|Quantity:||8 boxes (2.50 cubic ft.)|
|Access:||Open to research|
|Acquisition:||Gift: Grace United Methodist Church, March 1981|
|Processed By:||Kayleigh Paster, University at Albany, Student Assistant, May 2014|
The Grace United Methodist Church of Ravena, New York, was formed on June 3, 1962 with the merger of three congregations: the Methodist Episcopal Church of Coeymans, the Methodist Episcopal Church of New Baltimore, and the Methodist Episcopal Church of Ravena. Although the three did not formally merge until the early 1960s, the churches in Coeymans and New Baltimore shared a history as members of the same Methodist church circuit, and had started sharing resources two decades before the merger of the three congregations.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Coeymans was built in 1835 to replace what was known as the "old stone church". This earlier site had been used by the Methodist congregation in Coeymans until the church's growing membership made it necessary for a new church building to be constructed. The continued growth of membership in the church following the building's dedication in 1836 required further renovations and an expansion, which took place in 1866.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of New Baltimore was dedicated on March 20, 1856. As the congregation of New Baltimore grew, the building was renovated and on August 26, 1873, the corner stone for a new building had been placed on land purchased by the church. Over the course of its history the New Baltimore church had increasingly close connections with the church in Coeymans, starting when the two were set apart as a Methodist conference charge on April 1, 1876.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Ravena was incorporated on September 29, 1892. The church had its origins in the combination of local Dutch Reform and Methodist traditions, members of which shared meeting spaces and preachers from Coeymans before the establishment of a church building in Ravena. While early meetings of the congregation were held in places such as an old school house and the Temperance Hotel (also known as the Vincent House), by 1894 construction had been completed on a church building.
Efforts to merge the three congregations began as early as 1942, when the churches in Coeymans and New Baltimore began sharing resources. While the two remained separate congregations, they hired one pastor to serve both churches in an attempt to cut costs. On June 3, 1962, the three congregations merged to form Grace United Methodist Church. This decision came after meetings between the three congregations and the election of a committee of members from each church dedicated to the eventual merger. Initially, services were split between two locations; Sunday school was held at the church in Coeymans and worship services were held in Ravena. In April 1965 the united congregation began holding services in the newly constructed building of the Grace United Methodist Church in Ravena.
These records consist of registers, trustee minute books, and financial account books related to the three congregations that merged in 1962 to form Grace United Methodist Church. The records cover the years from 1841 to 1962 for the Methodist Episcopal Church of Coeymans, 1876 to 1962 for the Methodist Episcopal Church of New Baltimore, and 1892 to 1962 for the Methodist Episcopal Church of Ravena.
The church registers contain vital information about members and regular attendees of the church, such as baptisms, marriages, and deaths, as well as rosters of probationary and full members. The registers also provide information on the history of all three churches and list the pastors of each church.
The records also include trustee minute books that detail the business operations of the churches and financial record books that detail receipts and expenditures of the churches in Coeymans and Ravena. Income was received primarily through gifts and offerings of its members, while expenditures included pastoral pay and compensation, building maintenance, and church school supplies.
There are also several documents that were found tipped into the pages of a number of the bound volumes. These papers, which range in date from 1881 to 1962, consist primarily of membership and transfer certificates as well as letters of transfer, which were written for individuals who wished to join one of the three congregations. Other items include a form for listing meeting minutes, a business card, a "dismission" certificate, which acts as a certificate of transfer, a copy of a marriage record, notes, letters, and memorial cards from the early 1960s. These materials have been removed from the volumes in which they were found and placed in folders corresponding to each of the three churches.
|Methodist Episcopal Church of Coeymans|
|1||1||Register, 1860-1883 (336 p.; 36 cm)
|1||2||Register, 1881-1890 (268 p.; 37 cm)
|2||1||Register, 1890-1923 (163 p.; 29 cm)
|2||2||Register, 1923-1961 (179 p.; 24 cm)
|2||3||Register, 1923-1960 (351 p.; 24 cm)
|3||1||Financial record book, 1866-1893 (100 p.; 21 cm)
|3||2||Trustee meeting minutes,1841-1923 (289 p.; 27 cm)
|3||3||Trustee meeting minutes, 1860-1888 (144 p.; 21 cm)|
|3||4||Trustees and Stewards meeting minutes, 1903-1910 (153 p.; 22 cm)|
|3||5||Quarterly Conference minutes of Coeymans and New Baltimore, 1876-1917 (289 p.; 34 cm)|
|3||(folder)||Coeymans Methodist Episcopal Church – loose materials found tipped into record books
|Methodist Episcopal Church of New Baltimore|
|4||1||Register, 1876-1895 (250 p.; 36 cm)
|4||2||Register, 1895-1955, (328 p.; 29 cm)
|5||1||Register, 1936-1955, (248 p.; 24 cm); includes name of head of family, occupation, marital status, membership transfer information, baptized children or preparatory members, exact birthday for members under age 21, and Sunday school participation|
|5||2||Register, 1955-1962 (144 p.; 25 cm)
|5||(folder)||Baltimore Methodist Episcopal Church – loose materials found tipped into record books
|First Methodist Episcopal Church of Ravena|
|6||1||Register, 1892-1946, (468 p.; 37 cm)
|6||1||Class Book, Coeymans Junction [Ravena], 1894-1897, (88 p.; 22 cm)
|7||1||Register, 1946-1953, (550 p.; 26 cm); note reads "revised from old book by Rev. Robert B. Guice, assisted by Church Membership Committee"
|7||2||Register, 1953-1962 (208 p.; 36 cm)
|8||1||Journal of income and expenses, 1906-1925, (300 p.; 32 cm)|
|8||2||Board of Trustees minutes, 1897-1908 (148 p.; 22 cm); E.L. Bishop, Treasurer
|8||3||Official Board meeting minutes, 1909-1918 (100 p.; 32 cm)|
|8||(folder)||Ravena Methodist Episcopal Church – loose materials found tipped into record books