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Lancaster Calvary Baptist Church

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In the year 1895 a Sunday School was organized in the store at the corner of Laverack Avenue and Sturm Place, Lancaster, N. Y. under the supervision of Mr. Volney P, Kinney, a loyal Baptist Layman. Mr. Kinney was supported by a group of Baptists who were desirous of giving their time and talent to the children of the North community of Lancaster which was then under construction of many new homes.

Under the guidance of these men and women the children were taught the love of the Lord Jesus for all of humanity, the School began with an enrollment of 80 with an average attendance of 60. Their first assembly began August 11, 1895 and grew in numbers during the following years.

The following May, a meeting of the men and women of the Baptist faith were called to discuss the advisability of organizing a Baptist Church and 20 people assembled. It was the unanimous conclusion that the church be organized and to call upon Baptist families for their support in the Village of Depew nearby.

Rev. J. A. Heath presided and Volney P. Kinney was elected as secretary. On motion duly made and seconded it was carried that the First Baptist Church of Lancaster, N. Y. was organized by those present who were members of good standing of Baptist churches elsewhere. The following names were signed as the organizers of this church: Oliver D, Seitz, Volney P. Kinney, Gertrude A, Kinney, Annie Stoddard, Rosalie Alvord, Philip Alvord, Sarah J. Baughan, Mary E. Eldridge, Amos J. Sider, Maggie Sider, Victor R. Pratt, Sr., Georgiarxna Pratt, Clara Pratt, Victor R. Pratt, Jr., Algernon S. Pratt and George H. Pratt. Volney P. Kinney was elected the first deacon and Amos J. Sider was elected second as deacon, church clerk Victor R. Pratt, treasurer Oliver D. Seitz.

June 17th, 1896, it was decided to call a council of Baptist Churches of the Buffalo Baptist Association for recognition and affiliation as a regular Baptist Church and that this service be held Thursday, June 25th, 1896, afternoon and evening. The clerk was instructed to send a letter of invitation to all Baptist churches in the Buffalo Baptist Association inviting the pastor and two delegates to attend the council. On June 24th, 1896 by unanimous vote, the Church adopted the Declaration of Faith written by Dr, J. Newton Brown and published by the American Publication Society. In September of 1896, Rev, Mr. Farquette was called and accepted the pastorate in succession to Rev. J. A. Heath who had resigned three weeks before. During the past year, 28 joined with the church membership.

In 1898 the church came into possession of its present location at the corner of Caswell Street and Laverack Avenue was purchased thru Mr. F. Mason Hayes. The present church edifice was erected the same year on this lot 101 by 165 feet at a cost of nearly $15,000,00 An organ was presented to the church to help in the church services.

The membership at this time stood at 31 members and at the opening of the new church building faced a debt of $4,000.00 mortgage at five per cent. In 1901 the church membership rose to 61 and the Sunday School 90 with an average attendance of 70. Mr. Kinney was the superintendent for the first 16 years. In 1902 one of the chief industries dosed up its plant here and many families moved away depleting the church membership and a heavy indebtedness to be faced by the remainder. The New York State Baptist Missionary Convention came to the church's aid and helped by paying half the debt.

Mr, Kinney and his wife moved to Buffalo, in September, 1911, and took their membership to First Baptist Church there. Both had given themselves to the organizing and development of the church and Sunday School. The church missed them greatly and their influence in the community.

From 1905 the Sunday School showed a prosperous condition and added much to the interest of the church with a goodly number uniting in the church membership. The Young People's Society presented a new Estey church organ to the church and thus added greatly to the services in the church.

During the 50 years of existence the church has had its ups and downs. In the midst of all its struggles she has always gone ahead and the blessings of the Lord has been her portion. Some 17 pastors have served the church, serving from less than a year to seven years.

Rev. J. A, Heath, 1896, resigned 1896; Rev. A. L. Parquette, 1896, resigned 1898; Rev. Starr K. Smith, 1898, resigned 1901; Rev. C. A. Clausen, 1901, resigned 1902; Rev. L. S, Shumaker, 1903, resigned 1903; Rev, W. V. Bacon, 1904, resigned 1909; Rev. C, W. Robinson, 1909, resigned 1912; Rev. F. E. Robinson, 1913, resigned 1914; Rev. G, F. Griffin, 1914, resigned 1916; Rev. E. J. Dryer, 1916, resigned 1918; Rev, A. Stockton, 1919, resigned 192u; Rev. A. Bell, 1921, resigned 1925; Rev. Stein, 1925, resigned 1926; Rev. H. Wahl, 1927, resigned. 1929; Rev. M. S. Scriber, 1929, resigned 1933; Rev. C. Hammel, 1933, resigned iy39; Rev. J. A. Barker, 1939.

During all of the years over four hundred have united with this church and we carry on knowing there is a place for the small church in the work of the Kingdom of our Lord, We have an honored place with the churches of Lancaster, and with working together for our Blessed Lord much spiritual advancement will be attained in the days to follow.

Lancaster Baptist Church

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