PNC Mission Statement

We are a close knit and resilient family of God committed to enriching spiritual and faith development for all ages, with patient optimism since our founding in 1831. Our church is welcoming to all, and active in ecumenical and outreach programs within our village and in the wider community. Our time together is filled with warmth, music, prayer, scripture and genuine love for each other as the body of Christ. Whether worshiping on Sunday morning, enjoying a time of fellowship or working together on a common mission we are all one in Christ.

It truly can be said ‘Blest be the tie that binds.’

A Short History of the First Presbyterian Church of Honeoye Falls

In the summer of 1828 a few families, with the promised aid of $100.00 from the Home Aid Society and a $200.00 subscription, met in the school house in Harry Allen Park to establish a Presbyterian congregation. It was not until 1831 that the Presbytery of Rochester appointed a committee to visit the congregation to advise them on organizing into a church. On July 17, 1831 a building 40 feet long, 24 feet wide and 14 feet high was completed and 163 members of the congregation met for the first services in the new building of the First Presbyterian Church of West Mendon, as this church was originally known. The Reverend George Sill served as the minister and Harry Allen, James Dixon and James Smith
were the first Ruling Elders.

In 1841 a larger building was needed, and the present church building was completed by Martin R. Pierce. This lovely Greek Revival structure was built with great pride and fine workmanship, for the cost of $4,500.00. This amount was raised by subscriptions from the members and many of the women of the church vowed to wear calico or cotton dresses until the debt was paid – and it was paid promptly. The small original building was sold to the Baptist congregation and moved to the banks of Honeoye Creek where it was used first as a church and later as a cooper’s shop.

In 1864 it was purchased back, moved and rejoined to the back of the sanctuary to be used as a session room. In fact, it remains to this day incorporated into the structure of the current building encompassing the choir room and a section of the Sunday School wing. The bell in the tower was presented to the church by representatives of a member, Theodore H. Jameson, who was killed during the Civil War in the second battle of Manassas on August 30 th , 1862. In 1879 the clear-paned windows were replaced by beautiful stained glass windows adding to the dignity and serenity of the sanctuary.

In 1899 and 1925 major changes to the building brought more room for the Sunday School classes and for other church activities. Most notably in 1899 the enclosed pews were replaced with folding theater seats and the walls of the sanctuary were frescoed. In August of 1943 the outward appearance of the steeple was drastically changed when lightening struck the “mushroom’ type dome – fortunately a fire did not start from that catastrophe, but the newspaper reported that, “The debris from the tower was scattered all over the church property”.

In 1953, under the pastorate of the Rev. Robert Findlay, a sizeable addition was made to the building at the cost of $40,000.00. The theater seats that were installed in 1899 were replaced by pews with leather seats and an office for the minister and a library were all included in this project. The challenge of such a large debt was met by a working congregation , and in three years that debt was fully paid.

In 1960 Rev. Arthur Guild and his family came to the Presbyterian Church, and he remained as pastor for 26 years – longer than any other pastor before or since. In 1963 a new parsonage on the lot just north of the church was purchased. In 1970 a new electronic organ was added to the sanctuary – a generous gift of a long standing member. In 1983-84 with Sunday School attendance bursting at the seams and with the full use of the church building for community affairs, another appeal went out to the members for a three year pledge of $135,000.00. This amount along with $50,000 present in the building fund, funded a new addition which included new Sunday School rooms, a larger dining room, a new kitchen, a resource center, a new choir room, new restrooms and new furnaces.

In 1987-88 restoration of the outside of the sanctuary and added siding to the rear of the building took place. Following the retirement of Rev. Arthur Guild, the Rev. Robert Gray and his family moved into the Manse in June of 1988. With the arrival of Rev. Anne Clifton in 1995 work on a capital campaign to fund exterior renovations began and was completed. The church also updated its sound system during this time.

In 2002, along with the arrival of a new pastor, the Rev. Val Fowler, renovations were completed to the interior of the sanctuary including: plaster repair, fresh paint, a new tin ceiling, a new reredos, new carpeting, and new seating in the choir loft. In 2008, through the generosity of congregation members, the electronic organ purchased in 1970 was replaced by a new 3 manual Allen electronic organ.
In August 2015 the Rev. Val Fowler retired after serving the church for over 13 years. Interim pastor, Rev. David Ashby, has been here since October 15, 2015, and we have an active Pastoral Nominating Committee.

Through God’s grace and the generosity of congregation members over many years, the First
Presbyterian Church of Honeoye Falls has been afforded the resources to continue its mission and ministry in Christ to its local community and wider world through reaching out in welcome, hospitality and kindness to those in need.

Modified and updated from the combined works (May 1986; Sept. 1988) of Anne Bullock, former Village of Honeoye Falls Historian. September 2017

Contacts

Secretary: Jan Dixon (585) 624-2160 or secretaryjan@juno.com

Clerk of Session: Martha Kumler, mskumler@frontiernet.net

Choir Director: Michelle La Varnway, michelle.lavarnway@gmail.com

Bell Choir Director: Amy Gray, mewithcrew@gmail.com

Director of Christian Education: Adam Lewis, adamlewisced@yahoo.com