Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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Chemung County NY
Elmira Wesleyan Church, Town of Southport, Chemung County NY
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Submitted to Tri-Counties by Virgnia WHEELER McElroy
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The Elmira Wesleyan Church celebrated their 80th Anniversary, Saturday, November 19, 2005 with a Celebration theme of H.Y.M.N.S. (Harvesting Youth Missionaries, Neighbors, and Souls for Christ.) Dawn Weiskopff and Rita Stucky co-chaired the Celebration. Former pastor Rev. Paul Larson (1964-1968) led the opening prayer, special music was by Rev. Lynn Ensign, Dan Eskesen, Pastor Janice Jackson and a special tape was played in remembrance of Rev. I .Lesley Conley (1954-1964) who along with his daughter Joy, sang "How Great Thou Art". A power point presentation of "days gone by" was nicely put together and wonderfully received. Rev. Wager, the District Superintendent spoke on "keeping the church young". Living members were honored for their years at Elmira Wesleyan, the oldest being Eleanor & Eldon Young with 60 and 59 years respectively. Light refreshments were served along with a spirit of fellowship and renewing old acquaintances.

The church dates its earliest beginnings to February 1924, when a public Prayer Meeting was held in a private home in Elmira Heights with Rev. M.D. Warburton (1924-1926) in charge. A very appropriate scripture, "Fear not little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom" was used at this meeting. Later, services were conducted in a small room in the Federation Building; on January 21, 1925, a church was organized with seventeen Charter members.

Rev. Adolph Makler (1926-1927) and Rev. J.S. French (1927-1928) were the succeeding pastors, and on November 13, 1927 ground was broken for a new church at 1100 S. Main Street. For a time the services were held in the basement structure, until the building was completed and dedicated July 8, 1928.

About this time, a parsonage was purchased. Rev. E.E. Look (1928-1930) served as pastor, succeeded by Rev. David Rees (1930-1940). During these years God had continued his blessing upon the "Little flock" and the church grew spiritually and numerically as well as financially. Many improvements were made on the church property, including the construction of a recreation building.

Rev. I. Lesley Conley, (1954-1964) pastored for 10 years. Community interest and attendance were on the increase, with a Sunday School attendance averaging 200.

Other pastors who have served our church are: Rev. Paul Larson (1964-1968); Rev. Donald Rossiter (1968-1970); Rev. Everett Elliott (1970-1973); Rev. Floyd Freiheit (1973); Rev. Melvin Connell. Since 1989, the Lord has blessed us with Rev. Edward Crandall and his wife Lois.

The church has remained on the corner of Federal and S. Main Street as a "beacon light" welcoming the neighboring residents into their doors.

Article by: Virginia R. McElroy, Town Historian and member of the Elmira Wesleyan Church; history from the church records. 11/21/05

Chemung County NY

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 11 DEC 2005 
By Joyce M. Tice

You are our welcome visitor 11 DEC  2005