For 40 years, the “church on the hill” has been there for parishioners and community members alike.
This Sunday, the Whitehall United Methodist Church will celebrate 40 years in its Greenmount Lanehome.
“It will be exciting to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the church here on the hill,” said UMC Pastor the Rev. Ginny Deyo. “The members have been working hard and are looking forward to the event. We have been very busy planning for everything and sprucing up the grounds.”
The ceremonies will start at 10:30 a.m. with a worship service, followed by the dedication of a new flag for the site and a roast beef dinner and fellowship time.
“We hope that everyone in the community will come out and help us celebrate,” said Deyo. “We are going to celebrate 40 years being up here and doing the ministry and being in the community.”
The story of the Whitehall United Methodist Church started in the early 19th century.
“The original church here was started in 1822,” said Deyo. “In 1968, the original church on Broadway was condemned because the train coming through had shook the foundations.”
Needing to move and holding services on the interim at the Masonic Lodge, local farmer Handford Austin helped out in the form of his land.
“The land here was donated to us by Austin,” said Deyo. “The first service that we ever held here was the wedding of his son. This used to be property that was part of his farm.”
Deyo added that at one point, one of the many mansions that used to dot the landscape of Whitehall was located on the hill, although she did not know much about its history.
“There used to be a big house here that was known as Cooke’s Mansion, but they do not have many pictures from back then and I have not been able to find much information on it,” said Deyo.
Once the land was donated, the church went about building its new home for worship and had it finished enough to start holding services in May of 1969. The building was dedicated for the ministry on June 29, 1969.
“Bill Lasher was the reverend here when the building was dedicated, and he will be here for the service along with his wife,” said Deyo
Along with Lasher, Deyo said, there will be several former pastors in attendance, along with town and village dignitaries, the UMC district superintendent and Albany Episcopal Area Bishop Susan W. Hassinger.
“A lot of our members cannot remember the last time that a bishop visited us here,” said Deyo. “We are looking forward to her coming and preaching at the service.”
For more information on the Whitehall United Methodist Church’s 40th anniversary celebration on Sunday, June 28, contact Deyo at 499-0851.