Little White Church
Schuyler Lake, New York

Author & Date Unknown

Contributed by: Harriet Geywits

Methodism and the Methodist church have been an influence in Schuyler Lake for well over one hundred years. On December 17, 1838 a meeting of Methodist, Free Will Baptist and Universalism members resulted in the formation of a Union Society and the adoption of a Constitution. it was this group of dedicated people who decided to build the house of worship that is now known as the Old Stone Church of Schuyler Lake.

Elder Wright preached the sermon for the Methodists at the Union dedication service that took place March 5, 1840. David Stewart and John Chappel were named as Methodist trustees and the third Sunday in each month was allotted to the Methodists for their worship services.

In the early days, the Methodists at Schuyler Lake, Exeter Center, West Exeter, Brighton and Monticello were all served by the same circuit rider. (Today the same minister supplies the Schuyler Lake and Fly Creek churches).

IN 1860 the Rev. Austin Griffen was the minister and church members at Schuyler Lake included Maria Austic, Mary Austic, Eunice Bliss, Newell Bliss, Eliza Duell, Rosalie Griffin, Harriet Haight, Frnacis Fay, Lucy Fay, Delia Fay, Galatia Walker, Lucy Walker, Anne E. Wescott, Ann M. Wescott, Israel Veber, and Mary Veber. The list of probationers was much longer and those who were considered worthy were received into full membership. The membership list increased until the Methodists felt a need for a church of their own.

Mary Veber was a Methodist with a crusading spirit and it was she who played an important part in raising money for the new Methodist Church. She attended revival and camp meetings and solicited for the building fund. Norman Rose, an active layman and class leader, donated the building lot with the stipulation that the land would revert to the Rose family if it were no longer used for the church.

The church built in 1880 is a neat, one room wooden structure, painted white with a typical Methodist spire pointed heavenward.

A unique feature of this church was that chairs were used instead of benches or pews. The chairs would be grouped around tables for Sunday School classes and quickly placed in straight rows for the formal service.

The Schuyler Lake charge is in the Oneonta District of the Wyoming Conference which has the responsibility of providing the local church with a minister and therefore a Methodist Church is seldom, if ever, closed for lack of a minister. In rural areas a pastor usually has more than one charge.

The Village Union Sunday School was disbanded in 1898 or there abouts and the Methodist soon organized a church school of their own with Norman Rose as the first superintendent. For many years there was an active Epworth League for young people. Teachers and leaders whose tireless effort contributed to the success of the Sunday School and Epworth League included; Mrs. Henry Wakerly, Mrs. Israel Veber, Mrs. Franklin Rose (who was superintendent of the Sunday School for fifteen years), Mrs. Arthur Parks, Mrs. Charles Mercer, Mrs. Myron Wakerly and Mrs. Merton Clarke.

The Ladies Aid Society gave strong support to the church and its missions down through the years.

After the Rev. Arthur Landmesser left in 1918, the church left it could no longer support a resident pastor.

The Wyoming Conference arranged to have the Rev. L. D. Pope, a minister of the Cooperstown Methodist Episcopal Church hold afternoon services in the local church. Rev. Pope was aided by the Rev. Leroy Halbut, pastor of the Cooperstown Baptist Church. The two ministers discussed their mutual problems and decided to ask their respective congregations if they would unite for worship services. This was agreeable with both churches and it was arranged that Mr. Dix and Mr. Halbert would preach on alternate Sundays. The Methodist and Baptist churches were used on alternate months.

Communion services were conducted according to the Methodist Episcopal ritual when held in the Methodist Church and followed that of the Baptist Fellowship when observed in the Baptist church. The Methodist contributed to their missions and the Baptist supported their own causes. The Epworth League merged with the Christian Endeavor and conducted Sunday evening services for many years. Mrs. Charles Mercer was leader of the Junior Christian Endeavor for a number of years. Mrs. Morton Clarke was elected Superintendent of the Sunday School and held that office for about twenty-five years. Mrs. Myron Wakerly, Mrs. Charles Mercer and the Misses Mable Beadle and Nina Knight were teachers of long standing.

The united efforts of the Methodist and Baptist promoted all ecumenical spirit of good will and fellowship. It was a severe blow when they were notified that the churches in Cooperstown would no longer permit their ministers to serve the local churches. An official board meeting was called to consider a course of action. The Methodist Church had received a bequest from the Webster Estate about that time and they decided to buy the Asa Flansburg house for a parsonage. The District Superintendent assured them that a minister would be assigned to this charge. It was decided to ask the Baptist to enter a federation and they agreed.

A record of the federation meeting is not available, however a federation of the two churches was formed with an understanding that a Baptist minister would be called to serve equal periods of time and be given use of the Methodist owned parsonage. The church building would continue to be used on alternate months.

The Rev. Frank Benfield, Methodist, assumed charge of the Schuyler Lake Federated Church and Exeter Methodist Church in April 1923. He was followed by the Rev. Horace E. Weaver, Methodist in 1924, who was succeeded by the Rev. James G. Rice, Methodist 1925. The REv. Clyde Truex, Baptist, was called in 1927 and he served until 1930 when he resigned. The Rev. Clyde A. Schaff, a student Methodist minister followed and stayed until 1932.

In 1931, the Baptists withdrew and the Federation was dissolved. The Methodist assumed full responsibility for their church. The Wyoming Conference helped to solve the financial problem by adding the West Exeter Church to the Exeter Center and Schuyler Lake charge to which the Rev. Clifford Bound was assigned to serve. Mr. And Mrs. Bound decided to live in the parsonage at West Exeter so the local parsonage was rented and the income used for church expenses. In 1946 the parsonage was sold.

Records and minutes for the Official Board have been lost so exact dates and many details are not available. Floyd Pickens was clerk of the Official Board for about fifty years and Mrs. Floyd Pickens was pianist for over sixty years.

In 1930 the church spire was removed and the interior was painted and decorated.

In January 1931 stained glass windows were presented to the church by the following: Miss Rose Veder in memory of her grandmother, Mrs. Mary Veber; Franklin N. Rose in memory of his wife, Grace P. Rose; Mrs. Merton Clarke in memory of her parents Mr. and Mrs. Arthur F. Parks; Mrs. John Linder (Maude Darrow) in memory of her Aunt and Uncle Mr. and Mrs. William Watson; Mr. and Mrs. Myron Wakerly in memory of their parents Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Wakerly; Mrs. and Mrs. Floyd C. Pickens and Mr. and Mrs. Fayette Allen purchased their own memorial windows. The church gave a window in memory of Mrs. Edwin Webster and son, Schuyler.

In the year 2003, the Schuyler Lake United Methodist Church still continues to hold services every Sunday at 9:00 a.m. under the direction of Pastor Thomas Pullyblank, who also serves the Fly Creek United Methodist Church. The building was renovated about five years ago, inside and out, but retains the original look of a quiet, hometown church where all are welcome.