Special to the OBSERVER
On October 11, 1851, a gathering of people from the surrounding countryside came to the Charlotte Center to attend the dedication service of the new Methodist Episcopal Church. It was a wonderful occasion because it was the first Methodist church built in this locality. The enthusiasm was there! The building was packed, balcony and all! What a song they had! What songs of joy for the work accomplished! Oh, they had good reason to be happy that day, for they were now seeing the result of many months of relentless toll. One hundred and seventy years ago Methodist churches were few and far between, served by heroic men who lived mostly on horseback, riding from point to point, wherever a handful of souls gathered for church services.
Charlotte Center only had a small portion of the pastor’s time, as there were 10 “Places of preaching” on Gerry’s circuit, as it was called then. Almy’s, Pickard’s Corners, Gerry, West Ellery, Stilson, West’s Corners, Sinclairville, Ellery Center, Fluvanna, and Charlotte Center were all served by one pastor. In 1854, the circuit was divided and a man looked after the needs of four communities.
See Church, page A3
In 1863 we find the breakdown of the pastor’s salary for Sinclairville $ 196, Charlotte Center $ 176 and Gerry $ 72. Obviously, the pastor never lived in luxury, nor preached for the money that was there.
Over the years many dollars and many hours of labor (only God knows how many) have been donated by members and non-members of the church to maintain and make many improvements to the church to bring it about. to its current state. Today the church is eternally grateful for the loyalty of the congregation as well as the friends and past members of the church for all their dedication.
In 1959, church services were moved to Grange Hall and the building was jacké “sky high” During the long process of fitting out a basement, this was a major undertaking. What a dramatic improvement for the ladies of the church to serve dinners with a full kitchen and dining room, instead of using the “upper room” balcony, without amenities. For five long years, Ladies Aid has faithfully paid the monthly loan payments by organizing ten-cent dinners, bazaars, and endless toil. These dinners continued into the 21st century, when unfortunately they had to stop due to women’s work schedules.
On Sunday, October 10, the Charlotte Center United Methodist Church celebrates its 170th anniversary with a 10 a.m. after-service dinner. For more information about the church or the celebration, call or text 716-969-7759.
“God bless you and continue to bless our Charlotte Center church and the people who have kept it alive for over 170 years. You are never a stranger, not even once at the Central Charlotte United Methodist Church. The church which is small enough to know you and big enough to serve you ”, said Bonnie Larkin, with Charlotte Center United Methodist.
Dan Pavlock, who is the co-pastor of the church, along with his wife Olivia, is grateful for the church and its people.
“As I stand in front of this church, I feel passion and love for our Lord Jesus. I feel a community that has been built over years – exactly 170 years. My wife and I ran this church for a few months. The Lord has guided, supported and equipped us to be leaders. I can only imagine what this church has been through for 170 years. How many prayers has been said, how many blessings have been blessed. This church has endured and always changed the world so much through the years. Through it all, God provided the people of Central Charlotte United Methodist Church. He instilled in them the meaning of not fearing anyone, of having hope, of being courageous, of being strong in the faith and of loving one’s neighbor. We give thanks to the Lord, may we all be blessed for many years to come.