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Church Ministries

Shared Space Partners

First United Methodist Church is one of the congregations of the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Our congregation seeks to provide opportunities for individuals to grow in their faith as they serve God and others.  This is in keeping with our mission of helping each person live faithfully and purposefully as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

The Methodist movement took root in the village of Mount Vernon in 1852.  The First Methodist Episcopal Church was established as the first organized congregation in the city limits of the village of Mount Vernon. It was located on what is now the corner of Second Street and Eighth Avenue.  The building was dedicated on February 8, 1854.

" ...  in early 1852, services were conducted by the First Methodist Episcopal Church in one of the Mount Vernon private residences, and the cornerstone of the church building was laid by the religious organization in 1853." (taken from 'Historical Review of Mount Vernon, NY', 1927, page 19)

 

"On Sunday, January 13, 1861, Rev. William H. Book, the staunch abolitionist pastor of the First Methodist Church, preached  'Antidote to Rev. H.J. Van Dykes's Pro-Slavery Discourse - American Slavery has no foundation in the Scriptures.'   He argued that the Bible did not approve slavery.  It was a public and courageous sermon  Book proved his strength of his faith by resigning and becoming the Union Army chaplain." (taken from "Images of America - Mount Vernon" written by Larry A. Spruill, PhD, page 28.)

In the 1880s, the village of Mount Vernon expanded very rapidly, and was incorporated as the City of Mount Vernon in 1892.  Much of the expansion was in the East Lincoln – “Chester Hill” – area, where many spacious homes were being built.  Despite the fact that First Methodist Episcopal Church, at West 2nd Street and South 8th Avenue, was flourishing and had just opened its new commodious red-brick building in 1886, a group of Methodists near East Lincoln Avenue desired to open a new church on Chester Hill.

The Chester Hill Methodist Episcopal Church was incorporated on Nov. 22, 1897, and met in a temporary wooden chapel on Summit Avenue while our present Church was being built.  The first Pastor, the Rev. Royal W. Raymond, was appointed in 1898, and the first President of the Board of Trustees was Dr. Thomas A. Fletcher, a dentist.  (His name is perpetuated in Fletcher Avenue, three blocks west of our Church.)

Under his vigorous leadership, the Trustees took title to the present property on May 20, 1899.  On June 7, 1900, ground was broken, and the cornerstone laid on July 28, 1900.  The Church building was dedicated on May 19, 1901 by Bishop Cyrus D. Ross.  The Rev. Crandall J. North was then the pastor.

Two trustees were builders: John Dawson and William Archer.  The firm of Dawson and Archer had already built the First Methodist Church, and now they acted as contractors for the new Church, with personal commitment, enthusiasm and generosity.  Working from plans by the architect, George Washington Kramer, they built the church in one year.

The building, at the summit of the hill, was constructed in the I Romanesque Revival Style, and on the “Akron Plan”, which was very popular among Protestant Churches at the time.  The main feature of the “Akron Plan” is the folding wall between the sanctuary and the Sunday school rooms, allowing for a very large, open space, if needed.

The Church is built with stone quarried in Mount Vernon (in the area of Primrose and North Columbus Avenues.)  The tower is 85 feet high, and contains a clock installed by the nationally-known Seth Thomas firm. The Pulpit and Communion table were made in the Methodist Mission School in Venice, Italy, by students learning the art of fine woodcarving; and a small plaster rosette, in the ceiling of what was then the pastor’s office, was taken from the original ceiling of Wesley’s Chapel in London, and donated to tour Church.

The Chester Hill Church prospered and in the early 1930s, the congregation decided to expand the building.  With a very generous challenge gift by Warren Diefendorf, the present Gym (“Diefendorf Room”) and the three large classrooms above it, were opened for service to the Church and Community in 1935.

The Morrison Place Methodist Church,  located off of South Fulton Avenue, was a congregation comprised mostly of Methodist of Swedish origin.  On September 12, 1954, Morrison Place Methodist Church merged with Chester Hill Methodist Church.  

After World War II, memberships in both First Church and Chester Hill Church declined and on May 23, 1967, the congregations merged, using the First Church name and the Chester Hill site.

Over the years, the church building has been home not only to congregations of United Methodist for worship but has opened for many community programs and functions, including a Food Pantry, a Tutoring Program for elementary children for over 20 years, gym activities for Mount Vernon’s youth and other congregations ( Bible Church of Christ, Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, our current congregation sharing our facility, Christ International  Center, a Spanish-speaking church.  

After many years of good intentioned but inadequate repairs, the Administrative Council and Board of Trustees approved an architectural condition-survey program and a fund-raising campaign (“Your Church – Moving Forward into the 21st Century”), to commence on January 1, 1998.  This was activated to enhance the congregations’ worship center as well as provide better and safer services to the community.  Since that beginning, the infrastructure of the church such as the heating plant and electrical work has been replaced or upgraded, a fire and safety alarm system increases the protection for groups using our building, and the signature clock has been repaired.  The gymnasium received a new floor and echoes the sounds of basketball games for various age groups throughout each week.  The sanctuary, including stain glass perimeter windows and a replica central chandelier from the stained glass skylight, has been restored to reflect the beauty that first shown over 100 years ago.  The Church building is now a part of the National Registry of Historic Places.

THE BARTHOLOW BIBLE CLASS

The Reverend Otho Bartholow was appointed pastor of First Church in 1905.  On the first Sunday of October, he began the Men’s Bible Class with 8 men attending.  The first Sunday of October 1906, 56 men attended, and in 1907, 276.  

The class continued to grow until it had over 1,000 members.  In the meantime, the Women’s Bible Class grew to over 700 members.

During the 1920’s, the Bartholow Class was instrumental in the formation of the National Federation of Bible Classes, still in existence and built the Memorial Building across the street from First Church for the Bible Class and other activities (now known as the Macedonia Community Center).  Dr. Bartholow taught the class until his retirement in 1942 and, with few exceptions, Pastors have followed in his footsteps.

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Shared Space Partners

  • Christ International Center (C.I.C.)

  • All Island Association

  • All Island Association Tutoring Program

  • Campion Learning Center

  • Mount Vernon Jr. Knights Basketball Program

  • Mount Vernon Youth Community Outreach Program (Y-COP Program)

  • The Saturday Morning Basketball Group

  • Spirit Dance Center

An important part of our ministry is the sharing of the great space God has blessed us with.  We share our space with other Church groups and with groups that focus on education, youth development and community involvement.

CHURCH GROUPS:

  • Christ International Center - an established evangelical Bilingual Spanish-speaking & English-speaking worshiping community, led by Pastor Benjamin Morales.

EDUCATION, YOUTH DEVELOPMENT & COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

  • The All Island Association Tutorial Program operates on Saturday mornings and serves elementary and middle school students. Contact:      

                                  Ms. Rosalyn Witter     

  • Campion Learning Center operates a tutorial program for children and youth. The Contact is:

                                  Mr. Kenneth Davis     

  • Mount Vernon Junior Knights Basketball Program addresses the recreational and developmental needs of elementary and middle school boys in the Mount Vernon Community.  For more information contact:      

                                  Mr. Dwayne Murray   

  • Mount Vernon Neighbors United brings together various neighborhood groups in the Mount Vernon Community to address relevant issues.  For more information contact:

  Sis. Loretta Hottinger  

  • Mount Vernon Youth Community Outreach Program is dedicated to the development of youth through various programs. Since 2012, we have hosted its after-school and annual Summer Camp programs.  For more information contact:                                                 

                                    Mr. Henry Wilson        

  • The Saturday Morning Basketball Group includes youth and adult men from the church and the community who gather on Saturday mornings from fall to spring for recreation.  For more information contact:

    Bro. Ron Mitchell      

  • Spirit Dance Center celebrates its 12th year of professional dance instruction for children and adults. It also hosts an annual summer camp for children.  For more information contact:

   Sis. Jenne Griffith         

  •  Acolytes

  • Bible Storytellers

  • Choir - Senior

  • Choir - Youth

  • Communion Servers

  • Greeters

  • Lay Servant Speakers

  • Liturgical Praise Dancers

  • Liturgist

  • Musicians

  • the new heights of praise ensemble

  • Ushers

ACOLYTE MINISTRY:

Acolytes are children and adolescents who perform simple tasks in the weekly worship service.  Contact person:

                       Sis. Kim Wilson-Owens         

CHOIR & MUSIC MINISTRY:

The choir leads the singing during the weekly worship service and on special occasions.  As we seek to build  our choir and music ministry, we are looking for others to be involved.  Contact person:

                       Bro. Guy Loving                 

USHER MINISTRY:

Ushers perform various tasks during the weekly worship service and on special occasions to make the experience a pleasant one for all.  To volunteer as an usher, please contact:

                       Sis. Terry Kean                      

PASTORAL STAFF

 

Reverend Noel N. Chin

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Rev. Noel Chin is the pastor of First United Methodist Church of Mount Vernon.  Prior to July I, 2011 when he began his appointment there he served, for eight years as the district superintendent of the Metropolitan District of our conference. Currently he serves in a number of leadership roles across the conference: he is a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry where he is the chairperson of the Committee on Conference Relations and he serves on the Conference’s Committee on Nominations. He is also a member of the Board of the United Methodist City Society and is the chairperson of that board’s Nominating Committee.

He has represented the New York Conference at the two previous general and jurisdictional conferences. At the 2008 General Conference, in Fort Worth ,Texas, he served in the legislative section on the Local Church. At the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Florida he was a member of the legislative section on Higher Education and Ministry.

A graduate of Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta, GA., Noel iscommitted to the growth and development of the local church. He believes that strong local churches are essential to the continued revitalization of our conference and the United Methodist Church. A strong church is anchored spiritually and takes advantage of the great organizational structure of our denomination as it engages enthusiastically in mission and ministry. He considers that the United Methodist Church has an important role to play in a constantly changing society and is always motivated by Charles Wesley’s  challenge :

 ”To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill.  O may it all my powers engage to do my Master’s will!” (UMH #413) 

REVEREND SABRINA JOHNSON CHANDLER

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Rev. Sabrina Johnson Chandler is an ordained Deacon of the United Methodist Church, Metropolitan District. She most recently served as Pastor of Woodycrest United Methodist Church from July 2014 to July 2016. Rev. Chandler has served on the pastoral staff at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in the village of Harlem, NYC. And, prior to joining the staff at St. Mark’s, she served as Minister of Christian Formation for Youth and Children at Mamaroneck United Methodist Church and Affiliated Deacon at First United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon. She is currently appointed to Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY, as Director of Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer; a role she has held since 1995. Sabrina received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; a Master’s degree in Adult Education and HR Development at Fordham University, NY; and a Master of Divinity degree from New York Theological Seminary. She is past Chair of the NY Annual Conference Personnel Committee, has held membership on the Conference Board of Health & Pensions, the Strategic Economic Analysis Task Force, and currently serves on the Metropolitan District Committee on Ministry and the COMPASS Planning Team. She loves to sing, teach, and is a bit obsessed with playing Candy Crush Soda Saga! Sabrina is married to Marvin V. Chandler, a Human Services Caseworker and jazz enthusiast. Marvin and Rev. Chandler are partners in life, love and ministry.

 

 

REV. NOEL N. CHIN, PASTOR

REV. sabrina chandler, AFFILIATED DEACON

min. daniel asibuoh sarpong, MINISTERIAL ASSISTANT FOR YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT MINISTRIES

mr. guy loving, minister of music

SIS. VELMA MITCHELL, LAY LEADER

BRO. ROY BAILEY, ASSOCIATE LAY LEADER

SIS. MYRA DIXON, CERTIFIED LAY SERVANT

SIS. KIM WILSON OWENS, CERTIFIED LAY SERVANT

Bro. roy bailey, local lay servant

bro. ron mitchell, local lay servant

SIS. EVENA SPRINGER, LOCAL LAY SERVANT

 

 

Church Ministries

 

  • Administrative Council
  • Board of Trustees
  • Christian Education - At First Church, we view Christian Education as a life long endeavor essential to spiritual growth.  We offer church school and bible classes for everyone. On Wednesday evening, there is mid-week bible study at 7:00 PM. where those who meet study, read the bible and worship. During the year there are workshops and studies that meet the needs of the congregants.  Come join us and enrich your life.  Everyone is welcome.  There is something for everyone.
  • Church and Society
  • Church Records and History
  • Evangelism and Membership
  • Finance
  • Hospitality
  • Lay Leadership
  • Staff/ Pastor Parish Relations
  • Stewardship
  • The United Methodist Men (UMM)
  • The United Methodist Women (UMW) - The United Methodist Women's unit is part of the denominations's community of women whose purpose is to know God, to grow in their spiritual life and to be involved in mission locally and internationally.  The groups meets on the 2nd Saturday of each month at 10:30 AM.  For further information, contact the president: Sis. Jean Streete
  • The United Methodist Youth Fellowship (UMYF) - The United Methodist Youth Fellowship is a ministry to youth that meets each Friday at 6:00 PM for spiritual and recreational activities.  It is open to all youth in the church and from the community.   For more information contact:  Sis. Elizabeth Abel, Sis. Jenne Griffith, Sis. Mel Ganpat
  • The United Methodist Young Adults - The United Methodist Young Adult group is one of our newest ministries.  It is a gathering for young adults from eighteen (18) to thirty (30).  The  group invites your participation and ideas as it plans its schedule.  
  • Worship - In worship we encounter God as the assembly of those washed and reborn by water and the Spirit, formed by the Word, fed at the Lord’s Table, and sent into the world in ministry in Christ’s name.

     Worship Committee Responsibilities:

    * Insures that worship leaders have the tools they need to help worshipers in our congregation offer their gifts in worship as fully and expressively as they can. 

     * Focuses on long and short -range planning for worship; helps to develop the congregation as   an active, vital worshiping community.

     * Helps in developing resources in support of our congregation’s worship ministries. 

     * Recognizes, encourages and nurtures artists and musicians in our congregation.  Helps in   providing training opportunities for lay worship leadership, including liturgists, communion stewards, acolytes, and ushers.

    * Insures that adequate resources for arts and music are a priority.  Helps in our congregation’s fundraising goals through the annual "Songs of Hope" music concert series. 

     * Worship Committee meetings are generally scheduled for 7:00 PM on the second Tuesday of every other month beginning in January.  Special meetings may be called.


Description of Committees and Work Areas

A. ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEES

 

1. CHURCH COUNCIL.

               The Church Council is responsible for carrying out the directives of the annual Church Conference (usually held in the fall). As the executive agency of the Church Conference it has a general oversight of the administration and program of the local church. The council is expected, therefore, to initiate planning, establish objectives, adopt goals, authorize action, determine policy, receive reports, evaluate the church’s ministries, and review the mission and ministry of the church.           (2012 Book of Discipline, par. #252)

2. COMMITTEE ON FINANCE

               The Committee on Finance is responsible for managing the financial affairs of the church. Its task includes soliciting, allocating, managing and dispersing funds for the ministry of the congregation. The committee is expected to complete the annual budget for submission to the Church Council and Church Conference.  It is also responsible for developing and implementing plans to raise sufficient income to meet budget, and to administer funds received according to instructions from the Church Council and Church Conference.                                                                                           (2012 Book of Discipline, par. #258.4)

3. COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

              The Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development is composed of not more than nine persons in addition to the pastor and the lay leader.  It is responsible for nominating to the annual church conference all the officers, chairpersons, coordinators and committee members that the law of the church requires or that the conference may determine are necessary for the work of the church.

   The committee also serves throughout the year to guide the Church Council on matters regarding the leadership (other than employed staff) of the congregation and to recruit, support and recognize spiritual   leaders and to provide for their training.                                                  (2012 Book of Discipline, par#258.1)

 4. COMMITTEE ON STAFF/PASTOR- PARISH RELATIONS

               The Committee on Staff/Pastor – Parish Relations (S/PPRC) is composed of five to nine persons.     In addition to those persons it also includes a lay member of annual conference and the lay leader, if the     latter is not already an elected member of the committee. The committee is responsible for the terms and conditions of the employment of paid staff. Its role includes conferring and counseling with the pastor and   staff in making an effective ministry and keeping the pastor and staff advised concerning conditions within the congregation as they affect relations between the pastor or staff and the people. The committee also has the responsibility of recommending persons for candidacy to the ordained ministry and of performing an advisory role to the District Superintendent and Bishop in the event that a pastoral change becomes necessary.                                                                                                                                    (2012 Book of Discipline, par#258.2)

5. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

               The Board of Trustees consists of three to nine members, and it is recommended that at least one  third be laywomen and that at least one third be laymen. Subject to the direction of the church conference,   the Board of Trustees is entrusted with the supervision , oversight, and care of all property owned by the local church and of all property and equipment acquired directly by the local church or by any society, board, class, commission, committee or similar organization connected with it.         (2012 Book of Discipline, par#2525-2533)

 B. PROGRAM COMMITTEES AND WORK AREAS

6. CHURCH AND SOCIETY

               The work area on Church and Society is responsible for keeping the Church Council aware of the need for study and action in the area of social issues and education, service, witness and action. In keeping   with standards and guidance materials supplied by the General Board of Church and Society and the Annual Conference Board of Church and Society, the committee recommends to the Church Council action projects  in the field of social concerns. The committee also cooperates with other commissions in surveying the needs  of the local community and in making program recommendations for responding to local, community, state, national, and international needs to which the Church ministers by its service, education, witness, and action.      

7. CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

               The Education Committee designs and recommends to the Church Council an organization of the education program of the church in keeping with the standards and policies developed by the General Board of Discipleship and keeps the Church Council aware of sound education procedures. The committee nominates superintendents (as needed), teachers, counselors, and officers of the church school.

               The committee is expected to ensure that persons of all ages are provided with opportunities to study the Bible and the Christian faith and life, and to facilitate the use of resources which are based on curriculum plans which have been approved by the General Board of Discipleship. It also encourages the certification of education assistants as directors or ministers of Christian education or as associates in Christian education.                                                                                                                   (2012 Book of Discipline, par#1108-1109)

 8. EVANGELISM

               The Evangelism Committee works with the pastor, or the Church Council to make evangelism an ongoing priority ministry of the congregation to win people to a profession or a renewal of faith in Jesus Christ. The committee recommends activities and structures to respond to the evangelistic mission of the local church in keeping with the standards and guidance material supplied by the General Board of Discipleship and the Annual Conference Board of Discipleship. The concerns of the evangelism committee include the people who are not members in any local church, the church’s own inactive members, and the care of all its members.                                                                                                                         (2012 Book of Discipline, par#1112)

9. RECORDS AND HISTORY

               The Committee on Records and History is entrusted with the task of preserving the history of the church.  It is expected, among other things, to keep the historical records up to date, to provide an annual report on the care of the church records and historical materials to the church conference, and to provide, with the pastor, for the preservation of all local church records and historical materials no longer in current use.                                                                                                     (2012 Book of Discipline, par#247.5)

10. STEWARSHIP

               The Stewardship Committee interprets and encourages stewardship consistent with the historic standard of the United Methodist Church. The committee encourages both individual and corporate stewardship, informing the congregation that tithing is the minimum goal of giving in the United Methodist Church. Using as a basis Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, and Experience, stewardship shall have five components: (1) the use of God given talents, (2) personal financial management and life commitments, (3) personal giving through the church, (4) local church management of resources, and (5) the Christian Steward’s responsibility in God’s world. The committee works with others on the church council to formulate plans and recommend resources to encourage growth in each of these areas.          (2012 Book of Discipline, par#630.5)

 11. WORSHIP

               The Worship Committee is responsible for helping all within the congregation to understand the meaning, purpose, and practice of worship.

     ·         The committee cooperates with the pastor and or/ persons responsible for worship in planning for                       worship using The United Methodist Book of Worship, and other racially ethnic supplemental worship material with other resources, including those provided by the General Board of Discipleship, Section on Worship.

·         The Committee encourages and affirms the recognition and support of musicians in the local congregation, and discovers and develops persons to serve as church musicians

·         Provided that a committee or work area in spiritual formation does not exist, the committee is expected to promote and foster regular individual and family spiritual formation using the resources of the General Board of Discipleship, especially The Upper Room.          (2012 Book of Discipline, par#630.4)

 

12. YOUTH COUNCIL

               The Youth Council coordinates all aspects of ministry among youth in the congregation. Its membership includes representative of the various youth groups or organizations. It recommends to the  Church Council activities, program emphases, and settings for youth. (2012 Book of Discipline, #256.3c)

 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT   Most of the information presented above was obtained from the 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, and 2012 editions of The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church. 

WHERE ARE YOU CALLED TO SERVE?

Below are some areas of service in the congregation.  If you are not currently involved or would like to increase your involvement, we invite you to choose three areas of service.

MUSIC MINISTRY: This service area includes participation in the choir on a regular basis or for special services, and ministry with a children's choir.

MISSIONS: This service area includes volunteering to work with our Food Pantry which provides assistance for our neighbors every other week, and providing support for our outreach to children of mothers incarcerated at two New York State women's correctional facilities in Westchester County.

WELCOMING MINISTRIES: This service area includes greeting and welcoming worship guests as they arrive at church, serving as an usher, making telephone invitations to recent worship guests. and making follow up contact with worship guests.

EDUCATION MINISTRY: This service area includes teaching or substituting in children's or youth Sunday School: participating in Wednesday evening Bible Study/Prayer Group; or starting a small group with a particular focus.

WOMEN'S MINISTRY: This service area involves participating in the activities and programs of the United Methodist Women (UMW), which meets on the 2nd Saturday of most months, for its business meeting and engages in activities at those times.

MEN'S MINISTRY: This ministry involves participation in the life and mission of the United Methodist Men (UMM), which meets every 4th Sunday of each month, following the worship service.  The UMM has recently started a weekly basketball activity for fathers and sons or mentors and mentees each Saturday at 10:30 AM.

YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY: We invite the participation of young adults in an effort to reorganize our young adult ministry.  The reestablished group will determine its schedule and program activities.

YOUTH MINISTRY: This ministry involves participation in the life of the United Methodist Your Fellowship (UMYF), which meets on Fridays at 6:00 PM.  Adults are needed to provide leadership and youths are needed to participate and to invite other youths.  The group has three emphases: Spiritual Growth, Social Interaction and Service.

FOOD MINISTRIES: This service area includes providing help for church luncheons or coffee hours, such as setting up tables, making tea or coffee, serving meals, cleaning up: as well as cleaning the kitchen on a regular basis.

OFFICE MINISTRIES: This service area involves working collaboratively with our part-time secretary, helping with light office work, making copies, stuffing envelopes, filing, and answering the phone or making phone calls.

COMMUNICATION MINISTRY: This ministry is developing and involves a number of areas including working as a member of our Audio/Video Operations Team during worship once per month and collaborating with others to revive our newsletter, The Herald.

BUILDING MINISTRIES: Participants in this area will be invited to work with the members of the Board of Trustees in caring for the church's properties by performing such tasks as minor repairs, gardening, and cleaning at certain times of the year.