THE BIRTH OF “FAITH UNITED METHODIST CHURCH”

 

 

"BE IT RESOLVED: that Grace, Kingsley, and Trinity churches be merged and that the Official Boards acting in joint session be given authority and power to move ahead in all the minute details involved--to immediately move ahead in the securing of a proper site for our united church--and to implement the working out of a fully merged program with the present ministers composing the staff.”

 

These important words represent but one aspect of the culmination of years of study and discussion concerning the status of Methodism on the North Shore of Staten Island. More importantly, for the members of the Kingsley, Trinity, and Grace congregations, they represent the crucial step towards a united future.

In February, 1966, permission for a merger was granted by Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke, and, on June 6, 1966, the merger was voted on by the three congregations. The first meeting of the joint Official Boards took place on June 13, 1966. It was decided that Sunday worship and Church School would be conducted in the Grace church building, Port Richmond; the Church Office, as well as Fellowship Hall activities, would be located in the Trinity building, West Brighton; and miscellaneous meetings would be held in the Kingsley building, Stapleton. The staff consisted of the three former pastors, the Reverends Dr. F Roderick Dail, frederick G. Hubach, and Billy C. Sparkman; secretary, Mrs. Gladys Kimmerer; and the organist-choir director, Mr. Steven Anderson.

The process of choosing a name for the new congregation was begun in the summer of 1966. Suggestions were received from members of the congregation, placed on a ballot, and mailed to all members. The final choice was FAITH, and the name was formally presented at the Charge Conference of September 16, 1966.

The first child to be baptized in Faith Church was Jeffrey Shaw Feese, on April 30, 1967, by the Reverend Hubach. The first wedding took place on Saturday, March 18, 1967; Ruth Grill became the bride of Bruce Lake, and the officiating pastor was the Reverend Sparkman.

After much consideration, it was decided that, in order to begin as a completely new entity, Faith Church should have a new pastor and a Director of Christian Education. On July 1, 1967, Faith received the Reverend Austin H. Armitstead as new pastor. Pastor Armitstead came to Faith from the Bay Ridge Methodist Church, Brooklyn, New York. The pastor and his wife, Bianca, had three children, Nancy, Alan, and John, and the entire family moved into the Delafield Avenue parsonage. Ms. Miriam J. Crist was also hired at that time as Director of Christian Education.

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