United Methodist congregations in Albion, Clarendon celebrate merger

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 July 2021 at 2:54 pm

Church will meet at Clarendon location and be known as Disciples First United Methodist

Photos by Tom Rivers

CLARENDON – Randy Moore pulls the cover off the new sign for a merged church – Disciples First United Methodist Church, which brings together the Disciples UM Church and the Albion First UM Church.

Moore, a member of the board of trustees for Disciples, was joined by Leslee Lockwood of the Albion congregation in unveiling the sign at about 11:30 a.m. after the first service of the newly merged church.

Leslee Lockwood and Randy Moore cut the ribbon on the new sign for the church on Route 237, south of the Village of Holley.

The two congregations have been sharing a pastor for nine years. The pastor previously would travel to Albion and then to Clarendon for services until the Albion members started attending the Clarendon site about 18 months ago.

The two congregations each voted on April 25 to formally merge. Today was the first service for the merged group.

Linda Glantz is the church’s pastor. During her sermon today she spoke about Lego toy blocks, which are simple plastic bricks but can be used to build elaborate structures.

“They have a basic design, but the magic is in the way they fit together,” she said. “They are designed to be connected.”

Glantz said the new church is stronger with both congregations together. Disciples First UMC will have a focus on three core values of faith, family and friends.

“God created us for community,” she said. “Like Legos we are designed to fit together.”

James Shaw, a Boy Scout in Troop 59, served as a acolyte this morning and lit one of the candles at the altar. The church has been a longtime sponsor of a Boy Scout troop.

Vonda Fossitt, the district superintendent and former pastor of Albion First UMC, speaks during the service today with lay leaders from each congregation – Christine Shade of Disciples and Rachel Marasco of Albion First. Fossitt said Disciples First United Methodist Church “is duly organized for the glory of God, the proclamation of the gospel, and the service of humanity.”

In addition to unveiling the new sign, the church planted a maple tree on the lawn.

Richard Moy (left), Clarendon town supervisor, joined in the celebration today and helped plant the tree. Terry Wilbert of the Albion First UMC is back in center and Randy Moore, right, guides the tree into the ground. Moore, 45, has attended the church since he was 9.

Marcy LaPenna served bowls of ice cream while other church members prepared popcorn, hot dogs and other food for a picnic for about 75 people.