Lowell United Methodist Church to celebrate bicentennial on Sunday

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WESTMORELAND — The Lowell United Methodist Church, located at 5840 Lowell Road, in Westmoreland (at the corner of Route 26 and Lowell Road), will hold a day of bicentennial celebrations on Sunday, Sept. 20, beginning with a historically accurate service at 9:30 a.m. and continuing with an afternoon of events beginning at 1 p.m.

Two hundred years ago the first religious services were held in Lowell. According to Westmoreland: 200 Years, the town’s official history book. The Methodists have had four buildings in Lowell. The first was built by an Independent Congregational Society in 1820, it was sold when membership in the church declined. The church was revived a short time after and another building was erected, this was torn down in 1895 to “make room for a more modern building.” That building burned to the ground in 1930, after which time the current church was built. 

“Sunday we are going to go back in history,” Pastor Fred Bailey says, “It makes me think of John Wesley [founder of Methodism], and one of the things that John Wesley said was ‘give me a dozen spirit-filled preachers, and I will change the world.’”

Bailey plans to deliver a historical revival-style Wesleyan sermon dressed as the religion’s spiritual founder during the church’s services at 9:30 a.m. This will also be streamed live on the church’s Facebook page. 

“The Word of God has been proclaimed for two hundred years and will be continued to be proclaimed until Jesus comes again,” Rev. Bailey says.

The Bicentennial program that will begin at 1 p.m. starts with a prayer by Rev. Fred Bailey, followed by a pledge of allegiance to the American flag then the Christian flag by Certified Lay Speaker, Wendy Grosjean. 

“The Pledge of Allegiance indicates that our Republic is to provide liberty and justice for all,” Anne-Louise Bailey says. “In Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address he declared that this ‘nation under God’ shall have a new birth of freedom. The Christian flag and pledge are meant to honor the Lord and remind us of our commitment to Him.” 

There will be a presentation on the history of Lowell and the Lowell United Methodist Church by Anne-Louise Bailey, the wife of Rev. of Fred Bailey, and by Ron Klopfanstein, the president of the Westmoreland Historical Society, and a columnist for the Clinton Record. 

“I love history, so I love these stories,” Anne Louise Bailey said in this week’s prayer meeting streamed live on Facebook. “I’ve been talking to older members about their memories so we can share them Sunday. I found papers giving the date the church property was purchased in the 1800s. How time has changed things!”

Keith Roux will participate in a dedication of the church’s new handicapped-accessible ramp in memory of his father, Jack Richard Roux, Sr. The Roux family was impressed with the church’s service and mission. 

“Keith and his sister, Lorelei donated it in memory of their father, Jack Richard Roux, Sr.,” Pastor Bailey says, “We’re thankful for the ease of access that it has brought and that all who seek God in this place of prayer may be able to enter and find it here.”

Following that, Rev. Bailey will give a tribute to John and Charles Wesley, brothers who lived in the early 18th century England who founded the Oxford University reform group that was the roots of the Methodist Church. He will also speak of the contribution and legacy of the people of the hamlet of Lowell and the pastors who ministered to them.

Attendees will then be invited to share their memories in an open mic style setting. The Fenner Voices for Christ, a local Christian musical group will perform. After which there will be tours of the church and the angel garden. There will be bottled water and individually wrapped snacks available 

The public is invited to both special events and required to wear masks or socially distance. The number of people inside the church at any one time will be limited to thirty-three percent capacity according to New York State regulations, guidance from the Upper New York State Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the Centers for Disease Control. For more information contact the church on Facebook or call 315-510-3464.

“This will be a spiritually uplifting event,” Anne-Louise Bailey promises. “It will be fun and exciting to remember the old days.”

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