Here is a brief account of the ministry of Scipio Community Church with a few other points of interest added...
Almost two hundred years ago, on October 21, 1821, a regular Baptist Church of Christ was recognized in Scipio, consisting of forty-three members with Rev. Ichabod Clark as pastor. As early as 1794 when Elder David Irish first preached in the area, services had been held in homes throughout the community, and later in a log school-house one mile north of Scipio Center. The congregation grew, and in 1833 a meeting house was built on the site of the present church. In 1871 a Semi-Centennial Jubilee was held to commemorate the founding of the church, and "for the first time, our new bell, weighing 1300 pounds, called the congregation together."
As the years passed, the now forty-three-year-old meeting house needed to be rebuilt, and in 1878, the present building was completed on the same location at a cost of $4,000.00. It was dedicated, free of debt, on November 7, 1878. The following articles had been placed in the cornerstone of the tower:
The Articles of Faith and Covenant
The New York Times and Tribune
The Auburn Journal
The Examiner and Chronicle
The Moravia Valley Register
The Daily Advertiser of Auburn
The Moravia Citizen
A new silver dollar of 1878
On July 4, 1912 the steeple, which rose 125 feet above the foundation, was struck by lightening and shattered from top to bottom. The steeple had to be torn down, but the bell was salvaged and it still in use. A drawing depicting the church with the original steeple intact, is in the Klipple memorial cabinet.
The many successive years were filled with progress. Covenant meetings were held quarterly, and prayer meetings weekly, as well as Sunday services. Faithful workers with the help of dedicated pastors and evangelists, continued to serve the Lord and accomplish His work.
A time of discouragement came in 1927 when the congregation had dwindled, and the church's finances were no longer sufficient to support a minister. Pastoral supplies were secured when possible, but there were periods of closing not only because of insufficient funds, but also because of the difficulty of winter travel without effective snow removal equipment. In 1937 Rev. Curtis Powers of Locke visited Scipio, and through his efforts and encouragement, the church was once again opened for worship. The Ladies' Aide, which had long been faithful in raising funds to support the church and its members, was most active in working to achieve this goal. Rev. Powers, having put the church on a sound footing, remained for three years.
By 1945 there were many new families in the church of various denominational backgrounds; therefore a special business meeting was held and the name of the church was changed from "Scipio Baptist Church" to "The Scipio Community Church". And the denominational affiliation was changed to a non-denominational church.
In 1949 Rev. Frank Smith was selected as pastor and served for twenty years until his death in 1969. Under his leadership, the church prospered, attendance and membership increased, and many improvements were made in the church building. Electric wiring was updated, the outside of the church painted, roof repaired, foundation repaired, and the baptistery removed. A furnace was installed in 1957 and an electric stove in the kitchen, replacing the wood cook stove which had been in use since 1891.
In 1968 a well was drilled, providing running water at the church. Prior to this, water had been brought in in milk jugs and dishes washed in a copper kettle. The well made possible the installation of a lavatory to replace the outdoor privy. In 1969 for the first time bulletins for services and annual reports were copied on a mimeograph machine to distribute to the congregation.
After Rev. Smith's death in 1969, a special service was led by Rev. Stephen Polanski as a Living Memorial to Rev. Smith at which twenty-six people were baptized.
In 1971 a sesquicentennial celebration was held to commemorate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the church. The pews and balcony were filled to capacity as former pastors, members, and guests shared fellowship and testimony through word and song.
A Task Force was formed in 1990 to assess the needs of the congregation through surveys and open discussion. By the leading of the Lord, we agreed together that the purpose for being God's church in Scipio was to "Build Up The Family of God" through fellowship, worship, missions, and growth. And from then until now, by God's grace we have striven to do the Lord's work through Scipio Community Church by "Building up the Family of God".