New York’s Oldest Adventist Church
Marks 150th Anniversary

Roosevelt church dedicated four years before General Conference was organized

BY VINCENT R. CARAVAN, president and editor, The Valley News, writing from Fulton, New York

eventh-day Adventists and friends from the local area—even from outside the area—gathered June 12 and 13 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Roosevelt church, located at State Route 49 between Fulton and Central Square.

According to “A Brief History of the Roosevelt Seventh-day Adventist Church,” the church was built during the fall and winter of 1858 and 1859 on a half acre of land purchased for $32. It was dedicated June 17, 1859 and stands as the oldest church building erected by the denomination now in use.

PERIOD ATTIRE: Seventh-day Adventist Pastor Bob Hess and wife Cecilia, dress the part during the One hundred fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Roosevelt Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fulton, New York. Roosevelt is the oldest Adventist Church in the state and the fourth-oldest in the U.S. Hess also pastors the Dexterville, N.Y., Seventh-day Adventist Church. [Photo: Vincent A. Caravan, The Valley News, reprinted by permission.]
Three years later, October 25, 1862, Adventists gathered at the church to form the New York Conference—the eighth such conference in the denomination. The Roosevelt church is the fourth oldest in the country.

Special guest speaker at the weekend events was Merlin Burt of Andrews University in Michigan. Bob Hess, pastor of both Roosevelt and Dexterville Seventh-day Adventist churches, introduced Burt to the congregation at the Friday evening service.

In his welcome prayer, Hess said that this is an historic site in the formation of the denomination. “We exist as a denomination,” he added, “not by our own devising and wisdom, but by the leading of our God. If we forget where we came from, we will forget who we are and why we are here. So welcome to this ‘Lest We Forget’ event to praise God for his leading in our history.”

Burt’s keynote sermon, “Adventists: A People with a Mission,” traced the Roosevelt origin back to 1859, when the three original leaders of the early denomination formed the church. Two years later, the New York Conference was formed. He told of the hardships, the disagreements, and the understandings that ultimately led to the establishment of the church.

HISTORIC CHURCH: A view of the Roosevelt Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fulton, New York. The oldest Adventist church in New York State, the Roosevelt church celebrated 150 years of service in June. [New York Conference]
At the Sabbath morning worship service, Burt spoke about “The Passion of Adventism,” and he returned to the podium at 5:00 p.m. to talk about “Re-commitment to Service.”

In between, at 2 p.m., Burt presented an historical program on “The Role That Hymns Played in the Early Advent Movement.”

According to information from the New York Conference, the church building in Fulton, dedicated four years before the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was formally organized, has seen changes during the past century and a half.

“For such a little building, it certainly has a big history,” the conference noted. Along with key organizational events in Adventist history, “[t]he church has witnessed weddings, funerals, and baby dedications. It is a place to find God’s grace and peace. It is truly a special church.”

            — Reprinted with permission from The Valley News with additional information from the New York Conference.



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