Religions and Spirituality

Shrub Oak Church Celebrates 150th Anniversary of Cornerstone Laying

Credits: UMCSO.com

SHRUB OAK, N.Y. - At 1 p.m. Saturday, June 25, members of the United Methodist Church at Shrub Oak will come together with family, friends and neighbors to celebrate a noteworthy date in the church’s long history, the 150th anniversary of the laying of the church’s cornerstone back in 1867.

This will be a significant day for the Methodist community as it memorializes the “construction-start” of a new and larger church than the already expanding congregation had outgrown across the street.

By comparison, when the new church, a gray-stone, Gothic-style structure opened, it was almost three times larger than the original one. Situated on six acres of land, it also had a parsonage and two sheds for horses and carriages.

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The construction-start, laying the cornerstone, was of monumental importance to United Methodist Church at Shrub Oak in 1867. Although the country was still healing from the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the day was upbeat and promising, almost a foreshadowing of a great future for the vibrant congregation.

While most churches in the region have interesting and diverse histories, what makes the United Methodist Church at Shrub Oak so unique and special is the fact that the first church opened its doors after the American Revolution ended and the second church opened its doors immediately after the Civil War—all of which has made its congregation more socially and culturally aware of the world in which it exists.

As one member stated: “This congregation is a positive group of people, no matter what is going on in the world. We’re proud of our faith, try to live by it, and are from all walks of life. We’re married, single, divorced, widowed and are from nearby communities like Peekskill, Cortlandt Manor, Mohegan Lake, Yorktown Heights, Putnam Valley, as well as Shrub Oak.”

The church hopes that folks from near and far will attend the June 25 festivities, events that will try to re-create the day as it unfolded in 1867. There will be old-fashioned items on display, games and competitions, hayrides, gift baskets, food and drink, music and more to educate, enlighten and entertain.

It is also an opportunity to meet the church’s newest pastor, the Rev. Iwy Patel-Yatri. She contributes to the history of the United Methodist Church at Shrub Oak as she is its first full-time female pastor. She earned her Master of Divinity from the New York Theological School, as well as her Master of Social Work from Fordham. “Pastor Iwy,” as she is called, joined in 2015.

When asked about the June 25 festivities, Pastor Iwy stated: “We will commemorate the laying of the cornerstone, and I am really excited about how this event has gotten folks sharing new ideas of how we can make a difference in our Shrub Oak community. That’s something to celebrate!”

The community is invited to join the fun at 1 p.m. on the church grounds. The United Methodist Church is located at 1176 East Main St., Shrub Oak. Call 914-245-4682 for more information or visit umcso.com.

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