During the first 50 years of the early Medina Federated Church—then known as the Baptist Church of Medina—20 different pastors served at the pulpit.
Now, as the congregation prepares to celebrate the church’s 175th anniversary, the situation has leveled off considerably. Three pastors have led the church for most of the past 50 years, including Darren Lemmon who has served the church since 1999.
Pastor Lemmon has worked with church members to make plans for a two-day celebration Aug. 25 and 26, and those plans include return visits from two pastors.
At 6 p.m. Aug. 25, the Celebration Trio from the Brooklyn area will perform southern gospel music, along with a skit. The singing will be followed by an ice cream social.
At 9:30 a.m. Aug. 26, David Leman (1985-93) and Howard Yatzek (1958-62, 1967-82) will look back on their history with the church. At 10:30 that morning, the Bright Occasions will perform. The group is made up of former and present members of the church.
The morning worship service is scheduled at 10:45 a.m., along with the dedication of the sanctuary expansion. The service will be followed by a barbecue fellowship luncheon.
The roots of Medina Federated Church lie a few miles up the road in Canandaigua.
In 1836, the Canandaigua Baptist Church was organized with 23 members. The church didn’t have a building of its own, so the decision a year later to move to Medina posed no physical problems. Once in Medina, there was a river nearby (Bean Creek) for baptisms.
A church building was constructed in 1846, followed by some renovation in 1875.
Medina experienced a decline in population during the Great Depression and the decision was made to merge the village’s two churches—the Baptist and the Methodist—and this led to the Medina Federated Church, unaffiliated with any denomination.
Considerable renovation took place over the years—a usable basement was finished, a kitchen was added and a fellowship hall was built. A new fellowship hall was added in 1988, along with six Sunday school classrooms, a Sunday school office and the pastor’s study.
In 2007, a metal building was donated to the church and was erected as a gymnasium. A sanctuary expansion project started in 2010 led to a delay of the 175th celebration.
As the church continues moving forward through its second century, Pastor Lemmon reminds his congregation of the charge given by Jesus, to “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel.”
The celebration events are open to the public. If Medina or Medina Federated Church were part of your life, Rev. Lemmon said, come in and enjoy the weekend celebration.