The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

July 13, 2013

Elm Park Church dedicated 95 years ago


A banquet took place on Friday, July 12, and dedication services followed on Sunday morning. The church opened with a membership of about 60, with Rev. J.C. Johnson as pastor. The sanctuary could comfortably seat 350. As described by the Star, it “is well adapted to the needs of that section of the city for years to come.”

Sixty of them, in fact. It was reported on Nov. 23, 1977, that the congregation of the church had accepted final plans for construction of a new church building for $450,000. It called for a one-level building of 13,700 square feet with a centralized sanctuary to seat 300. Several new rooms were planned that the old church didn’t have.

Pastor of the church, the Rev. Rees Warring, said the new church would also serve as a community center, serving various needs in Oneonta’s West End.

“The new church is needed,” he said, “because of an increased congregation size and the expanding community programs of the church.” Such programs have included bloodmobile activities, senior citizen nutrition programs, Bible schools, and a voting center.”

The last service at the old church was Easter Sunday, March 26, 1978. Services were held at the Anderson Center for the Arts at Hartwick College while the new church was built. Passers-by watched on Friday, July 22, as the church was demolished. The parsonage was moved to a location about a block away on Ceperley Avenue. The entire construction project, including a new parsonage and parking lot, actually came to nearly $700,000.

The congregation celebrated the first worship service in the new church on Sunday morning, March 4, 1979. That same afternoon, Bishop James M. Ault was on hand to consecrate the building.

On Monday: Worrisome economic times in Norwich in 1993.

City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at His website is His columns can be found at

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