POND EDDY, NY — Congregants, past congregants, friends and other well-wishers all gathered on October 24 to reflect on the past and rededicate their “hearts, lives and the …
POND EDDY, NY — Congregants, past congregants, friends and other well-wishers all gathered on October 24 to reflect on the past and rededicate their “hearts, lives and the sanctuary” at the Pond Eddy UMC as the church marked 160 years of ministry in the Town of Lumberland.
The day began with the regularly scheduled 10 a.m. worship service led by Pastor Nancy Vonderhorst, and was followed by a catered lunch, talks by historians and special music.
Vonderhorst reminded those gathered that “the world changes but God does not. The message is still ‘Go and make disciples.’ And so we shall. Our world is changing and we need to change with it. But God is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
During the lunch prepared by Konrad’s Kitchen in Yulan, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther stopped in to share well wishes.
Then the group reassembled in the sanctuary to enjoy a history lesson provided by Norma Schadt and Frank Schwarz, historians for the towns of Deerpark and Lumberland respectively.
Schadt explained that the spiritual needs of the early inhabitants of the Delaware River Valley were ministered to by circuit-riding preachers who traveled from outpost to outpost on foot, sometimes by horse, often covering 20 to 40 miles and preaching three or four times each Sunday as well as every night in the week. For his services, the minister earned about $100 in salary and $10-$25 in travel expenses annually.
The growth in the area that resulted from the creation of the D&H Canal caused the expanding communities to establish formal houses of worship. Pond Eddy UMC was one of those churches, founded in 1861.
Schwarz’s remarks concentrated on the establishment of the original church building and congregation on Berm Church Road and the subsequent location of the current church building in 1882. The building was erected at the cost of $1000 and the remaining debt of $300 was paid off at the 1883 dedication ceremony through church offerings. Some of the interior furnishings of the sanctuary date back to that time.
Recognizing the church’s rich history of service to the community, Vonderhorst led the joyful congregation to “dedicate ourselves anew to the worship and service of Almighty God, through our witness for Jesus Christ in the world.”
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