Varna Church to Celebrate 94th Birthday
Located in the Town of Dryden

Transcribed from an old newspaper clipping for the

Tompkins County NYGenWeb

Dinner Set for Friday Date Unknown

Special Services Planned Sunday - Two Former Pastors To Take Part

District Superintendent Toastmaster

With a dinner Friday evening and special Sunday Services, the Varna Methodist Episcopal Church will celebrate its 94th anniversary. The Rev. Samuel G. Houghton district superintendent, will serve as dinner toastmaster. The Sunday morning sermon will be preached by Dr. P. H. Riegel, that in the evening by the Rev. A. L . Taylor. Both Doctor Riegel and the Rev. Mr. Taylor are former pastors. The present pastor is the Rev. Orson M. Case.

The anniversay committee appointed by the official board consisted of Jay Crutts, Mrs. Hattie Cornelius, Mrs. Edith Lamkin, and Miles Brown. The history of the church was compiled by Mrs. Cornelius.

The historical sketch states: "The history of this church may well be divided into five distinct divisions. Those periods are birth and babyhood, youth, maturity, family troubles, and modern life." From 1832, religious services were held in a schoolhouse and Varna was a point on the Slaterville circuit. In 1848 Varna became the main point with Etna on a separate charge.

Church Formed in 1842

On Jan. 5, 1842, a meeting at the schoolhouse incorporated a religious society. Seven trustees were elected and the name, First Methodist Episcopal Church of Varna was selected. A subscription list yielded $1,420.75 with 80 subscriptions. The church was completed that same year.

The second period covered the years from 1848, when Etna became a member of a charge with Varna, until 1875, when Free Hollow (Forest Home) became a point on the Varna charge.

The third period (full maturity) was from 1875 to 1898. "It might be said Varna and Etna have now become a parent charge, with two offsprings, Free Hollow and Ellis." The Church reached out into other communities, largely though her pastors.

Ties Severed

Etna departed in 1898. In 1914 Forest Home severed her maternal ties with Varna and "became companionably associated with First Church, Ithaca, for a time." Also all monies accrued from sale of property at Etna was assimilated by the Annual Conference according to requirements of Methodist law. The Rev. C. G. McConnell, at Varna, went with that portion severed from Varna to the new ties with Ithaca First Church.

The Church has had 48 pastors

The highest membership has been 149

Pastors have preformed 156 marriage ceremonies

Transcribed by Janet M. Nash

Copyright 2000 by Janet M. Nash All Rights Reserved

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