Spring holds a special kind of promise for the congregation at the First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown, as it anticipates the blooming of 200 daffodils that were planted in the fall around the site at 100 Church St.
Why 200? Each bulb represents a year the church has been serving the Youngstown community.
“We are celebrating and commemorating our church’s 200th anniversary this year,” said Jan Howard, who co-chairs the 200th anniversary committee. “Planting the daffodils was the first of many activities we’re doing to celebrate this milestone. Each bright little flower will represent a year of our church’s history in Youngstown – and we can’t wait to see them bloom!”
The congregation has adopted a theme of renewal in its Biblical, bicentennial slogan: “Look! I’m doing a new thing. Now it blossoms. Can you see it?” Borrowed from Isaiah, chapter 43, verse 19, it is being used on banners, signs and merchandise this year.
“We invite the community to celebrate with us, to ‘do a new thing’ with us, to share in our joy of serving our community in faith and good works, and know they are always welcome at our church,” Howard said. “Whether you’re looking for a place to worship, make a new friend, help provide services to our neighbors in need, or enjoy fellowship, all are welcome.”
200th Anniversary Event Schedule
√ May 21, “Heritage Sunday” with afternoon multi-choir concert
√ June 11, worship service and picnic at Porter-on-the-Lake Park
√ Aug. 19, progressive dinner for adults
√ Sept. 4, Labor Day parade with food and games to follow at the church
√ Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, Play performance: “We Gather Together,” written by Claudia and Jerry Andres
√ Dec. 2, St. Andrew’s Day celebration
√ Jan. 27, 2024, final 200th celebration event: banquet and worship service
In addition to the events listed above, the congregation is also doing 200 acts of kindness; compiling a history book; collecting members’ photos, memories and stories of church events and people; assembling video photo display; and selling memorabilia items.
The 200th anniversary committee is chaired by Howard and Barb Castilon and supported by the following volunteer members: Jayne Anderson, Claudia Andres, Rev. Bob Hagel, Paige Hardison, Lisa Hastings, Steve Lyle, Molly Marietta, Sue Martinez, Kate Myers, Fiona Rae, Jodee Riordan, Bill Siddall and Garrett Swearingen.
Per the “History of Niagara County, New York, Press of George MacNamara,” the First Presbyterian Church of Porter was organized in Youngstown in 1823. After the schoolhouse was built, it was used by the society as a place of worship.
In 1835, John Young – whom the village is named after – gave the church the parcel of land on which it is built. He also gave them an adjacent parcel of land for a cemetery. The church itself was built starting in 1836 and was completed in 1837.
In 1840, the minister’s home, or manse, was deeded in perpetuity to the Presbyterian minister by Young’s wife, Catherine. The home continues to serve as the manse, presently for Rev. Bob Hagel, his wife Kate, and their family.
Today, the First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown has a congregation of nearly 400 members. Worship services are offered Sundays at 10 a.m. Sunday school is available for children starting at age 3 through 12th grade. Free nursery care is also available from 9:45-11 a.m. each Sunday. More information about the church and its services are available at youngstownpres.org and www.facebook.com/youngstownpres.
For Holy Week, all are welcome at the following services:
√ Sunday, April 2, 10 a.m., Palm Sunday service at Youngstown Presbyterian Church
√ Thursday, April 6, 7 p.m., Maundy Thursday at Lewiston Presbyterian Church
√ Friday, April 7, 7 p.m., Good Friday service at Youngstown Presbyterian Church
√ Sunday, April 9, 6:45 a.m., Easter sunrise service at Old Fort Niagara
√ Sunday, April 9, 10 a.m., Easter service at Youngstown Presbyterian Church (nursery available) followed by 11 a.m. Easter egg hunt