First UMC in Oneida receives Sacred Sites Grant


ONEIDA — The New York Landmarks Conservancy has announced 17 Sacred Sites Grants totaling $267,000 awarded to historic religious properties throughout New York State — including $25,000 to the First United Methodist Church in Oneida to help fund the first, most urgent phase of comprehensive masonry restoration.

Oneida First United Methodist Church, a neo-Gothic church clad in red St. Lawrence granite ashlar, was designed by central New York architects Van Deusen and Tallman and constructed in 1926.

The church complex is a contributing component of the Main-Broad-Grove Streets National Register Historic District; a residential district developed between 1830 and 1930.

“Our grantees help maintain these vital institutions as they serve their congregations and communities,” said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

“The social service programs these grantees provide reached more than 175,000 persons during these difficult days.”

The building remains open despite the pandemic, with distancing requirements reducing numbers slightly. Karing Kitchen uses the social hall for serving 400 families to-go meals one week a month and special meals during the holidays.

There is a weekday pre-school, a weekly gamelan instrumental group, a knitting group, annual community craft-days open houses, annual coat and toy donation drives, community blood drives, a local Historical Society art program, and seven recovery groups, including AA, NA, and Gamblers Anonymous groups.

The church is the site of an annual sober New Year’s celebration for its many recovery group members. Together, outreach programs serve 4,000 individuals annually.

The Sacred Sites Program provides congregations with matching grants for planning and implementing exterior restoration projects, along with technical assistance and workshops.

Since 1986, the program has pledged 1,578 grants totaling more than $14.9 million to 836 religious institutions statewide. The New York Landmarks Conservancy, a private non-profit organization, has led the effort to preserve and protect New York City’s architectural legacy for nearly 50 years.

Since its founding, the Conservancy has loaned and granted more than $54 million, which has leveraged more than $1 billion in 1,850 restoration projects throughout New York, revitalizing communities, providing economic stimulus, and supporting local jobs.

The Conservancy has also offered countless hours of pro bono technical advice to building owners, both nonprofit organizations and individuals.

The Conservancy’s work has saved more than a thousand buildings across the City and State, protecting New York’s distinctive architectural heritage for residents and visitors alike today and for future generations.

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