Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Information About the Earliest Years of Today's Community Church of the Pelhams

I have written before about the history of today's Community Church of the Pelhams.  The Church is located at 448 Washington Avenue in a lovely part of Pelham known as Pelhamwood.  Originally part of the Congregational Christian Churches, it is now part of The United Church of Christ that was created in 1957 when the Congregational Christian Churches merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Churches.  For more information about the Community Church of the Pelhams and Pelhamwood where the Church is located, see the links at the end of this posting.  

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog transcribes an article that appeared in The Pelham Sun in 1926 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the first services held in the Church.  The article provides interesting insights into the earliest years of the Church and its first pastor, William Milton Hess, Ph.D.

Source:  Congregational Church Celebrating Fifth Anniversary In 
The Pelhams, The Pelham Sun, Dec. 10, 1926, p. 3, col. 3. 

"Congregational Church Celebrating Fifth Anniversary In The Pelhams

Congregation Presided Over by Rev. Dr. Wm. Milton Hess, Ph.D., Has In Few Years Become One of Most Active Religious Organizations in Community

Special services next Sunday will mark the fifth anniversary of the institution of the Congregational Church of the Pelhams, the pastorate of Rev. Dr. Wm. Milton Hess, and the beginning of a strong campaign to raise $10,000 to reduce the indebtedness of the church.

Looking back over the five years which have passed, since the first services were held on December 11, 1921, in a little corner of what is now the assembly hall, they must be counted as years of achievement.  The Congregational Church has firmly established itself in the Pelhams.  During the five years the church has accumulated assets valued at $80,000.  Dr. Hess, the minister, was personally responsible for bringing $40,000 of this sum into Pelham from outside sources.  Five years ago services were held in the unfinished lower hall of the building where 20 children attended Sunday School.  The hall now finished holds 600 people.

There will be special music next Sunday and the preacher of the anniversary sermon will be the Rev. Dr. John Luther Kilbon, the executive secretary of the N.Y. City Association of Congregational Churches, an association of about 70 Congregational Churches in and about New York City.

This association and the Congregational Church Building Society have allready contributed $11,000 toward the building of the church.

A committee is now at work to raise $10,000 as a fifth anniversary gift to the church to reduce its debt and finish the main auditorium and has already received pledges of $2,000.  The handsome edifice at Washington and Highbrook was built on swamp land  and its erection removed an unsightly spot from the neighborhood.  The present building is a landmark in Pelhamwood.  

During the incumbency of Rev. Hess the Congregational Church has become a community factor.  Provision for physical development as well as spiritual and moral has been one of the features of, the work of the church."

Source:  Congregational Church Celebrating Fifth Anniversary In The Pelhams, The Pelham Sun, Dec. 10, 1926, p. 3, col. 2.  

For more information about the Community Church of the Pelhams and Pelhamwood where the Church is located, see:

Sat., Jan. 25, 2014:  Putting the Finishing Touches on the Lovely New Church in Pelhamwood in 1923.

Bell, Blake A., The Early Development of Pelhamwood, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 37, Sep. 17, 2004, p. 12, col. 2.

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