The History of shenendehowa united methodist church...
Although the Shenendehowa United Methodist Church in its current form was established in the late 1950's, it might be said that our history is older than the Methodist denomination itself (formally organized in 1784). As a matter of record, the church at our site on Route 146 was organized in 1957. Ground breaking was in 1958, and the first services were held in 1959. However our roots run very deep.
James Dempster was a missionary sent from England to America by John Wesley, the founder of our Methodist traditions. Dempster landed in Philadelphia in 1774 and by 1783 came to preach at Halfmoon and Newtown. This is in and around the part of the Queen Anne Patent we call Clifton Park today. American Methodism was formally organized in 1784, but we already had our head start.
Our official history begins with the formation of the Grooms Methodist church in 1788. One of the early frontier circuit riders, Freeborn Garrettson, said he held a quarterly meeting in a society two miles north of the Mohawk. That would have been in the vicinity of Vischers Ferry. A log building served as both church and school from 1799 to 1804 when a new church was erected. The Grooms Methodists built their third building in 1834. The Grooms church fostered the development of seven other nearby Methodist congregations: Jonesville in 1825, Mechanicville in 1828, Newtown in 1830, West Crescent in 1834, Rexford Flats in 1839, Clifton Park Village in 1842 and Crescent in 1852. We can note in passing that at one time the Grooms church was carpeted with the same material used in Ford motor cars. The carpeting was purchased from the Ford Motor Plant in Green Island.
The Newtown church, founded in 1830, was incorporated six years later and a building was constructed at about the same time. In 1939 one of the two carriage sheds was taken down and the lumber used to remodel the other into a dining hall and meeting room.
The West Crescent church began life in 1834 as the Second Methodist Episcopal Church in the Town of Halfmoon. They purchased the land for their building for $25. In the early years of the 20th century they were famous for serving clam chowder and turkey suppers.
The Crescent Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1852. Their brick building was dedicated in 1853. This church too was known for food. Their specialty was turkey suppers. They sold boxed gelatin as a fundraiser.
In 1957 the Grooms church, the Newtown Church, the Crescent Church and the the West Crescent church voted to merge and become the Shenendehowa Methodist Church. Their combined membership at that time was 361 and a few of those charter members are still active and regularly worship with us on Sunday morning.
Our present building has undergone three major expansions. The last expansion was for our sanctuary, which was consecrated in 1997.
Today Shenendehowa United Methodist Church has a large Sunday school, a growing program of adult education, vocal choirs for people of all ages and bell choirs. The congregation also has a rich tradition of serving others.