By MICHAEL RUKAVINA
OBSERVER Staff Writer
The Fredonia Presbyterian Church isn’t bashful about its age; rather it’s proud that this year marks its 200th in serving the Fredonia community.
From now until the end of the year, the church will be holding a series of events, one per month, to commemorate the historic birthday.
“We thought about how do we mark our 200 years. We weren’t interested in trying to lift ourselves up as having accomplished this great thing. That was not consistent with what we understand the church to be,” the Rev. Cynthia Wickwire Lundquist said. “We decided that what made sense was to show thanks for our 200 years. As people of faith we want to show thanks to God, but as Presbyterian Christians, in our tradition one of the things that is extremely important to us is to reach out to neighbor, to care for our neighbor. So, as we thought this through, we thought ‘Let’s celebrate our 200 years by offering thanks to God by offering thanks to our neighbor’.”
The church announced its celebration theme during the opening celebration in February with Fredonia Mayor Michael Sullivan. On March 13 a ‘50s dinner celebration to honor the church cookbook will be held and a further community “thank you” will continue in April with a thank you event for the Fredonia Police and Fire departments.
“The fire department is particularly close to our hearts because we had two fires over the last 20 years. They’ve been very good to us and needless to say we’re very appreciative of the police department as well,” Lundquist said. “Community is very important for Presbyterians so to reach out to the community that has blessed us so much, it just felt like a natural way to celebrate the anniversary. Fredonia is gorgeous, the people are friendly and wonderful, we have the assets of the college and the Opera House There is so much here and we really appreciate that we have been blessed with living in an area like that.”
On May 12 a blood drive event will be held to benefit the Community Blood Bank, and on June 19 one of the larger if not the largest events will take place with a picnic in Houghton Common.
“We have some history; at one point during the early days of our congregation we met in a school house that was on the common,” Lundquist said. “Fredonia itself, in the very early years before it was incorporated, had a little debate as to whether Houghton Park would be the center of town or the Barker Common. So there was some back and forth on that, and some people who owned land around Houghton Common wanted that to be the center of town and the same in Barker Common, and the Presbyterians went back and forth with it. It’s a fun and interesting part of our town’s history. We’ll try and have a brochure to pass out to give people a little idea of some of that history.”
The community picnic will be used as a fundraiser for a gift to the park system of Fredonia. There will be free entertainment of a variety of kinds, and there will be some food at a minimal charge with any proceeds going directly to a gift yet to be determined.
In July, a Dessert Fest and Band Concert is planned to be held on the church lawn on an early evening for residents to enjoy the sharing of desserts and music. And fundraising efforts continue in October as the church plans to hold a revue that will have vignettes from the history of Fredonia, as well as some of the stories from the church.
“We have some musing stories,” Lundquist. “The intent is to be lighthearted and to celebrate all that Fredonia is. We’ll have a variety of music and we’re hoping to get musical participation from a number of different venues. And we may have more than just church members doing the vignettes.”
Other events are scattered around the main highlights, such as, community Christmas caroling in December, a children and youth clean-up along Central Avenue in August, and maybe most important, an 1810 service of worship to honor the churches Sept. 29, 1810 founding.
“We’re stable and we have a wonderful mix of people of different ages and experiences and I think it’s a very rich faith community,” Lundquist said of the church. “We enjoy having fun together, but we also try and work hard for the community.”
You can find more information about upcoming events by befriending the church on Facebook, or by visiting their Web site (in progress) at www.fredoniapres.org
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Mayor Michael Sullivan is greeted by Pastor Cynthia Wickwire Lundquist as Fredonia Presbyterian Church opens its 200th anniversary year-long celebration. The Rev. Wickwire Lundquist gave Mayor Sullivan a certificate of appreciation for the community of Fredonia in thanks for its support and welcome over the past 200 years.