Over the years there has been many name changes and mergers within the Methodist Churches in Webster. In 1832, the First Methodist Episcopal Church (also known as the Center Church or Old Church) was located on the south side of Ridge Rd. about a mile and a half from Webster Village. By the 1850’s, the church building was in need of many repairs. Its members decided to build two new church buildings, one in West Webster and one in the Village of Webster. In 1859, the church located on West Main St., changed its name to the Webster Methodist Episcopal Church. The Zion Church of the Evangelical Association formed in 1861 in a one-room sanctuary on Salt Rd. It relocated in 1881 to Ridge Rd., east of the village center. The present site at 169 East Main Street was dedicated in 1907. In 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist denominations merged.
In 1970, the United Methodist Church celebrated its 140th anniversary. The church directory highlighted families who had been members for 50 or more years including Bessie Phillips 72 yrs, Lloyd Herrick 72 yrs, Velma Hand 66 yrs, Howard Bobbebbkyst 65 yrs, Milton Hallauer 64 yrs, Edith Van Norman 64 yrs, Stella Hartung 63 yrs, Myra Burrow 59 yrs, Mae Francis 58 yrs, Lois Barringer 57 yrs, Lavina Schilleman 54 yrs, Josephine Andrews 50 yrs, Ronald Ebner 50 yrs, Adelaide Hallauer 50 yrs, Francis King 50 yrs and Constance Packard 50 yrs.
A final merger took place in 1972. The congregations of two Methodist Churches, one located on W. Main St. and one at 169 E Main St., joined together under the name of the United Methodist Church of Webster. In 1973, the building on W. Main St. was sold and opened as a new decorating center.
In February of 1994, a planning committee composed of Bruce Gerber, William Kelley, Henry Owens, Chris Provonzano, Eric Reed, Dave Whitlock and Harvey Wingate determined that renovations were needed to accommodate an ever-growing congregation. Architectural firm Bennetts, Turner and Huysman of Syracuse, NY was hired to draw up plans for an addition which would provide handicap accessibility, a large fellowship hall, a new kitchen, offices, food cupboard donation room, a bride’s room and a new counseling room to allow for private discussions and counseling. The project also included renovation of the church pipe organ. Groundbreaking took place on Easter Sunday April 4, 1995, with Rev Jack Brewster and many church members making first “digs” with shovels sprayed gold especially for the occasion. The church facilities were also used by the Webster Child Care Center; the renovations for the Child Care Center included space for babies and toddlers as well as space for preschool and kindergarten classrooms. The exterior of the addition was completed in October, 1995 at the cost of $925,556.59.
On Sunday, February 4, 1996 a consecration service was held following the worship service. The congregation followed the choir to the new fellowship hall where Bishop Hae-Jong Kim, Rev. James Pollard, and Rev. David Lubba assisted Rev. Jack Brewster in a ceremony which dedicated the addition to “mission in the community and in the service to all people”. The same afternoon Paul Staley, an accomplished recitalist and major refurbisher of the church’s Mohler organ, gave a recital to honor Helena Hilfiker, the church’s organist for 43 years. As part of the dedication a new song was commission and was played for the first time, “O Give Thanks to God” by Darlin Lewis. At that time the church membership included 850 members.
In 1998, Rev. Leland Carlson became the senior pastor. Under his leadership two additional changes were made to the church. In 1999, the front of the sanctuary was lowered to provide more visibility for the choir, and the organ was relocated to the right side of the sanctuary. During his tenure, Rev. Carlson started a contemporary worship service and began live-streaming worship services. In addition, a drama team was formed and presented annual Christmas and Easter pageants.
In 2004, the United Methodist Church of Webster joined six other churches in Webster [St Paul’s, Webster Baptist, Webster Presbyterian, Good Shepherd Episcopal, and Holy Trinity] to sponsored a Habitat for Humanity home. A second Habitat for Humanity project took place in 2006, with church members volunteering to work on fundraising and on the building of these homes.
In 2005, the church organized a resettlement team headed by Bob Van Alstyne. The program’s aim was to help the refugee families become self-sufficient within a six-month period. Fundraisers and preparations were made to support a new family with an apartment, employment, enrollment in school, completion of necessary paperwork, learning English, doctor appointments, and daily living skills.
In 2006, the church purchased the property directly west of the church [145 E. Main St] for $112,000.
In 2007, the United Methodist Church of Webster celebrated 100 years in its current building on E. Main St. A new hymn was commissioned for the celebration titled “Song of Blessing” by Lee Dengler. James Hall, representing the sixth generation of Hallauer/Hall families to attend the church, rang the church bell 100 times. A special
dinner and service were enjoyed by the congregation. Jean VerHow created 40 red vests for the children’s choir and two ceremonial banners for the festivities.
In 2008, the trustees, with the approval of the congregation, purchased the house adjacent to the church at 33-35 Curtice Park at the cost of $170,000.
In 2010, the United Methodist Church opened Outreach House. The church needed more space for community classes and events. Parenting classes, financial aid classes and other educational opportunities are some of the classes held here.
In 2015, Rev. Rick LaDue became the lead pastor of the church. Church attendance consisted of 420 people.
In 2017, the United Methodist Church of Webster celebrated its 185th anniversary with a plaque and recognition from the Webster Chamber of Commerce. Throughout its history the church has had a strong community outreach dedicated to helping others. Church members have been involved in helping refugees relocate and settle in Webster, delivering meals to the sick and elderly, and supporting many other mission programs. Today the church is involved in outreach supports groups including Al-anon, Nar-Anon, Parkinson’s Support group, YMCA before school care, Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, Grief Support Group, and Embracing Options. Church members help Webster adults get to appointments when they can no longer drive themselves. The church has plans to partner with Wesley United Methodist Church in Rochester arranging afternoon basketball practice and games for teens. UMC is also involved with global outreach programs including Operation Christmas Child, Haiti Mission Trips, Project Chacocente in Nicaragua.and UMCOR.
United Methodist Church – 169 E. Main St
|Rev. Leonard Hermann||1859-|
|Rev. Lewis Herman||1860-1862|
|Rev. Mr Herhr||1862-1864|
|Rev. Theobald Schneider||1864-1865|
|Rev. J. Shaaf||1864-1865|
|Rev. H. Fischer||1867-1868|
|Rev. A. Unholz||1868-1870|
|Rev. C. A. Weissemann||1870-1873|
|Rev. G. Frech||1873-1875|
|Rev. J. Grenzebach||1875-1878|
|Rev. A. Unholz||1878-1879|
|Rev. F. E. Hehr||1879-1880|
|Rev. F. Lohmeyer||1880-1883|
|Rev. J. Reuber||1883-1886|
|Rev. H. Koch||1886-1889|
|Rev. P. Spaeth||1889-1892|
|Rev. O. Schlenk||1892-1895|
|Rev. H. P. Merle||1895-1899|
|Rev. G. H. Gelser||1899-1902|
|Rev. W. Wagner||1902-1904|
|Rev. J. W. Schenk||1904-1905|
|Rev. G. C. Degen||1905-1907|
|Rev. L Heinmiller||1907-1912|
|Rev. J. C. Grenzebach||1912-1917|
|Rev. H. Rex||1917-1921|
|Rev. W. H. Seyfert||1921-1925|
|Rev. H. C. Haag||1925-1932|
|Rev. D. Schauss||1932-1944|
|Rev. J. D. Rein||1944-1952|
|Rev. S. B. Eckel||1952-1965|
|Rev. G. S. Boyer||1966-1968|
|Merged with Evangelical Brethren Church United Methodist||1968|
|Rev. G. S. Boyer||1968-1972|
|Rev. Luther M. Ridgeway (co-pastor)||1972|
|Rev. George Davis||1973-1983|
|Rev. James M. Pollard||1983-1987|
|Rev. Jack Brewster||1987-1998|
|Rev. Lee Carlson||1998-2015|
|Rev. Rick LaDue||2015-|
Webster United Methodist Church [First United Methodist] – 75 W. Main St.
|Rev. Luther T. Northway||1858-1860|
|Rev. Saml Nicholas||1860-1861|
|Rev. C. S. Brown||1861-1862|
|Rev. William Bradley and Rev. George Markham||1862-1863|
|Rev. William Bradley and Rev. George M. Chandler||1864-1866|
|Rev. M. S. Lett||1866-1867|
|Rev. John Spink||1867-1868|
|Rev. Charles S. Hermans||1868-1870|
|Rev. Dan’l S. Chase||1870-1872|
|Rev. Milton Hamblin||1872-1875|
|Rev. Thomas R. Stratton||1875-1877|
|Rev. Philo Cowles||1877-1878|
|Rev. Jas. D. Requa||1878-1879|
|Rev. Jas. Gosnell||1879-1881|
|Rev. John Dennis||1881|
|Rev. William H. Barnhart|
|Rev. Andrew Southerland||1884-1886|
|Rev. Paul Leiseuring||1886-1888|
|Rev. T. S. Green||1888-1891|
|Rev. T. C. Carson||1891-1896|
|Rev. W. H. Henderson||1896-1898|
|Rev. O. S. Chamberlayne||1898-1901|
|Rev. S. C. Farnham||1901-1902|
|Rev. John H. Stoody||1902-1908|
|Rev. W. A. Pattyson||1908-1910|
|Rev. J. Harrison Olmstead||1910-1913|
|Rev. George M. Harris||1913-1918|
|Rev. Guy Lawton||1918-1919|
|Rev. Raymond Brown||1919-1922|
|Rev. E.W. Middleton||1922-1925|
|Rev. R. E. E. S. Bascom||1926-1929|
|Rev. Lowell L. Rogers||1929-1932|
|Rev. Robert C Root||1933-1939|
|Rev. J. Harrison Olmstead||1939-1941|
|Rev. Richard Pitts|
|Rev. William Deighton||1945-1946|
|Rev. Edwin C. Holley||1947-1954|
|Rev. Arthur S. Wright||1955-1962|
|Rev. Edward Thorpe Read||1962-|
|Rev. Luther Ridgeway||1969-1972|
- Dunn, Esther, Webster Through the Years, Webster Town Board, Webster, NY, 1971 p. 73-76, 89-93.
- Webster Methodist Churches Boxes and Files, Webster Historian Office, Webster Museum, Webster, NY 2016.
- Young, Carole, Church Historian, United Methodist Church of Webster, “The United Methodist Church of Webster Recent History”, Webster, NY, 2018.
- “Thousands Join Hands in Merger of Churches”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, April 24, 1968, p 1A, 2A.
- “Methodist Church in Merger”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, March 8, 1972, p 8.
- “Church Expansion planned in village”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, October 5, 1994, p 1.
- Gertner, James, “Church Welcomes New Center, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, January 31, 1996, p 5.
- “Bishop Helps Open Addition, Webster Herald, Webster NY, March 8, 1972, p8.
- Calus, Jenifer, “UMC Pastor Retires”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY,July 1998, p 10.
- Metz, Ann, “Church to Adopt Refugee Family”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, September 14, 2005, p 5.
- Cobb, Caelyn, “Webster Community Coalition Supports Habitat”, Special Edition Webster Herald, Webster, NY, April 5, 2006, p 13.
- “Webster Church Celebrates Centennial”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, September 19, 2007, p 10.
- Brunner, Lily, “United Methodist Church of Webster 185 years of Outreach, Discipleship and Missions”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, September 6, 2017, p 1,11.
- Webster Chamber of Commerce, Business, Anniversary, “United Methodist Church of Webster Celebrates 185 years”, 2018, https://www.websterchamber.com/business/anniversary-recognition#United%20 Methodist%20Church%20of%20Webster
- United Methodist Church of Webster, Welcome to the United Methodist Church of Webster, 2018, https://www.umcwebster.org/