United Methodist churches in Albion, Holley vote to merge

Posted 25 April 2021 at 8:21 pm

Photos courtesy of Melissa Ierlan: The congregations of the United Methodist churches in Albion and Holley held a joint service today at the Disciples United Methodist Church in Holley/Clarendon on Route 237.

Article courtesy of Melissa Ierlan, Clarendon town historian

Linda Glantz (left) is the pastor for the two congregations. She is joined in addressing the congregation by Vonda Fossitt, the district superintendent.

CLARENDON – Religion was very important to the pioneers who made their way to the wilderness that was Orleans County in the early 1800’s. They brought their families and belongings to a strange place and the people who were their neighbors most likely were of similar circumstance and what brought them together was religion and hard work.

Today was history in the making as Albion First and Disciples United Methodist Churches came together to worship and to vote on the merger of the two congregations.

Albion and Holley have been faithfully serving their communities for many decades. Today District Superintendent Vonda Fossitt spoke to the two congregations. She oversees 100 churches including those in the Finger Lakes area and is the former pastor of the church in Albion.

“You will be embarking on a spiritual journey with this merger,”

Fossitt said. “I encourage you to learn how to hear God’s voice. God wants you to get this merger right and grow.”

Her message also included: “People should not lean on their own. Lean on God and listen to his voice. Trust in God and let him guide you.”

After the service was concluded Fossitt addressed the congregations and said: “Today is a big day, it is going to change your future and for me it’s a celebration.”

The congregations split up and went into separate rooms to conduct the vote. Pastor David Underwood spoke to and answered questions of the Disciples United Methodist congregation and District Superintendent Vonda Fossitt spoke to and answered questions of the Albion First United Methodist congregation.

They were instructed that they would be voting on the merger, a new name Disciples First United Methodist Church and on a new leadership council to carry out the legalities and paperwork.

The Disciples United Methodist congregation voted unanimously on the ballot to merge.

The Albion First United Methodist Church vote 15 yay and 1 nay to merge.

The two churches held a combined service for both congregations today.

The newly merged church, if accepted, will unite on the first Sunday of July. A celebration service is planned for July 11 at 10 a.m. with fellowship afterwards.

The period of time between the acceptance and the uniting celebration will be a time of preparation for the legalities of the merger. Each church will maintain its current status until the merger is completed.

The Albion congregation met for more than a century out of a building at the corner of Platt and East State Streets. It vacated that site in 2015, fearing the building faced a costly roof repair that church members said would take $1 million to fix. That proved too much for the congregation. The site has since been acquired by North Point Chapel.

The United Methodists in Albion started to share a building with the Episcopal congregation at Christ Church in Albion, before shifting to the same building with the Disciples congregation in Route 237.

Linda Glantz became pastor on July 1, 2016 of the United Methodist churches in Albion and Holley. For the first several years she went to both sites on Sunday mornings to lead services. Now the two groups will soon to be together as one body and for the same services.