The Story of the North Main Street United Methodist Church
North Main Street United Methodist Church in Gloversville, New York traces its beginnings to the Reverend John Wesley, founder of Methodism, who began his work in England in the 1720’s. He spread his “method” of religion, “faith is a constant trust in the mercy of God toward us,” to the new world at the time of the birth of the United States of America. The Reverend Freeborn Garretson converted to Methodism in 1775 and brought Wesley’s “faith combined with works” to upstate New York. In 1791 he reported a Methodist chapel being erected one mile northwest of Kingsborough (on today’s Phelps Street). Thus, North Main’s beginnings go back more than two hundred years.
The First United Methodist Church was organized in 1838 in “Stump City” which later became Gloversville. The church building was dedicated in 1870. By 1875 the church was overflowing and another church, the Fremont Street United Methodist Church, was organized. The growth continued and in the spring of 1885 a group met after the morning service to organize the Kingsborough Methodist Episcopal Mission of the First Methodist Church. They met in homes in the Kingsborough section of Gloversville and, with the addition of more members, a tent was erected on Seventh Avenue.
Taking a message from Nehemiah 4:6 “for the people had a mind to work,” Pastor Richard Wade told the Kingsborough Methodists, “Brethren, you can go down there and sit on the fence and pray to doomsday and you won’t build a chapel. You must work as well as pray.” (And they did!) By 1887, a chapel was erected on the site of today’s parsonage. The North Main Street United Methodist Church was formally organized on February 21, 1888, with forty-eight members and the construction of a building was begun in 1890. It took ten years to complete with donors paying ten dollars for each brick.
The large round window above the balcony was presented to the church by the building contractor, John K. Dye. The organ was purchased by a gift from philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, and with matching funds from members and the Yokefellows, the men’s club. The Yokefellows also purchased the church bell and hauled it by wagon from the train station in 1910. In 1950 the cornerstone was laid for the education building with a fellowship hall. The elevator was installed on February 12, 1961 and was the only Methodist Church outside of New York City to have one at the time.
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