Fonda, NY – For the first time in about 170 years, there will no longer be a place of worship at 42 W. Main Street in Fonda. In 1842, a group of methodists built a small wooden church at that address. It was so popular, they had to expand a year later. “Then on April 12th, 1912 there was a fire that started in the drug store next door,” said Fultonville Village Historian, Ryan Weitz. He’s also the unofficial Historian for the village of Fonda. Weitz is putting together a piece on the history of the old church. At 18 years old, he’s the youngest Historian in New York State. He was appointed to the position when he was 15 years old.
After the fire, Weitz says the church was built again, this time it was brick. The building was vacant from 1967 to about 1986, when the Village Bible Church bought it. Then in 2005, the House of Zion moved in. Today, the stained glass windows on the historic structure are gone. Tarps flap in the wind, covering the openings. The doors are locked. And the sign displayed, letting everyone know what kind of church this is, is gone.
On Monday, the entire building is expected to come down. “It’s a shame to see an old building like this be torn down for the expansion of a gas station and small convenience store,” said Weitz. The Stewart’s store two doors down at 38 W. Main street is often congested. The parking lot is small and gas pumps cramped. Stewart’s approached the land owners of 40 W. Main Street, and 42 W. Main Street, which is where the church is located. Both agreed to sell the land.
The most recent congregation at the old church, was Messianic Christianity, lead by Pastors Richard and Denise Allen. For the past five years, they’ve rented the building. “It’s such a beautiful building, and it still had some life left in it,” said Pastor Denise Allen. Messianic Christianity combines the teachings of both Christianity and Judaism. “We had 3 pastors ordained as Messianic Rabbis in that building, and that’s historic,” said Pastor Allen. She will continue to hold services at a church she built on her property at 580 Dillenbeck Road in Palatine Bridge. The small white building has a blue border, and the letters are decorated with glitter. Flowers surround the entrance. No more than 30 people can fit inside the church at one time. “Some people say gee, we never met anyone like you, I say thank God, it’s ok to be different.”
If you want to find out more about Pastor Denise Allen’s church, email her at Deniseallen01@aol.com
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