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Holley Presbyterian Church celebrates 200 years

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 July 2019 at 8:18 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The Rev. Tom Gardner, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Holley, leads a special service on Sunday afternoon to celebrate the 200thanniversary of the church.

The service on Sunday included remarks from previous pastors of the church, including Bob Kaiser and Cheryle McCann.

There were magnets available for the church’s 200thanniversary. The church is located at 34 West Albion St.

A combined choir from the Albion and Holley Presbyterian churches sings “In One Accord” during the service. The Amadeus Chorale Youth Singers also participated in the service.

The Rev. Deb Swift, pastor of the South Presbyterian Church in Rochester, leads the group in a prayer. She also gave the sermon, “Ride Loose in the Saddle,” during the bicentennial celebration.

Swift leads a church on Mount Hope Avenue in Rochester that decided to sell its building in 2014. That has freed the congregation to have more focus on outreach and serving the community, rather than trying to attract people to a historic building for services. “Go out and be the church,” she said.

Swift said churches should be riding on the back of the Holy Spirit.

“Trust we’re on a ride and we might get jostled around a little bit, but we need to hold on to the reins,” she told about 75 people at the service.

Swift praised the courage and vision of the pioneers who established the congregation for the Holley community 200 years ago, back when the community was known as Saltport and the Erie Canal hadn’t opened yet. The canal was complete in 1825.

Sue Machamer played the organ during the service. The organ is from 1856 and was transported to Holley from Utica along the Erie Canal. Machamer said she has been playing the organ at the church, “for as long as I can remember.”

People stand for one of the hymns sung at the service.

Sue Machamer is pictured up by the organ before the start of the service.

A banner outside the church notes the Holley Presbyterian Church is 200 years old as a congregation this year. This summer the church services start at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays.

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