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Geneva, New York

Finney Preached Three Sermons Here

In the spring of 1831, evangelist Charles G. Finney came to Geneva right from the Rochester revival, which took place that throughout the winter. For six months Finney preached several times a day, often leaving the city on horseback to visit area towns to win the lost and strengthen the local churches. It was reported that everyone could feel the presence of the Lord for about thirty miles around the city. People came to Rochester from all over the State, including Bath, Hammondsport, Penn Yan, Watertown, and Buffalo, eventually adding nearly 100,000 souls to the Kingdom of God.

Finney’s health had been broken much of the time while he was laboring in Rochester, due to excessive preaching and prayer.  Local doctors predicted that he would die as soon as he left town.

 

Finney made it as far as Geneva by stagecoach, but the rough roads almost did him in. He moved on to nearby Auburn, where he was able to regain some strength before heading back to Geneva on his way to Buffalo. In Geneva, he was asked to conduct three-day meeting for the First Presbyterian church, which he did, limiting his times in the city.

 

The entire area had already been conditioned for revival because of what God had done in Rochester the winter before. Numerous churches grew out of that special period of grace, including the Second Presbyterian Church. They thrived under the evangelistic efforts of their pastor William Hogarth, who had himself joined the church during the Finney meetings. By 1876, they had built a large stone building on Lewis Street and changed their name to North Presbyterian Church. 

Like all revivals, it served its generation, but then over time it began to subside and the church went into a slow decline. In the 1970’s, the First and Second Presbyterian churches merged and the North Presbyterian church was sold to Triumphant Faith Church, a young Spirit-filled church that would eventually become Faith Community Church. They grew under the leadership of Pastor Mark Ammerman who pastored the church for forty-five years before retiring in the fall of 2023. Part of his vision was that the large stone building would be available to help other churches become established in Geneva, which was how they become connected to WellSpring Fellowship, from nearby Penn Yan.

When Pastor Mark retired, he turned the church over to Pastor Michael Cavanaugh, an old friend from Elim Fellowship, who helped the congregation navigate the challenging transition. It was Pastor Michael who encouraged them to become part of WellSpring Fellowship, which they did in October 2023, when they invited Pastor Penn Clark to lead them into their next phase of growth.

 

Today, we are looking to God to bring revival again to the area, just like He did in the days of Finney of old.

To visit our church go to www.fccgeneva.org or 90 Lewis St. Geneva, New York

 

The Geneva History Museum is a great resource, located at 543 South Main St. Geneva NY 14456

This is what the original First Presbyterian Church of Geneva, NY looked like. It stood where the current building now stands. Finney preached here. This is also where William Hogarth first met the Lord. Courtesy of Geneva History Museum

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Rev. William Hogarth was the first pastor or North Presbyterian Church. Courtesy of Geneva History Museum

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North Presbyterian Church of Geneva, NY was built in 1876. Courtesy of Geneva History Museum

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