Churches With History
Hammondsport, New York
Much has already been written about Finney’s great revival in Rochester, New York, where he preached almost a hundred sermons in six-months, between September 10, 1830, and March 6, 1831. It was certainly the high watermark of his ministry and should be included here as the crescendo to his work in the burned-over area. Rather than reviewing all the facts of the story, allow me to share some things I think are noteworthy, which may inspire you to read Finney’s account for yourself.
The population of Rochester would increase by two-thirds during the revival with people coming in from the surrounding areas, such as Buffalo, Lockport, Brockport, Palmyra, and Canandaigua. The news of what God was doing in this small city was carried by Christian newspapers across the country. The ripple effect of the meetings was felt as far away as Bath and Hammondsport, New York, where new churches were being established, made up of fresh converts from the Rochester revival.
I read where people said they could feel the presence of the Lord for about forty or fifty miles around Rochester. When you read the history of the Presbyterian churches throughout Western New York, you can see how far reaching this ripple effect was.
The Presbyterian Church in Hammondsport was started in 1831, as a direct result of the revival in Rochester. The church faithfully served the community until it finally closed in 2023. The prayerfully gave the church building to WellSpring Fellowship in the hopes of seeing it serve the next generation of hungry hearts.
Geneva, New York
A NEW DAY FOR AN HISTORIC CHURCH
There is something exciting about an established church with a rich history coming into newness of life. That is what is happening with Faith Community Church as it has become part of WellSpring Fellowship in Penn Yan, in order to reach the city of Geneva for Christ.
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.
Faith Community Church, is located at 90 Lewis Street, Geneva, NY 14456
You can follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fccgeneva/
We live-stream each Sunday morning at 10:00.
Care Groups will begin in January 2024.
Brownville, New York
A “commodious stone building” was erected in the village of Brownville, New York, between 1818-1823, making it the oldest church building in Jefferson County. Originally, it was shared by all the churches in the village. In 1826 it was purchased by the Episcopal Church, who faithfully served this community until November 2021.
In November 1823, a young evangelist named Charles G. Finney, came to Brownville, following signs of revival that had begun to manifest here. Being snow-bound for the entire winter, he labored in this building, both in preaching and in prayer, until April 1824.
Fast forwarding to 2024, we plan to rent the former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for the winter, with the idea of hosting prayer meetings and doing various kinds of outreaches, to see if a new church can be established in Brownville. We believe that by starting by building a house of prayer is the key to opening the heavens once again, so this community can experience a fresh outpouring of grace. If you would like more information about this, contact Brad and Nicole Berry, (315) 783-9583, and they will let you know what is currently happening in this historic old building on Washington Street in Brownville. Would you join us in praying for this?
The GPS Address: 212 Washington St. Brownville, NY 13615 You can keep up with our service times by finding us on Facebook.
To read the chapter about Brownville from my book Finding Finney, click here