Dr. Leon McKinley Adkins became pastor in April 1937 and left in May, 1950, making his the longest service of any FUMC minister. A few accomplishments of his ministry were: Began the Spire, Illuminating the Rose Window, Adoption of the Unified Budget, Providing child care for working mothers during WW!!, Building the Pine Room, Formation of Young Marryners, Feast of the Green Corn, Provided equipment to ring the Church bell.
Dr. J. Edward Carothers became senior pastor in 1950 and served for 12 years. Accomplishments:
Significant acquisitions of building and property and the influence of First Church experience on Methodists, locally and nation-wide. He wrote many books on progressive theology and continues to have influence on progressive theological thought today.
The first authentic reference to Methodism in Schenectady is found in the diary of the Rev. George Whitefield, a friend of John Wesley. He mentions that on July 6, 1770 he preached in Albany and on the next day in Schenectady. He said he was "struck with the delightful situation of the place."
After the colonies had established independence Methodism was born gradually and on December 24, 1784 became a separate denomination. Within four years they were pushing up from Baltimore, Maryland.
Freeborn Garrettson was instructed to found churches in the Hudson Valley, along Lake Champlain and westward as far as there was any land. Within a few months he had founded several large "circuits."
Bishop Francis Asbury stated that Schenectady was to be considered a point on one of these circuits on May 28, 1789.
In his journal, (July 5, 1789) Garrettson noted that "I preached in Schenectady at ten and at three in the English Church (St. George's Episcopal), and in the evening in a spacious hall and had great hope that good would be done in the town." This is the date that is considered to be the founding of First Methodist Church in Schenectady.
In 1807, Benjamin Akin, a lay preacher, came to Schenectady and was asked to preach. In January of that year, he began to preach in the house of Richard Clute on Green Street. On the evening of April 7, 1807, Frederick and Richard Clute, along with ten others, were converted and became active workers.
In spring of 1808 a preacher, Seth Crowell, was appointed to Schenectady and he was provided a building on State Street. There were now between 25 and 40 Methodist families. They decided to build a church and on July 28, 1808, the Mayor of Schenectady laid the corner stone. It was located at the north-east corner of Liberty and Erie Boulevard. The lot cost $460 and it took six years to finish the church. This building was doomed by the coming of the Erie Canal. The Methodists moved the structure to Union Street and added a vestry house in 1829.
By 1836 the congregation had outgrown its building and built again on Liberty Street, a structure now known as Bethesda House, a facility that provides day care and services for the homeless in Schenectady.
At the end of the Civil War, it became apparent that the church on Liberty Street was inadequate for the rapidly expanding congregation. The Trustees bought a parcel at the corner of State and Lafayette. Work on the foundation was begun in the fall of 1870. In December of 1872, the portion in which Fellowship Hall is located was ready for use and the first service was held there on Sunday, December 22.
In 1953, a new addition was added to accommodate a rapidly growing congregation. First United Methodist Church is a great church with a great heritage. It helped establish several other United Methodist Churches in the City of Schenectady to fill the needs of its citizens.
PASTORS AT FUMC
THE TEN PASTORS OF THE STATE STREET CHURCH, 1872-1907
David W. Gates, George J. Brown, William J. Heath, William M. Hughes, George Barrett
Charles D. Hills, Charles V. Grismer, Henry Graham, Francis T. Brown, Fred Winslow Adams
SENIOR PASTORS -- 1971 to 2006
E.A. Noble, P.L. Frick, L.M. Lounsbury
L.M. Adkins, J.E. Carothers, J.M. Boyd
L.A. Duren, H.A. Price, A.R. Melius
Associate Pastors 1944-1971
W.B. Williamson, R.D. Tappmeyer, R.B. Severance, G.R. Bailey, E.R. King, K.E. Dearstyne
D.B. Joslin, J.J. Waggy, C.L. Miller, D.H. Brandt, G.L. Porter, F.J. Reid
Not shown in picture: Harry E. Harned, George E. Mayer, Taylor, George F. Mayer
ASSOCIATE PASTORS -- 1971 to 2006
1971-1979 Melvin R. McGaughey
1979-1981 Eileen Deming
1981-1985 Louis N. Guarinello
1986-1989 Andrew C. Russ
1990-1997 Janice McClary Rowell
1997-1998 Marjorie MacNeill (Interim)
1998-1999 Laurel W. Phillips
2001-2002 Adrianne Rush
2006- William Barney
SENIOR PASTORS -- 1971 to 2006
1971-1981 Arthur Melius
1981-1990 James A. Farrell
1990-1993 Leon Adkins, Jr.
1993-1999 R. Philip O'Hara
1998-1998 Stanley Moore (Aug. thru Oct. during Rev. O'Hara's sabbatical leave)
1999-2001 Laurel W. Phillips (Co-Pastor with Steven C. Clunn)
2001- 2010 Steven C. Clunn