June 6th, 2012
AME Zion Church celebrates 185th anniversary
Members of the AME Zion Church of Newburgh, the oldest African American church in the Mid-Hudson area, came together for the church’s 185th anniversary celebration on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at Colden Manor at Spruce Lodge in Montgomery, NY. Hudson Valley Press/CHUCK STEWART, JR.
Montgomery - Colden Manor at Spruce Lodge was the location for the 185th AME Zion Church Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, June 2, 2012.
The Mistress of Ceremonies Veronica McBryde provided some historical highlights of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Newburgh: It’s founding in 1827 by Rev. John Matthews; the purchase of land on Washington Street; the many pastors; and the buildings that have comprised its long history.
“The church has endured injustice, slavery, racial hatred, riots, and other setbacks, but through perseverance, good leadership, a faith that has not shrunk, a vibrant and active membership, and a trust in God that He will never leave us or forsake us; the church still stands as a beacon of hope and commitment to continue to carry out its mission of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ,” said McBryde.
In addition to learning of the church’s rich history, those attending the anniversary enjoyed musical selections by Bryant K. Richardson and the G-Camp and heard an inspiring message from Rev. Daren Jaime.
“The only way you survive 185 years is if God’s hand is in it,” said Jaime, who served as the keynote speaker of the event. He encouraged the members to “look ahead and don’t look back.” His main message was not to settle. “If you settle, you will miss what God has for you.”
The church chose as its anniversary theme: “Changed Hearts and Transformed Lives through Christ, 185 years and counting.” Pastor Twila Rucker Caines stated, “This church has withstood the test of time for 185 years by faith, diversity in worship from the youngest to the eldest.”
“We honor God for the patriarchs and matriarchs who had less than we have today, who persevered the acquiring of property to raise their families and help build the City of Newburgh,” stated Rucker-Caines.
The AME Zion Church of Newburgh is the oldest African American church in the Mid-Hudson area and the sixth oldest church in the City of Newburgh. Newburgh is also the birthplace of the denomination’s founder and first bishop, James Varick.