The Methodist Church of Le Roy began some 180 years ago with a gathering of 11 faithful believers who desired to worship God in fellowship with other believers. In 1831, Rev. S. R. Begg, a Methodist circuit rider, rode his horse to preach to the “Wesley Classes” meeting in the Buckles Grove settlement. In 1838, Edgar Conkling laid out much of our original town, and gave the Methodist Episcopal trustees two lots on which to build a worship center. Silas Waters, the original lay leader of the Buckles Grove group, helped see that this first church building was built -- a 45’ x 30’ building near where Larry Robbins’ insurance agency is today.The Methodists’ 1838 building was the first church built in Le Roy.
After 28 years and 14 ministers in the original building, Silas Waters was once again instrumental in erecting a new 2-story brick building (1866) that is across the street from here now known as the Masonic Hall. The Pantagraph described it as “the most commodious and elegant edifice in the city” at a cost of $10,000.
In 1901, the Rev. Thornton Clark and Silas Waters started working on plans for a 3rd building. Land was purchased across the street, where we’re worshiping today, which would serve the town for 60 years. The new sanctuary seated 600 and had classrooms to accommodate the 200 adults and children who regularly attended “Sabbath School” - as it was called. It also housed a gymnasium and swimming pool for recreation.The cost of the 1902 building was $18,000.
Beginning in Feb. 1957, a building committee was formed to begin the process of making Structure #4 a reality. Construction began in May 1962. Seventeen long months and $200,000 later, the Sunday services and weekly activities were brought back from Le Roy High School to the new 18,000 sq ft church. The first service was held Dec. 15, 1963, the church was consecrated Feb 2, 1964, and the debt retired at a dedication service on Oct 19, 1969. Since then, our brick name sign and various landscaping projects have been added, the roofs have been replaced more than once, the north entrance was built in memory of Helen Hendren and the west entrance has been enclosed thanks to Thank God I’m Living donations and the generosity of the Little family. Several lamp posts stand on 3 sides of our building in memory or honor of several members; air conditioning has been added, the sanctuary has been updated, the organ has been replaced twice, we’re on our third sound system, the kitchen has been totally remodeled, and basic redecorating, remodeling, and updating have been done over the past 46 years to accommodate the various ministries of the church.
The land across the street was given to the church by the Washnok family in 1988, with a portion asphalted for parking, and a playground was built in 1989 in memory of Margaret Kerwin and Connie Duncan. A new parsonage was built in 1991 to replace the original parsonage which was built in 1895 and served 32 pastors and their families.
The REAL story of the Le Roy Methodist Church is NOT about the buildings. The REAL story is about the people -- the people who had, or have, Christ in their heart, the people who have sacrificed their time, talents and resources to keep this church going through good times and bad, generation after generation. It’s about people who have given money both while living and through estate gifts to build and update these buildings and to provide resources for many vital ministries. People like George & Rosa Dooley, who were benefactors of our Endowment Fund; Bill & Dorothy Dooley, Howard Roberts, Stella Andris, and Toney Reynolds, among others. Through the years, the names have changed, but the hearts are the same. And so, just like Silas Waters and many others since him, may we glorify God by using our gifts to meet the needs of the world with the heart and hands of Jesus Christ.