Andrews Memorial UMC has a long history and has gone through many progressions in its more than 157 years of Methodism. In 1833 Methodism came to our community; and the first church was built at Taft Settlement, what is now the cemetery. The Methodist Church was organized by Rev. Bernard Peck in 1847. Members were Caleb Tompkins, David Borst, John Richmond, John Taft and John Bennett.
In 1857 a church was built on land donated by David Thompson. The Cicero forest was cleared away, and a community grew up, known as Taft Settlement.
In 1867 another church, the Plank Road Church was built on the site known as the Winnie property on Plank Road, now South Main Street. (An old map of Centerville in 1870 shows the Methodist Church to be on the East side of Main Street where NY Bride Shop is now and the school where Luther Memorial Lutheran Church stands.) There were now two churches and two parsonages. One parsonage was sold in 1868 at which time both churches were valued at $5000.
The two churches, Plank Road Church and Taft Settlement, were part of the Manlius Circuit, and part of the Collamer Charge of the Black River Conference. The charge was changed from Black River to Central New York; and the church (now known as Centerville Methodist Episcopal Church) was separated from the Collamer Charge becoming known as the Centerville Charge in 1885.
In 1886 the name of the Charge was changed from Centerville to North Syracuse, the new name of the Village. This name was then transferred to the church, the North Syracuse Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1893 the two churches merged, but the church at Taft Settlement was moved to the Hamlet of Cicero, where what is now the back of the Cicero Methodist Church. The church on Main Street was moved to its present site on Church Street.
Andrews Memorial Methodist church building plans were begun in 1930. The Sanctuary was built during the pastorate of Rev. J.N. Bragan. At the suggestion of Mrs. Anna Lewis, Mr. Curtis N. Andrews was approached with the idea of creating a memorial church. His parents, Sara M. (d. April 2, 1901) and Garnsworth (Garnsay) Andrews (d. May 12, 1893) were charter members of this church and pioneer residents of this community. They were actively interested in the church until their death.
In their memory, Curtis N. Andrews gave to the Methodist Church and Village of North Syracuse, the beautiful Gothic church that was formally opened for services on January 12, 1931, and was to be knows as the Andrews Memorial Methodist Church.
When Andrews opened, Mr. Andrews had one condition, that the members assume the responsibility of moving the old church building to the back of the lot and have it remodeled as the Parish House. Also, the Church would not be dedicated until all debt for the Parish House was paid.
This was accomplished, and on September 20, 1936, the sanctuary of Andrews Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated, during the pastorate of Rev. Charles N. Ouderkirk. The general program for the dedication included special evening events; (1) Tuesday, September 15 – “Community Night” featuring a special music program and guest artist; (2) Wednesday, September 16 – “Choral and Organ Concert” featuring the dedication of the church organ; (3) Friday, September 18, “Church Banquet” dedicating the Parish House; (4) Sunday morning, September 20 – “Dedication Service”; and (5) Sunday evening – “Rally Service” with special music presentation to celebrate the new church flag.
Rev. Douglas Baylis started his pastorate in 1937. A new parsonage was built and great congregational growth was shown.
The 100th anniversary of Andrews Memorial Church was celebrated in 1947 (1847-1947). Saturday evening, November 1, a short church service was followed by a buffet supper in the Church Parlors. Sunday, November 2, the Anniversary Worship Service was held. The general chairman was Frederick R. Sears.
1950 marked the beginning of a great influx of people with spectacular growth of the community. Church membership increased from 474 to 1201, and Sunday school attendance from 162 to 563. In this period Andrews Memorial became the largest congregation in the Central New York Conference. The property east of the church was purchased in 1954, and the house was used for additional Sunday school rooms (on the site of the present parking lot).
The social and educational unit “Steckel Hall” was consecrated on September 23, 1956. Steckel Hall is a memorial to Joseph and Mamie Steckel, who were faithful attendants at regular church services. Mr. Steckel served as a Trustee of the church, and Mrs. Steckel was a member of the women’s organizations of the church. Both were active; he in the Masonic Lodge and she in Eastern Star Chapter in Frankfort, NY, in the Mohawk Valley. They had no children; and on the death of Mrs. Steckel, the church was made main beneficiary of her sizable estate.
Andrews Memorial Methodist Church merged with Evangelical United Breththern and the name was changed to Andrews Memorial United Methodist Church in 1968.
Andrews Memorial celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1997, during the pastorate of Rev. Bruce Barden.
Today, under the leadership and pasturing of Rev. Bradford Hunt, our church benefits from a wonderful adult choir and occasional special music presentations to lift our spirits and to help us celebrate the work of our church and its members and friends. As you can appreciate, we are the benefactors of the gifts of many who have led the way to Jesus.