Church History

Who We Were -- The Church History

The Salem Lutheran Church was organized August 24, 1872. The day after organization, the first service was held in the Pecor School in Portland, NY. For the next 10 years the services were held in School No. 9, North Brocton. The church on Mill Street was built and dedicated in 1883 and incorporated January 5, 1888.

The first meeting to organize the Portland Methodist Church was held February 3, 1834 at the school house on the corner of Church and Second Streets in the Hamlet of Portland. Prior to that time, the classes were held at private homes and school houses, beginning in 1816 at the home of William Dunham (the Father of Methodism in Portland) on Lake Road about one-half mile west of Lake Avenue.

The first Brocton Methodist Church was built in 1853. It stood on the North side of Route 20, the second house from the creek, near Mill Street. This site was granted by the Holland Land Company for religious organization. Later, the building was used as a skating rink and storage center. It burned about 1939. The second church was built in 1903 along with a parsonage adjoining the property.

In the late 1960’s, Salem Lutheran as well as the Brocton and Portland Methodist Churches were in need of a minister. Luther Minister the Rev. Bertil Erling agreed to come to Brocton, live in the Brocton Methodist Parsonage and serve the three churches, conducting Sunday morning worship services from the three respective church buildings. The next minister was the Rev. Douglas Garwood, a Methodist pastor who served here in the early 1970’s. He remained here until the mid-1970’s when the Rev. Frank Scott came here to serve the three churches.

After a short time, Rev. Scott proposed to combine the three separate church services in to one combined Sunday morning church service. A decision was made by the three church administrative boards that one Sunday morning worship service would be held from each church building for four months of the enabling all three buildings to be used.

This arrangement worked successfully for several years until the congregation decided it would be better served by worshipping from only one church building. Thus, consolidation began.

Tri-Church Parish was created in June 1984.

The Brocton Methodist Church was chosen because it was the largest and had a parsonage. After years of agreements and research, the Consolidation Service of the Tri-Church Parish was held on February 10, 1985. In the agreement, the first Sunday of the month is a Lutheran worship, the remaining Sundays are Methodist. Congregations from all over the United States have studied the Tri-Church Parish Consolidation Agreement as different denominations go through the process.