History of our Church
Methodism in Cleveland dates back to 1821 when Reverend Kies held services in the home of Christopher Martin. Martin and his family came from Connecticut and became the first known settlers in Cleveland (Black Creek) in 1821. Twenty years later, construction began on the first Methodist Church at the site where the present church now stands. The church was dedicated in 1843 by Reverend J. N. Brown. In 1868 the church was determined to be too small and was rebuilt.
The church began a major reconstruction in 1900 and was dedicated on June 18, 1901 by Reverend C. N. Sims, Chancellor of Syracuse University and Reverend H. D. Homes. An article about the dedication service described the previous church as “a small and unassuming building that has given way to a more pretentious building”. This church served the community for 82 years.
Cleveland’s main industry during the late 1800’s was glass making. There were two glass factories in the village at that time. The history of the Cleveland Methodist Church coincides with the village’s history. As the village grew and flourished during the late 1800’s, so did the church. After the turn of the century (1900), the glass factories closed and the workers and their families relocated. Many of them moved to Pennsylvania to continue glass making. Some of the original families either stayed or returned later, but the population in Cleveland and the church decreased during the early 1900’s. The faithful members tried to keep up with the repairs, but age took its toll on the building to the point where a decision was made in 1982 to demolish the church. Services were held in the homes of members and St. James Episcopal Church until 1983 when the old parsonage was renovated for services. It was dedicated on June 15, 1983 by Reverend Dale Austin.
Serious fund-raising activities for a new church began in 1985 with the first Fun(d) Day. In 1990 there was a ground-breaking ceremony led by Reverend Jon Stenberg. By 1992, the shell for the church was erected. Over the next ten years the building took shape room by room until it was finished. Funds for the construction of the church came from the members of the community who attended 18 Fun(d) Days, numerous chicken and biscuit and roast beef dinners, bake sales and rummage sales. Members purchased pews, hymnals, shrubs, carpet squares, ceiling tiles, etc. We are a very creative group of people when it comes to raising money for our church.
The church was consecrated in 2004. Bishop Violet Fisher participated in the ceremony. Many of our former ministers attended the service along with members of our congregation.
The members of the Cleveland United Methodist Church continue to hold fund raising events to finish and maintain the church and grounds and to reach out to the people in the community who have supported us. Our missions include and our Backpack Buddy Program which provides food to children during the summer months when school is not in session, Veteran’s Mission which provides personal care items and handmade lap quilts to veterans at the VA Health Center, Christmas Basket Program and Back to School Program.