Niagara Gazette


January 13, 2014

HIGGS: Bringing St. Paul's into the present


Niagara Gazette — He stated their “initial task was preparing for what was called the Uniting Conference in June of 1967. The conference included hosting representatives from over 200 area United Methodism churches as well as representatives from the Evangelical United Brethren Church. One objective of the conference was to join with other conferences to vote on a resolution to join our two denominations in unity. This led to renaming our church from The Methodist Church and Church of Evangelical United Brethren to United Methodist Church; the name that continues to this day.”

“The late 1960s were a time of tremendous change in our nation and for religion. We were still dealing with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. continued to raise issues of segregation in our cities and states until his assassination in 1968. Then the assassination of presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, the Vietnam War which challenged the drafting of 18 year olds by the military and eventual withdrawing of troops from Vietnam, and the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion to name a few of the traumas faced by our citizens at that time.”

During the time of the Rev. Richard Closson and his Associate Pastor, the Rev, Douglas Wilson the attendance at Meadows increased. Later this area also lost population and both of St. Paul’s locations learned to retrench. The associate minister position was eliminated and Rev. Closson left the following year in December of 1977. Rev. Babcock served as Interim Pastor until March of 1978 as he had been appointed to the full-time position of director at Community Missions in Niagara Falls. He was followed by the Rev. James N. Brewster.

Separate identities of the congregations of the Meadows and St. Paul’s United led to the establishment of the Meadows as an independent congregation in 1979. Janet Babcock, wife of Rev. Babcock was appointed local pastor and served until the end of 1981. Linda Shisler Weidman became its full-time ordained pastor until 1987 when the Meadows members were unable to support a full-time pastor and Rev. Babcock returned, accepting the part time appointment as its pastor. Assisting for two years, retired pastor, the Rev. Kenneth Traxler saw that the faithful Meadows members were unable to sustain the church and it disbanded in 1991. The Meadows gifted its hymnals and an organ which now reside at St. Paul’s in memory of their valiant service of God.

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