First Presbyterian Union Church celebrates its bicentennial

First Presbyterian Union Church celebrates its bicentennialPictured, is the rose window above the North Avenue entrance. (Photo from the church website,

The First Presbyterian Union Church, located on Temple Street and North Avenue in Owego, N.Y., is celebrating its bicentennial. 

The congregation at the First Presbyterian Union Church was organized in 1817 with 11 members. It grew out of the Owego Congregational Society, organized in 1810, and its first settled minister was the Rev. William Clark. 

The Society bought its first piece of property consisting of about two acres in 1816 from a Dr. Jones at a cost of $300.00. The remainder of the property was purchased from Charles Pumpelly in October 1817 for $100.00. 

In 1819, the people built their first church on the same site as the present building, with dimensions of 53 X 44 feet. Later, 20 feet were added to its length. 

There were no stoves in this building at first, and the people brought small charcoal stoves with them to church in their sleighs. 

A Sunday school was formed on the same day the church was opened, though for roughly two years previously a Sunday school met at a schoolhouse on Day Hollow Road. 

In 1854, the current structure was built to replace the original 1819 building. A special feature is the lovely rose window above the North Avenue entrance to the sanctuary; it has a Star of David, the six-pointed star, at the center. 

The Rev. Edgar Frank had the longest ministry in the history of the church, beginning his pastorate in 1926 and continuing until 1964. There was much growth in the church when International Business Machine (IBM) built its Space Guidance Center in 1958, and the population of Owego grew. 

Rev. Lisa Heckman is now serving as the Interim Pastor of the church and all people are welcome.

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