CARTHAGE — Looking back on the church’s 200 year history, about 60 gathered at the Carthage United Methodist Church, Sept. 18, to observe its 200th anniversary.
The festivities included the singing of hymns from the 1800s by past choir members and current Carthage area residents under the direction of Jean C. Haverstock.
“Most of those who said they were coming from out of town did make the trip and did sing,” said the Rev. Frances Hemstreet, the church’s pastor. “Jean Haverstock played the organ, and it was wonderful; she accompanied the choir on the piano, and we did our best, and had a great time.”
Mrs. Haverstock said despite not much rehearsal, the choir came together beautifully.
“People came who hadn’t sung together in a while — one came from Old Forage another from Malone,” she said.
The Rev. William Gottschalk-Fielding, assistant to Bishop Mark J. Webb, bishop of the Upper New York Annual Conference, preached during the event.
According to Pastor Hemstreet, the guest speaker wished the church happy birthday, and quoted from the parable of the wedding banquet.
“He used the parable as a reminder that God is not done with us, that there are still ministries in which we may serve, and that we must always be ready to serve God and God’s people, whenever and however the need arises, as the servants in the parable were to be in full readiness whenever the bridegroom and his new bride comes,” said Pastor Hemstreet.
She also noted that the afternoon, Rev. Michael Weeden, the district superintendent for Northern Flow district, gave an inspiring talk with the same basic message.
Entertainment was provided by the Turning Point Chorus, a local barbershop chorus directed by Bradley K. Lundquist. The group’s selections were from the 19th and early 20th century music.
Mrs. Haverstock, a more than 50 year member of the church, said despite people coming and going, the church has reminded true to its purpose.
“It is a place where people can come together in faith,” she said.
Her late husband, Laban, was on the church’s board of trustees for 24 years and serviced as its president.
Mrs. Haverstock said the church played a big role in their lives.
In addition to the day’s festivities, Mrs. Haverstock updated the history of the church since its 1970 sesquicentennial celebration and copies were distributed.
“The booklet tells the history of the church from the beginning until now,” said the author, noting there are lists of donations made to the church and ministers who served.
The booklet also tells of the one of the church’s biggest outreach programs — the Carthage Parent Cooperative Nursery School of which Mrs. Haverstock was director and teacher.
“We took over the church basement, adding more each year to make it more like a school,” she said.
The school operated from 1968 to 2013, serving 1,500 during the 45 years according to director.
A celebration cookbook, with a print of member David Weal’s original watercolor painting of the church building, was compiled with recipes from church members, former church members and community members. Copies are being sold at a cost of $15 to defray the cost of the celebration. To purchase a cookbook call the church office at 315-493-2664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I want to thank all the people on the team who worked so hard to make this a wonderful event,” said Pastor Hemstreet. “It was fun for everybody and it is a good thing to look back occasionally, to see how far we have come, so that we can renew our love for God and our will to be Christian family, to see where we are going, now and into the future. God is not done with us yet.”