Bristol Hill to celebrate 200 years with interdenominational event

Bristol Hill Congregational United Church of Christ will celebrate its 200th anniversary with a tent revival Saturday, Aug. 18 from 1 to 6:45 p.m. Pictured is Pastor Andrew Hinman with his daughter, Audrey, and father Jim Hinman. Audrey holds a photo of James Seward, a free African American who joined the church in the 1800’s. His grandmother was the first member of Bristol Hill UCC, a historic church tied to the Underground Railroad.

by Nicole Reitz

Bristol Hill Congregational United Church of Christ will celebrate its 200th anniversary with a tent revival and chicken barbecue Saturday, Aug. 18 from 1 to 6:45 p.m.

“Our congregations’ history speaks of revivals during the mid-1800s, which people would come from all around for days to participate and enjoy in each other’s fellowship and various ways to celebrate God,” said Pastor Andrew Hinman.

“When the church first started out in 1812, denomination wasn’t an issue,” Hinman added. “The people who came together all believed in God. For our event, we wanted to scrap the denominational differences and just celebrate each others different styles and customs.”

The event begins at 1 p.m. with an opening by Hinman. At 1:30 p.m., there will be a piano accordion performance by Janet Carp of Palermo United Methodist Church.

At 2 p.m., youth minister Christopher Green of the Fulton Nazarence Church will speak. At 3 p.m. Pastors Willie and Eva Mitchell of the Christ Cultivating Community Church of Syracuse will preach with their praise dancers.

Evangelist Gene Addison will speak at 4 p.m. Addison has brought the word of God to people around the world, and has recorded his testimonials on CDs.

Brian Pribis of Fulton Alliance Church is slated at 5 p.m. while Les and Linda Green will minister at 5:30 p.m. The Greens perform each year in over 200 churches, preaching and singing the news of Jesus in a variety of musical styles.

Bristol Hill started in the 1800s as a Presbyterian church and over the years, the church has seen a change in the make up of the congregation.

Two hundred years ago, when church was the center of Volney’s social life, there were several parishioners from large farm families.

“The church was the center of society at the time,” said Jim Hinman, a former pastor at Bristol Hill. “In the old records, it tells of people getting excommunicated for not coming to church. Now, you don’t hear of people getting excommunicated. We just pray that they join us.”

Hinman explained how the church was once surrounded by houses, which created more of a centralized community in Volney. Bristol Hill now has an average of 32 people, who live in Oswego, Phoenix, Fulton and Mexico.

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