Fultonville church celebrates milestone

FULTONVILLE – The Fultonville Reformed Church celebrated its 175th anniversary on Saturday and showcased the renovations it has made in the past year.

Terri Vrooman, coordinator of the event, told those gathered in the church to “look at the stained glass windows whenever they got the chance, because they’re truly beautiful.”

Saturday’s celebration started with a free pot roast dinner for the community. This was the third year the church has offered a free dinner to anyone in the area.

“We thought, ‘what better way to celebrate 175 years than to give back to the community?'” said Melissa Vrooman, longtime member of the church. “We wanted to pay homage to our ancestors, because without them we wouldn’t be here – their dedication, their commitment, their drive that got us to where we are. Hopefully, in another 175 years when our grandchildren and great-grandchildren are here, they can say the same thing about our dedication.”

After dinner, Village Historian Ryan Weitz gave a brief historical presentation, then Gary Van Slyke performed a musical tribute. Finally, the church bell rang 15 times, “for the past 15 years of hard work and dedication,” Terri Vrooman said.

The church was formed in 1838 after Evart Yates told the Classis of Montgomery that many people were interested in forming a First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Fultonville.

Eight members of Caughnawaga Church were granted certificates of dismission to form the new church, and they became the first members. The first Fultonville Reformed Church was built in 1839, but in 1852 it burned to the ground. The present church was built in 1856 in the same location.

In 1859, a tornado tore away part of the roof and stone in the brick wall of the western end of the church, but it was repaired in eight weeks.

The stained glass windows were installed in 1888. In the fall of 2012 the church started the process of restoring the windows; Adirondack Stained Glass of Gloversville removed, cleaned and recoiled each piece of glass with copper and then reset all of the pieces. This process was finished by March.

This month, the church had Manor Glass of Amsterdam replace plastic shielding over the stained glass.