Andes United Methodist to celebrate
Andes — The Andes United Methodist Church had its beginnings in 1812, when local resident Israel Chapman hosted “Methodist Society” meetings in his home. In those days, many societies gathered throughout the area, in people’s homes, for prayer and Bible study.
These groups had no regular clergy, although there were “circuit riders” who traveled throughout Delaware and adjoining counties, to lead services. There were no organized churches, but these society meetings became the foundation for establishment of future churches in the circuits.
Even after churches were built in many communities, the denomination still depended on the circuit riders, many of whom were unordained lay speakers. This remained the case in Andes for many years.
The Andes church was officially founded in 1830, but since the society came into being in 1812, current leaders of the church had initially planned to have a 200th anniversary celebration in 2012. They wanted to invite the resident bishop of the New York Annual Conference, but 2012 was also the year that a new bishop was appointed to the conference, so they had to change the date to allow him to acclimate to the conference.
After consultation with the new bishop, Rev. Martin McLee and his staff, the date of Sunday, April 21 was agreed upon. Bishop McLee will be the principal speaker for the occasion. The program will begin at 3 p.m., with a time of fellowship.
The worship service will be at 4 p.m., with Bishop McLee preaching, and Holy Communion will be served. Rev. James W. Moore, the superintendent of the Catskill Hudson District and the church’s current pastor, Rev. L. Lawrence Dunlap, will also have roles in the service.
The service will feature music by a combined choir from the Upper Catskills Larger Parish, of which the church is a part, and will be directed by professional musician Kent Brown of Margaretville. Several former pastors of the church will be in attendance, and will also be participating. Letters will be read from former pastors who are unable to attend.
Following the service, there will be a meal, prepared by the church’s United Methodist Women. That organization, originally a “Ladies Auxiliary,” and later, the “Women’s Society for Christian Service,” has been active in the church since 1899.
Everyone is invited to attend the celebration.