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Historical Timeline

  • 1700s. The history of Schoharie United Presbyterian Church parallels closely the history of the town of Schoharie and, indeed, the entire region. Our story begins with the first Palatines settling at “Fountain Village,” so called because of the many springs found there. These Palatines were Lutherans, and in those days, it was the Lutheran custom for a layman to conduct religious services and read a sermon from an approved collection in the absence of a minister. The Palatines worshiped in this way for over 30 years before Rev. Peter Sommer became the first pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.
  • 1711 – Palatines arrive in Schoharie as the first white settlers.
  • 1731 – Rev. Willem Berkenmeyer, serving in Albany and Athens, visits Schoharie from time to time, preaching and administering the sacraments.
  • 1734 – Rev. Berkenmeyer reports that worship in Schoharie is being held in a “Schuur ” (barn-like building).
  • May 1743 – Rev. Peter Nicolas Sommer becomes the first pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Schoharie.
  • 1743 – The parsonage is built. Worship is held in the lower portion of the building (which still stands, and is known as the Palatine House, the oldest building in the county).
  • July 1743 – Communion is held for the first time; 200 communicants were present.
  • 1751 – The Old Stone Church is finished and consecrated in May. It was located in what is now the Lutheran Cemetery.
  • 1789 – Rev. Sommer retires at the age of 80. He died in 1795.
  • 1790 – Rev. Anthony Theodore Braun becomes pastor of the church. He declares the people of the congregation to be “a rough and wild people.”
  • 1795 – Old Stone Church is torn down, and its foundation stones preserved and moved. Rev. Sommer dies at age 86.
  • 1800s. As the congregation approached the 19th century, plans for a new church were made and the Red Brick Church on Main Street was built. Over the century to come, the church would be home to several different pastors, and many changes were made to the church over time.
  • 1795-96 – Rev. Dr. Frederick H. Quitman becomes pastor. The Red Brick Church is built using foundation stones from the Old Stone Church. According to local tradition, the new church was built on the site of the first school in Schoharie (built in 1740).
  • 1799 – Pastor Braun is recalled for three years.
  • 1800 – Original bell is installed in present bell tower.
  • 1805 – Rev. Augustus Wackerhagen is installed as pastor. The manse on Main Street was built in 1801 for him.
  • 1816 – John Molther becomes pastor. It is said that he was removed by the Lutheran Synod in 1818 on account of his “dissipation.”
  • 1819 – George James Lintner, DD becomes pastor.
  • 1836 – Extensive changes are made to the church building, including windows in the east and west walls, a gallery erected along the east and south walls, and doorways cut through the south wall on either side of the bell tower.
  • 1850 – James R. Keiser becomes pastor.
  • 1857 – Rev. Edmund Belfour is ordained in the church. He was instrumental in getting eight saloons in town to close.
  • 1868 – Jacob H. Heck becomes pastor.
  • 1881 – Pew doors are removed, central heating installed, and the original organ is replaced.
  • 1882 – Edwin Heyl Delk becomes pastor.
  • 1886 – Charles Edward Keller becomes pastor.
  • 1890 – Laurent D. Wells becomes pastor.
  • 1896 – Stained glass windows replace the old-fashioned square window panes. Rounded pews and a Gothic entrance are installed.
  • 1896 – A centennial celebration of the church is held; Rev. Belfour returns to the church and gives an address, “Historical Sketch of the Red Brick Church in Schoharie, New York.”
  • 1898 – G.D. Dell becomes pastor.
  • 1900s. The 1900s saw drastic changes in the way the church identified itself, as it combined with other churches during World War I, and later became a Community Church. In 1960 the church voted to adopt the Presbyterian denomination, and in the 1960s-90s was part of a yoked parish with several other area towns.
  • 1903 – Charles Karg becomes pastor.
  • 1917 – Electric lights are installed.
  • 1918 – George Becker is installed as pastor. Schoharie’s three Protestant churches, the Lutheran, the Methodist and the Reformed, unite in a “federation,” in which each would keep its identity, for the duration of World War I.
  • 1920 – A. V. Patton is installed as pastor.
  • 1920 – Community Church of Schoharie, Inc. is established, joining the members of the Lutheran and Methodist churches. The Methodist church building was used as a fellowship hall and Sunday School building until it was razed around 1960. The Meneely bell from the Methodist Church belfry is mounted in front of the present Christian Education Building.
  • 1924 – J.H. McConnell Becomes pastor.
  • 1932 – George Kyle becomes pastor.
  • 1940 – Interior repairs and redecorations are made to the church, and the large chandelier is removed.
  • 1946 – Walter B. Jerge becomes pastor.
  • 1956 – George Doherty becomes pastor.
  • 1960 – The congregation votes to adopt the Presbyterian denomination. Thomas Hedges becomes pastor.
  • 1961 – The congregation votes to convey the Palatine House to the Schoharie Colonial Heritage Association.
  • 1964 – The Christian Education Building is built and dedicated.
  • 1966 – The congregation votes to merge with the Esperance Church as part of the Larger Parish program. The Larger Parish consists of five churches: Breakabeen, Carlisle, Esperance, North Blenheim and Schoharie.
  • 1971 – Rev. Robert Smith installed as pastor. (Rev. Smith is now Pastor Emeritus of SUPC.)
  • 1975 – Church youth group travels to Scotland.
  • 1978 – There is a fire in the sanctuary; renovations and redecorating follow.
  • 1983 – Presbytery approves the dissolution of the yoked relationship between Carlisle and Esperance and Schoharie.
  • 1986 – Church youth group helps with flood cleanup in West Virginia.
  • 1987 – Church youth group travels to Florida to help with a Habitat for Humanity project. Richard Frazier becomes interim pastor.
  • 1989 – Rev. Kay Leining-Truax becomes pastor, and serves during the 200th
  • anniversary of the church.
  • 1997 – Presbytery approves dissolution of the yoked relationship between the Breakabeen-North Blenheim Church and Schoharie.
  • 1999 – Organ restoration completed and church carillon replaced.
  • 2000 – Richard Hill installed as pastor.
  • 2010 – Rev. Bebb Wheeler Stone becomes interim pastor.
  • Aug. 28, 2011 – Hurricane Irene strikes, causing floods that sent five to six feet of water into the sanctuary, manse and Christian Education Building.
  • Aug. 29, 2011 – The recovery begins.
  • Feb. 16, 2014 -- Rev. Brandan Scott Eddy begins as Pastor.
  • May 28, 2016 -- Schoharie Presbyterian partners with Schoharie Reformed, Schoharie Lutheran, and Schoharie Promotional Asscociation to dedicate Church Labyrinth Reflection Area to launch the Schoharie Lilly Park.
  • Sept. 2016 -- SUPC partners with Schoharie Reformed to launch the Christian After-School Program as a community outreach ministry.
  • July 1, 2017 -- Schoharie United joins with Carlisle Presbyterian to form the Schoharie Presbyterian Greater Parish. Rev. Bert Mayne retires and becomes Parish Associate.
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