Maple Springs Union Church

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Through organizing and reorganizing, confusion was created as to the dates and order in which the Maple Springs Sunday School, Church and the Ladies Aid Society was formed.

The Maple Springs Sunday School was first organized in March, 1908. After a few weeks it became apparent the need for adult church services which were organized in May, 1908 by Rev. George B. Carr. The first officers of the church were: Clerk, Mrs. Leah H. Haskin; Treasurer, Leslie A. Wood; Advisory Committee to the pastor, Mrs. C. O. Bosworth and Mrs. Charles A. Weaver; Trustees, O. S. Lang, A. D. Rew and Frank Warner.

In December 1908, twelve ladies met at the home (the Maple Springs Store) of Mrs. C. O. Bosworth to organize a Ladies’ Aid Society. Mrs. Ida Weaver was chosen the first president.

The summer of 1909, Sunday School was held in the grove, near the location of the former Whiteside tennis courts. It was organized by: Mrs. James Winters, Mrs. Amanda Hanna, Robert Rasthorne, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Arnold and Mrs. C. O. Bosworth. Prof. Adams, a guest at the Whiteside, and a resident of Cleveland was the first Superintendent and Bert Arnold was Assistant Superintendent. Music was furnished at that time by Misses Margaret and Ida Arnold and Bertis Arnold, who accompanied with his violin. Charles Bosworth and James Winters carried chairs and planks for seats, and on rainy days sessions were held in the homes of Mrs. Winters and Mrs. Hanna.

The Maple Springs Sunday School was reorganized the first Sunday of January, 1913 by Oscar S. Lang with thirty present at this meeting. Great interest was shown with forty-four attending on some Sundays.

In 1915, a canvas was made for church members. May 2, 1915, was designated as Church Membership Day and 15 people were received into membership by Rev. Carr on profession of faith and by letter.

In 1911, the Ladies’ Aid Society had raised $100. They first thought of buying a tent for Sunday School purposes, as they had been holding Sunday School in the grove near by. As a result of this discussion, Mrs. Sarah Bemus, John H. Prather and Everett Johnson gave the lot on which the church now stands. Subscriptions of money and labor were solicited until enough was available for a building.

In 1911, a square building was started and finished in 1912 or 1913. This building was called an Assembly Hall, for all community social purposes. Bert A. Arnold, a summer resident, was head carpenter. On the building committee were: D. G. Wood, C. D. Haskin, C. O. Bosworth, Mrs. E. N. Newbury and Mrs. James Culver.

Dr. Charles Seabury Robertson came in May 1919. He sought the reorganization of the church, which took place in 1920, and also incorporated under the laws of New York State, July 14, 1920.

Previously, a questionnaire was sent to every interested person of the community to ascertain whether the church became a denominational church or not and the verdict was nearly unanimous for the Union Church. In 1921, the official board became the legislative body after reorganization, instead of the advisory board and Henry W. Flahaven was its chairman for several years.

On October 9, 1924, the Maple Springs Aid met with Mrs. Henry W. Flahaven and it was voted to build on to the front of the church. A committee consisting of Leslie Wood, Lester Townsend, Minnie Haskin, Claude Haskin and Alice Hambleton was appointed to oversee the work. The building was dedicated June 17, 1925. Rev. John Lee Buck, preached the sermon and Rev. James W. Frampton preached in the evening. Rev. Mr. Jones had charge of the whole affair.

In 1931, the Ladies’ Aid Society deeded the church to the Maple Springs Church Society and it was dedicated in June, 1931.

On May 15, 1938 the church held an inspirational service commemorating its 25th anniversary, attended by one-hundred persons.

The altar and platform were decorated with cut flowers and potted plants, done under the direction of Mrs. M. C. Bosworth, assisted by the Boy Scouts under the direction of Scoutmaster Emmett Townsend.

Rev. Charles Aldrich was the pastor and the service opened with a vocal duet by Mrs. Aldrich and Mrs. Winchester. Rev. Aldrich read the 90th Psalm and prayer was offered by Rev. M. V. Stone; Hymn, "The Church’s One Foundation", by the congregation; Welcome, by H. W. Flahaven; Duet, Mrs. C. S. Aldrich and Mrs. G. H. Winchester; Offertory Solo, Gens Sturup, accompanied by Nuna Sturup. Mrs. Bosworth gave a brief history of the Maple Springs Ladies’ Aid Society and called upon several of the original members who she asked to stand. There was a selection by the Junior Choir directed by Mrs. Winchester. Mrs. Ida Weaver gave a history of the church. A memorial tribute was given to Oscar Land and the four pastors who had passed on. As each name was called and the date and place of decease was given the Misses Onolee Stowell, Jean Lawson, Jean Haskin, Lois Haskin and Dorothy Smith, each in turn, placed a calla lily in a vase, making a beautiful bouquet for the center table when completed; Mrs. Weaver read greetings from Mrs. O. S. Lang of Orlando, Florida, who was a charter member, Mrs. Mabel Woodworth Johnson, Washington, D. C., and Mrs. Elmer Underwood. A sermon was given by Rev. E. H. Jones of Clarendon, Pa., who took his text from Phillipiana 3:14.

The salary paid the first Maple Springs pastor was $250 a year. Pastors who have served the Maple Springs Church are: The Rev. George B. Carr, who became the regular pastor in May 1913 to October 1915. He died August 6, 1920. The next pastor was Rev. Oliver Gornall from October 1915 to October 1918. He died July 14, 1922. The third pastor was C. G. Woodmansee who came in October 1918, but owing to the influenza epidemic his pastorate was only of about four month’s duration. He died October 9, 1925. He was followed by Dr. Charles Seabury Robertson, who came May 1919 and served to October 1921; Rev. Samuel T. Davison was pastor from October 1921 to October 1923; Dr. C. A. Williams from October 1923 to 1925, who died March 3, 1935; Rev. John Lee Buck from 1925 to 1928; Rev. James W. Frampton from 1928 to 1930; Rev. E. H. Jones from 1930 to 1935; Rev. E. V. Rupert from 1925 to 1937; Rev. Charles Aldrich from 1937 to 1940; Rev. Albert C. Howe from 1940 to 1944; Rev. R. J. Hurst 1944 - 1946; Rev. Herbert L. Schuckers 1940 to 1947; Rev. Dr. Lucius H. Bugbee, supply pastor every other Sunday, 1947 to 1948, with another supply pastor in between; Rev. Harold L. Knappenberger Jr 1948-1952; Rev. Norman McLean 1952 to 1956.

The Maple Springs Church was affiliated with the Bemus Point Church from the time Rev. George Carr was pastor until September 2, 1956, when the Rev. Nelson Miller, a retired Lutheran pastor who lived in Maple Springs, was asked to fill the pulpit. He served until November 25, 1956, when he passed away.

The Rev. Lawrence Barnard, retired district superintendent of Jamestown served from December 2, 1956 until August 1, 1959. The church then affiliated with Dewittville E. U. B. Church and the Rev. James Scott, served as pastor from August 1, 1959 until June 26, 1960.

The Rev. Wayne B. Ostrander came to the church July 3, 1960 and served until June 1964. Rev. Cecil Ross, July 1964 to 1966; Rev. Lawrence Lyman July 1966 to June 1969; Supply pastors, July and August 1969; Rev. Donald McEntire September 1969 to June 1971; Rev. Roger Winn June 1971 to June 1975; Rev. Roy Miller June 1975 to January 1977. The pastor in 1977 was Robert Gould.

On October 15, 1947 a new oil furnace was installed in the church.

In 1959 while Rev. Scott was pastor plans were started for an addition to the church.

In January 1960, while Wayne B. Ostrander was pastor, the church council and congregation met and decided an addition should be built on the rear of the building for additional Sunday School rooms and enlargement of the Church Sanctuary.

Excavation was done in May 1960 and the basement was built in the fall and winter of 1960 and 1961. The building was erected in the fall and winter of 1961 and 1962.

A fund drive in August 1960 was successful in securing the needed amount of pledges and contributions. All inside finishing work and painting, as well as the concrete steps, sidewalks, and tiling were done by volunteer labor.

The Board of Trustees during construction was made up of Richard Winchester, Chairman; Edward A. Bue, Mrs. Lawrence Johnson, Fenton Prittie Jr. and James Soule.

The church held its 50th Anniversary and Dedication Service of the new educational wing on May 5, 1963, with Rev. Wayne B. Ostrander, pastor and Mrs. Ralph Detrick, organist, as follows: Service of Worship: Prelude -- "Song of Adoration" -- Wilson: Choral Invocation Junior Choir: Gloria Patri: The Lord’s Prayer: Organ response: Hymn 75 "O, for a Thousand Tongues": Responsive Reading 524 "A Psalm of Praise": Morning Prayer: Choral response Junior Choir: Offertory "Priceless Treasure": Doxology Prayer: Announcements: Solo -- "Bless This House" Mr. Beardsley: Scripture Lesson: Hymn 337 "Savior Like a Shepard Lead Us" : Message by Rev. Charles Aldrich: Hymn 252 "A Charge To Keep I Have": Benediction: Congregational Response.

Following the morning service open house and lunch was served in the new social rooms. The Ladies’ Aid Society under Mrs. Martin Walsh, President, served. Mrs. Arthur Lawson and Mrs. Leslie A. Wood poured.

The dedication service was held at 2:30 as follows: Organ Prelude: Invocation by Rev. Norman McLean, Westfield Methodist Church; Statement of Purpose by representative from the Board of Trustees: Hymn 140 "The Church’s One Foundation": Responsive Reading by Rev. James Scott of the Stillwater E.U.B. Church: History of the Church read by Mrs. Lucia Wood: Anthem "My Prayer" by the combined junior and senior choirs led by Mrs. Carlton Winchester: Ministers Comments, each pastor gave a three-minute talk on reminiscences of his pastorate at Maple Springs; Scripture Lesson Prov. 3:13-18 and Matt. 7:24-27 read by Rev. Norman McLean: Prayer led by Rev. James Scott: Service of Dedication conducted by Rev. Charles Aldrich: The trustees standing say: This building is presented to you, to be dedicated to the service of almighty God in the enlightenment of his children: The officiating office pronounces the following declaration: Building erected for service in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, rightly and properly should be formally and devoutly set apart for their special uses. For such a dedication we are now assemble. The Dedication of this building is vain without the solemn consecration of those whose gifts and labors it represents. We, therefore, now give ourselves anew to the service of God: our labor, that it may be according to God’s holy will, and that its fruit may tend to the glory of His Name and the advancement of his Kingdom; our bodies, that they may be fit temples for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; our souls, that they may be renewed after the image of Christ.

The Dedication -- congregation standing.... In the name of God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we dedicate this building to the Holy ministry of Christian education. Let all the people say: Amen.

We dedicate this building to the growth in Christlikeness and in spiritual power of all those who shall seek Christian guidance in this place. Let all the people say: Amen.

We dedicate this building to the continual search for abundant life that is in Christ, both for each individual and for the world. May all that is done within these walls rebound to the honor and glory of God in unfolding human life. Let all the people say: Amen.

Prayer of Dedication by Rev. Aldrich: Hymn 8 "All Hail the Power": Benediction.

The education wing comprises three Sunday School rooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a church parlor, closets, cloak rooms, and the rest rooms.

Two large baskets of flowers were given by New Bauer Electric Company and Smith Brothers Heating Company.

About 100 persons attended including friends from New Kenslington, Johnsonburg, Beaver Falls, Philadelphia, Pa., Cleveland, Fredonia, and Jamestown. Refreshments were served by Mrs. C. H. Winchester and Mrs. Ralph Detrick.

During the following years the church found it more and more difficult to find pastors to occupy the pulpit. Gradually membership declined and financial problems were encountered. Finally in 1999 the Maple Springs Union Church was sold to individuals who remodeled the old structure into a house.

This church history was made possible through the help and kindness of Mrs. Ruth Bergstrom Trummer, court records, scrap books, the church book owned by Miss Elizabeth Crocker, and Prendergast Library microfilm.

SOURCE: Loraine C. Smith, Town of Ellery Historian. 2003.