In Proverbs we read, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Surely back in 1820, when our church was organized, people in Camden had a vision. That vision has continued throughout the years; and because of this, we enjoy our beloved church today. May we hold to this vision so that greater things will continue to happen in the years to come in our Camden United Methodist Church.
In 2014, many friends from the United Church of Camden joined us after the closing of their own church home. They are definitely a welcome addition to our church family!
Here is a timeline of our church history up to 1970:
1820 Methodist Episcopal Society formed in the village of Camden, New York.
1822 Church building 40′ x 50′ built on a lot across from the public square. The contractor’s name was Mr. Joel Smith.
1823 Church dedicated.
1831 Sunday School organized to hold meetings during the summer months.
1837 Sunday School began holding meetings during winter as well as summer months.
1843 First parsonage was erected.
1851 Old church sold because it was too small.
1852 Construction on new church began in June and was dedicated on December 22.
1888 Church remodeled by removing the gallery from the front of the church, taking the old tower off and building a new tower on the southwest corner. An extension was built on the rear providing an enlarged chapel and a kitchen.
1893 A new parsonage was built.
1898 New oak pews were purchased to replace the old uncomfortable ones in preparation for the Annual Conference to be held in Camden.
1923 New oak floors, new lighting, walls redecorated and a pipe organ were added to the church sanctuary.
1954 Walker Memorial Hall added to south side of the church. Consecrated on November 28, cost: $21,073.89.
1963 Land purchased on Main Street as site for the new church from Mr. Lorimer Rich who was named architect. The general contractor was to be Mr. Joseph Smith (note contractor’s name in 1822).
1966 Howlett property adjoining the new church property on the north was purchased at a cost of $4,000.
1968 The contract was signed in June and work was started immediately. The church cornerstone was laid on October 20.
1969 April 27 at 3:00 p.m. with some 550 in attendance, the new church building was consecrated with Bishop W. Ralph Ward and former pastors in attendance.
1970 The 150th Anniversary of our church was celebrated in October. Friday, October 2: Family dinner at the church with many former ministers who had served our church was our guests of honor. Following the dinner the Youth Fellowship presented a dramatization depicting scenes of our church history. Saturday, October 3: An old-fashioned hymn sing was held with the choir and congregation singing many of the old hymns of Methodism.
1970 Sunday, October 4: A beautiful fall day and many folks walked to church. Some dressed in the styles of 1800’s and our minister and his family arrived at church in a horesedrawn carriage. The pastor of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Camden assisted our pastor in this anniversary service.
THE SANCTUARY CROSS
The cross is made of hand-hewn timber that is over 100 years old. The beams came from the barn of Glenn Dawley in McConnellsville. It is believed that the barn was one of the oldest buildings in the village of McConnellsville. The beams were given to the church in anticipation that they would be used in the new building. The cross was made and hung by Mr. Richard Coe and Mr. H. Roy Orton. It is our sincere hope that through the years this cross will be a lasting reminder of the “Old Rugged Cross.”
THE SANCTUARY ORGAN
The organ was removed from the old building and rebuilt. The console is new with pipes, but the chest came from the old organ. The chest was completely rebuilt and electrified. The chimes were moved from the old church building.
THE MUSIC RACK
The hymnal/choir folder cabinet in the Choir Room was constructed by Mr. H. Roy Orton. It is made of usable parts of the wood that was in the old organ console in the old church. This is truly a beautiful piece of furniture that will be a constant reminder of the first organ installed in the old church building.