsburg, PA, a member of the Eastern Synod of the Reformed church in the U.S. entered upon his pastorate May 13, 1888. Th church has a present membership of 101. The senior surviving member, in 1895, Mrs. Elizabeth Shroyer of Fayette, having united with this church by confirmation in June, 1824. A Sabbath school and Christian Endeavor Society are successfully maintained by the congregation. The church is incorporated under the laws of this State and has a board of nine trustees. The spirit council is called the consistory, and is composed of four elders and four deacons with the pastor.
List of members [in 1896]
Abbott, (Moyer) Pearl Mrs.
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