The History of First Presbyterian Church of 

 

Westfield, New York

 

Westfield Presbyterian Church proudly but humbly bears the tradition of being the oldest organized church in Chautauqua County, New York and the eldest sister of all churches in the Presbytery of Western New York.

Officially organized in 1808 by the Rev. John Lindsay, the church was re-organized in 1817, with seven original members and forty-five others becoming "The Westfield Church" by the decision of the Presbytery.

 

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 After years of worship in a wooden meeting house in  another Westfield location, the first brick church was  built in 1832 on land donated by James McClurg. A  fire destroyed the building in 1872. Another building on  the same site was destroyed by fire in 1878. The  following year the church was again rebuilt and re-  dedicated. Over the years improvements have been  made to the basement area. The Christian Education  Building was completed and dedicated in 1963.

 The period 1965 - 1971 was a growth period in the life  of Westfield Church with strong pastoral leadership  and young growing families. A "Fifteen-year Plan" was  adopted by the Session. The community outreach  was emphasized with the initiaiton of a first Literacy Volunteer program. A community Teen Center attracted youth. Local and international mission emphasis continue to grow. Strong leadership for the historical maintenance of the church has resulted in a beautiful building now registered as a national historical site and a Presbyterian Church U.S.A. historic site.

p10001761In 1995 a Restoration 2000 Project was undertaken. This effort included the Manse, structural repairs to the church building and towers, sanctuary restoration and repairs to the 120 year-old organ. The Manse was maintained over the years and served as home to many ministers.

Membership loss has been gradual reflecting family and community change. The efforts to serve the community through monetary gifts, providing meeting space and reach-out projects have been hallmarks of Westfield church members. The Presbyterian Nursery School began in 1983, and in 2003 Y W CA of Westfield began a daycare and Pre-school programs for 3 and 4 year olds, and continues today. A parking lot adjacent to the building was completed in 2005. In July 2011 the congregation approved architectural plans for handicap access within the building, re-pointing of the bricks, repair to the church's front steps and steeple repairs.

Clara Trump made available her history writing that included the early years through 1968. A second writing of history called "First Presbyterian Church of Westfield 1968-1998 - A History" was written by Ruth Stacy. Both history writings are available in the church office.

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