FOREST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - A SHORT HISTORY
1826 - Twelve founders decided to meet every Sunday for services to be held at the home of the elders.
1854, August 6- The first church building was dedicated. It was built for approximately $3,000. The Gothic style church was erected at the junction of the Moose and Black Rivers facing Laura Street. The church was appropriately named Forest Church. The name was imprinted on a stained glass window which, with two others, was placed above the entrance to the church. These three windows are now in the current sanctuary.
1800's late - The village of Lyons Falls grew on the east side of the Black River. The church was in need of repair and it was difficult to reach the village, especially during bad weather.
1893, July 25- The ground was broken for a new church in the center of the village
1894, February 4 - The last service was held in the old Forest Church.
1894, February 25 - The first service was held in the new church. The cost of the new church was $6,500.
1912- Electric wiring and fixtures were added. Before this the building was lighted by gas made with chemicals in a shed behind the church. In the peak of the church a ring of lights had to be lighted with a long rod.
1926, September 1 - The Parish House was dedicated on the 100th anniversary of Forest Church. It was used for church activities, dances, theatrical productions by the Lyons Falls Player Guild and many other community events.
1955- A new pipe organ was installed, one of the finest in Northern New York.
1950's, late- The Parish House was no longer the center of community events and was too small for the growing Sunday School.
1968 - the Auditorium was reconstructed into a Christian Education building.
1976 - the 150th Anniversary of Forest Church.
1978 - Head Start moved into the Basement to begin this early education program in Lyons Falls.
1983 - A public address system was installed in the sanctuary.
1995 - a handicapped ramp was installed making access easier for the Sanctuary.
2001 - Forest Church and St. John's Roman Catholic Church began to have combined fund raising dinners. The usual menu was chicken and biscuits and was enjoyed by the whole community.
2003 - Forest Church was placed on the National Historic Registry. Forest Finds opened. Forest Finds is a thrift shop located in the former Sunday Schools rooms in the Parish House. The Women's Association held two rummages sales annually, and the shop grew out of that.
2004 - Forest Church was put on the New York State Landmarks Conservancy for Sacred Sites. The Church received a grant from Sacred Sites to repair the portico and the handicap ramp including the wood, trim and the flashing.
2005 - The church celebrated the ordination of Rev. Naomi Kelly with the Presbytery of Utica present with a lovely reception in the manse. The Church began a project to rehabilitate the old canal turning basin and created a park called The Basin Park.
2007 - A Board of Deacons was created to help with caring for the congregation and with local mission. Lyons Falls Alive was reactivated because of a survey done by the Forest Church Planning Committee. On Pentecost ten people joined the church, five from a confirmation class and five adults.
2008 - The Buhle Organ was refurbished. Historical Restoration Foundation restored the three Stained glass windows over the chancel and eight memorial stained glassed windows were dedicated. Early in the year the basement was flooded and Head Start moved to the Manse. The drainage problem was repaired and Forest Church began using the spacious basement for community events including dinners, showers, paint group, exercise group, AA, children and youth activities.
2009 - Another grant was received from Sacred Sites. Pominville Construction repaired/replaced cedar shakes on the Bell Tower and work was begun on staining the outside of the church and replacing broken shingles. New thermal windows were installed in the Parish House. CFL bulbs were installed throughout the church.
2010 - The staining and shingle replacement was completed. A new boiler system was installed for the sanctuary. The back porch to the Parish House was remodeled. A chair lift was installed on the stairs to the basement. Outdoor lighting was installed for the back parking lot. Forest Church celebrated with Nancy Gydesen and Aggie Walker who graduated from a three year program with the Lay Academy of the Presbytery of Utica, authorizing them to preach in the churches of the Presbytery of Utica.
2011 - The office area was revamped in the Parish House.
2017 - Rev. Naomi Kelly retired as our pastor